omfg i hate peeing
July 27, 2011 7:54 PM   Subscribe

I recently started getting UTIs and bladder inflammation after every weekend I go to see my boyfriend and have sex with him. I need some guidance so I know what kinds of questions to ask my doctor, 'cause I am damn tired of needing to pee in pain every 10 goddamn seconds.

I've always been prone to UTIs and bladder infections. It's hereditary. There was a time where I had chronic pain when urinating for months straight as a child. Then something changed and I very rarely got them.

Now I have a boyfriend whom I see on weekends, and lately, any time we have sex, I pretty much always end up with a hardcore infection or just major inflammation the next week. Part of it might have to do with hygiene, but another thing that's been on my mind lately is the possibility that penetration during sex aggravates my urethra too extensively and that I'm always going to have this problem unless Western medicine comes up with a way for me to not have to pee ever again.

What am I missing here? I am tired of taking antibiotics. I am tired of having to take other weird drugs. Most of all, though, I am tired of being in serious pain. I can't be seen by a urologist until later this month, and I am hesitant to go to my normal urgent care location because I caught a nasty cold from someone the last time I was there and don't want to pick something new up when my immune system's been so recently compromisd.

Could I have some kind of STD? (Unlikely, given that I have never had sex with anyone before this guy, and he was checked out and rendered in the clear a month or two prior to us getting together.)

Is it really possible that PIV sex is hurting my urethra/bladder? Especially since weekends that don't involve sex do not yield bladder pain?

What else am I not thinking of that I should ask a doctor to screen for?

YANMD, etc, etc.
posted by iLoveTheRain to Health & Fitness (65 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
How's your blood sugar? Are you diabetic? There's often a correlation between increased frequency of UTIs and excess sugar in the urine.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 8:05 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Do you pee immediately after intercourse? You should always pee immediately after intercourse. It flushes out potential irritants and infectants that might have found their way into your urinary tract during intercourse.
posted by telegraph at 8:07 PM on July 27, 2011 [19 favorites]

You always pee after sex, right? You should be sure to do this.
posted by insectosaurus at 8:07 PM on July 27, 2011 [4 favorites]

I'd recommend cutting sugar out of your diet as much as possible, and also taking a couple condensed cranberry pills after sex. They really do help, IMO.
posted by np312 at 8:07 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Are you using condoms? I have a bad reaction to lubricated condoms and usually end up with a similar problem. You should consider all hardware involved, is what I'm saying.

Also, ditto on the peeing.
posted by Tesseractive at 8:09 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

UTI is also known as "honeymooner's disease" because it can happen from having too much sex, no STD necessary. Always always always pee right after sex and that should help a lot. Any bacteria shoved up the urethra during sex is immediately flushed out. Yes, it's not sexy or romantic but it makes a big difference. Also make an effort for both of you to be clean before sex, reducing the amount of bacteria in the nether regions before intercourse. Shower together beforehand!
posted by Nathanial Hörnblowér at 8:09 PM on July 27, 2011 [5 favorites]

Are you in pain right now? I know urgent care can seriously suck, but if you're having symptoms now, please do not wait until the urologist can see you. You don't want it to spread to your kidneys. (Ask me how I know!)

Make them culture the urine sample. The urologist's office will probably do this as a matter of course, but make sure that you're being treated with the right antibiotic and that the infection is really, truly gone when you've finished the medication--go back and have them confirm that it's knocked out.

Drink water. Drink and drink and drink. Drink it before you meet up with your boyfriend, drink a ton after sex, and keep drinking for the next two or three days. My last UTI made itself known when I forgot to bring my water bottle to work a couple of days after a bunch of uh, urethra irritation, and it could have been prevented.

It's totally, completely possible that PIV sex is irritating your urethra. Sometimes anatomy is just quirky that way. The good thing is that urologists see this all the time and will be able to address your concerns.

Basic tips: no thongs, no artificial-fiber underwear, pee immediately after sex, and you can try cranberry extract tablets/liquid as a preventative. (Take it before you need it, then continue taking it for 48 hours afterward.) Alka-Seltzer, the kind without aspirin, can also help by changing the pH of your urine so that it's inhospitable to the nasty bugs. Some people also recommend probiotics in order to keep the presence of e. coli down.

You probably know the above stuff, but just in case any of it helps...I hope you feel better soon.
posted by corey flood at 8:11 PM on July 27, 2011 [8 favorites]

I had this exact problem, but figured out the solution about 5 years ago and haven't had one since. Firstly, I know it ruins the mood, but you MUST pee before and DIRECTLY after sex. Don't wait after or you will inevitably end up with a UTI. If possible, also wash yourself well with soap and water in the shower or bathtub after. Remember always wipe front to back. Go to Whole Foods and get CranActive. Guaranteed for healthy urinary tract health and if taken right after sex for a few days after, you will not get a UTI. Best of luck!!
posted by sunshinebutterflygirl at 8:12 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oh, and no spermicide! It's a first-class ticket to urethral irritation!
posted by corey flood at 8:12 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

IANAMD, but I've been through this sort of thing before.

On preview, others wrote exactly what I was going to say.
posted by luckynerd at 8:12 PM on July 27, 2011

I have a bad reaction to lubricated condoms

The ones with spermicidal lube were manufactured by satan himself. If you're using those, switch to the normal ones.
posted by phunniemee at 8:13 PM on July 27, 2011 [3 favorites]

And yes, drink water, water and more water...before and after.
posted by sunshinebutterflygirl at 8:14 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

Ohhh I've been there. Here are the steps I went through to get it resolved:

- 1st one: doctor treats it with antibiotics and recommends that I pee after sex and not use spermicidal lube condoms
- 2nd and 3rd one: doctor treats it with antibiotics. I get increasingly frustrated and drink a bunch of cranberry juice
- 4th one: I get referred to another doctor who prescribes this regimen: every time I have sex for 2 months, I have to not only get up and pee right after, but also take a low dose of Macrobid.

That cleared it right up. I've seriously never had a UTI since, 8 years later, and I had 4 in 4 months when I first started having sex. I don't know if the Macrobid low-dose thing is a standard treatment, but this was in a university health center where they see this a lot and the doctor seemed to know exaaaactly what she was talking about :)

Good luck. Hope you get this cleared up.
posted by troublesome at 8:15 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Cranberry extract capsules saved my life in this situation.
posted by cyndigo at 8:16 PM on July 27, 2011

Response by poster: Oh crap, I forgot to include these details:

• Yes, I try to pee before and after I have sex. Pee before almost always, often can't pee after.
• Am violently allergic to lubricated condoms; now use Babeland brand condoms that don't give me YIs.
• Am not diabetic -- was recently screened when glucose appeared in my urine.
• Have had Macrobid and Lexapro recently. Two different types of bacteria hanging out up there apparently.
• Could it be gonorrhea masked by other bacteria?
posted by iLoveTheRain at 8:16 PM on July 27, 2011

Cranberry pills will change your life. Take them before, during and after.
posted by whoaali at 8:18 PM on July 27, 2011

Here's my complete list of everything I pulled together to try when I had a crazy year of recurrent UTIs:
only cotton (or no) underwear
drink lots of water
drink less caffeine
cut back on sugar
shower or clean the area before sex
pee after sex
take cranberry supplements regularly (when you're not having symptoms)
no condoms (this helped a lot)
lube, even when you don't think you need it
posted by bizzyb at 8:18 PM on July 27, 2011

nthing cranberry extract pills with lots of water
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 8:20 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Why are you peeing before sex? Counter-productive. You need to save some of that pee so that there's liquid to flush out your urinary tract after sex.

This is a thing that I have thought about before.
posted by telegraph at 8:21 PM on July 27, 2011 [10 favorites]

If you're into the naturopath route, you could try d-Mannose. It's available in powder form and can be mixed into water or your other favorite non-sugary beverage. It's bitter tasting to me, but worth it. It can be used in high doses for acute infections, or in smaller doses as a daily prophylactic.
posted by sugarbiscuit at 8:22 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

My significant other posted this same question for me about a year ago. I tried everything suggested above and nothing helped; not the cranberry pills, water, loose cotton underwear, peeing after sex, nothing. I struggled with UTIs for years and I was so, so sick of doctors and antibiotics. Turns out, my urethra had narrowed because of previous infections. The urologist widened it and I haven't had an infection for months, which is highly unusual for me. I'm not 100% sure the battle is over, but it's such a relief to not be in constant pain. Have you had a cystoscopy before?
posted by plaintiff6r at 8:22 PM on July 27, 2011

Dude, peeing before sex isn't going to help anything. It's peeing after that does the job. It flushes you out.

When I was having chronic UTIs I drank a lot of plain lemon juice diluted in water (the sugar in juices just adds to the pain), cream of tartar in water (as concentrated as I could get it), and scarfed cranberry pills down by the handful. Literally the handful. The lemon juice and cream of tartar supposedly helped acidify my urine, the cranberry pills help prevent the bacteria from taking root.
posted by Anonymous at 8:24 PM on July 27, 2011

Just so you know, there is a name for this - honeymoon cystitis - and that's a good list of treatment and prevention approaches.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:25 PM on July 27, 2011

Yeah, I've read all kinds of advice to pee both before and after sex, which is a lovely thought--washing away any bacteria already sitting at your urethral opening--but it's totally impractical because, as you point out, you have none left for afterward. It's way more important to pee afterward. Way, way, way more important.
posted by corey flood at 8:28 PM on July 27, 2011 [4 favorites]

Again what everyone said. Do not pee before! Super-counterproductive. Save it so you can pee after; that's what's going to prevent the infections. The more you pee after the more you flush out.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:33 PM on July 27, 2011

nthing peeing after sex. why can't you pee after sex most of the time? do it. i used to have chronic UTIs, and now i drink tons of water, pee religously after sex, and at the first hint of any pain, drink a bottle of 100% cranberry juice. takes care of it lickety split.
posted by woodvine at 8:40 PM on July 27, 2011

This was a nightmare for me for a period; the answer here was extra lube. I briefly used a ridiculously named intravaginal hormone pill thing; all my hassles vanished. And then the problem went entirely away.

When you are dealing with the worst of it -- run a very hot shallow bath, get in, pee in that. Much, much more pleasant. If you can sit there with a huge bottle of water and a book, and keep drinking and periodically refreshing the hot water -- you'll likely be done with the bulk of it in an hour. My condolences in the meantime.

(There is lots of "pee before" advice out there, on the theory that a too-full bladder + PIV sex = potentially injurious to delicate parts; I have no idea if this is bunk or what, but it is a common recommendation)

You've heard about Pyridium, right? I could not believe how many doctors I had been to for UTIs before I heard about it. Goodbye pain. OTC in the States.
posted by kmennie at 8:45 PM on July 27, 2011

One thing I haven't seen mentioned here is buchu. You can get the tincture in a little bottle at health food stores. It tastes awful but seems to help me when I get these. And cranberry juice, and lots of water all the time, and cranberry pills, and uva ursi pills when there is an active infection...wash them down with water with buchu in it.

I also believe that acidifying the urine is the wrong way to go. If you want to try alkalinizing instead, take extra calcium citrate supplements in general, and a quarter teaspoon of baking soda in a cup water for active treatment.

If you find something that helps, please post it!
posted by bink at 8:53 PM on July 27, 2011

Have BF shower before sex, taking extra care to scrub his dangly bits. You'll probably want to avoid soap, but a thorough rinsing of your girl parts is non-irritating, should you want to join BF in the shower. He's oral too, right? Perhaps a nice toothbrushing & mouthwash would be helpful in case he has some pesky mouth germs. Irritation causes trouble, so make sure you are thoroughly juicy or lubed before penetration.

Talk to BF about fidelity, and be sure that he is not passing an infection back and forth between you and another partner.

Drink lots of water, cranberry juice, and take vitamin C. Limit alcohol and spicy food, as they can be irritating. It's so painful, I'm sorry you're going through this.
posted by theora55 at 8:54 PM on July 27, 2011

I had this problem as well. Infections every month for over a year. Turns out I had a resistant strain that was immune to just about everything. Make sure they screen you and identify the bacteria.

Pee before. Seems dumb, but anything that reduces the amount of bacteria hanging around there is good. Drink a huge glass of water before getting down. Pee after. Even if you have to sit on the toilet chugging water, you can't go anywhere until you pee after. Have your guy screened for UTI as well. Use plenty of lube. Dryness will just irritate the urethra. Also, get some wet wipes and use them before and after. I also drink a packet of Emergen-C just for insurance, too. I've found the vitamin C helps.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 8:56 PM on July 27, 2011

Oh, I wanted to add that D-Mannose nearly killed me. Took it on the recommendation of the clerk in the health food place. Ended up in the hospital with a high fever and pus in my urine. Like, demonic amounts. Sorry to get graphic, but that did me much more harm than good.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 8:59 PM on July 27, 2011

Very good advice above! You may, as suggested above, need procedures and other medications to calm your urethra down (or open it up) enough first before you can get to the "normal" remedies.

nthing wearing cotton underwear -- 100% cotton, not just the insert! I had UTIs and yeast infections a lot until I religiously started wearing completely cotton underwear. Yeah, you have to look around for it in the stores, they don't sell a lot of it everywhere, but for your health 100% cotton underwear is the best thing ever.

Good luck to you :)
posted by minx at 9:03 PM on July 27, 2011

Oh man, girl! It's the lexapro! Well, not exactly. I had a similar problem. New boyfriend, started getting UTIs. Eventually they got better, but I would always have irritation, not necessarily UTIs, when sex happened or other time (riding my bike!). At the same time, it was harder to climax (though my libido didn't really diminish) on Lexapro so I feel like I was putting more strain on my lady parts to "get there".

Anyway, what I did exactly:

- Get condoms with a water-based lubricant with NO sugars or irritants. I think Durex makes them.

- Don't pee BEFORE sex! Always pee after. If you can't do it, put your forearms against your pelvic area, lean forward, and PUSH the pee out. Even if a little comes out, it's better than nothing.

- Get a bidet. Seriously. Such a good purchase. If you have trouble peeing after, a nice squirt from the bidet will really help.

- In the same vein, get a removable shower head with a gentle water option for washing down there. That's all you need. No soaps or anything else.

- Watch your sugar. I'm not talking about every little thing, but if you are a sugar fiend, you need to cut back. It will help.

- Drink plenty of water!

- Sleep without underwear if necessary, and try to wear 100% cotton underwear most of the time.

- Take the cranberry pills if you think they'll help, but lay off the juice. It's just more sugar feeding the bacteria. The cranberry pills always seemed to irritate things more for me, but YMMV.

- Similarly, avoid bladder irritants like alcohol, spicy foods, and caffeine before sex if necessary. Alcohol and caffeine are worse offenders because they can cause dehydration. My worst UTI was after a very sloppy drunk night and sex with the hubby. Bad news bears.

- Get off the Lexapro, if you can. This was a major issue for me (might not be for you). It made me dehydrated constantly, and I had the aforementioned issues with irritation. This was my last resort, but I had other unpleasant side effects (jaw clenching... still an issue) and this was really the last straw. I've been off officially for less than a month and I can't remember having irritation since. It's been a while since I've had a proper UTI, and I think it's because I'm careful. You may want to look into interstital cystitis if you have chronic irritation and bladder pain.

Good luck!
posted by two lights above the sea at 9:06 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

And I want to stress that you should OF COURSE talk to your doctor before changing your medication! Weaning off Lexapro was NECESSARY for me, but it might not be for you. I am not a doctor. Nor do I play one on TV.
posted by two lights above the sea at 9:09 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oops, not Lexapro -- sorry sorry -- I was thinking of a hardcore antibiotic that starts with an L and that is definitely not it.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 9:25 PM on July 27, 2011

The cranberry pills didn't help me, and my doctor told me that nobody really knows the right dose to take of them. He said there was some good evidence that vitamin C helps, so I now take that.

Has your doctor ruled out Interstitial Cystitis? I understand that can mimic the effects of a UTI, but is more chronic than acute.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 9:50 PM on July 27, 2011

Lol, I feel weird commenting on this as your roommate, especially since my phone just inappropriately ate my last reply about how entertained I am by the thought of honeymoon cystitis, but yes, peeing after sex, and lots of cranberry juice. Lexapro isn't what you're on, though; you took something else last time, remember? An actual antibiotic? Lexapro is an anxiety drug. You took like Levaquil or something.

(most awkward mefi comment from your roommate ever, love you hahaha)
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 9:54 PM on July 27, 2011 [8 favorites]

If it's e. coli, d-mannose is a serious miracle drug. I want to kiss the doctor that recommended it to me after years of UTIs, haven't had one since I started taking that at the first sign of trouble. But, my understanding is that it doesn't work on non-e.coli causes. Peeing after sex, careful washing, vitamin c, cranberry pills/juice, were never quite enough (although peeing after sex is the bare minimum of necessary hygiene).
posted by ch1x0r at 9:56 PM on July 27, 2011

A 1979 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association recommends the following regimen for preventing UTIs after intercourse:

(1) regular urination (about every two hours), (2) postcoital voiding within ten minutes, (3) adequate hydration (at least eight 237-mL glasses of fluid daily), (4) adequate lubrication during coitus, and (5) wiping the perineum front to back after urination.

They found that "sixty-five percent of those who reported following the regimen had no UTI (symptomatic or asymptomatic) during the follow-up period, and an additional 19% experienced a reduction in the frequency of reinfection."

Also, peeing afterwards is much more important than peeing before: "Our study disclosed no direct relation between coitus and UTI apart from postcoital voiding."

A shower beforehand for the both of you might also help, although that's not part of the regimen outlined in the article.

(Cite: Adatto K, Doebele KG, Galland L, Granowetter L: Behavioral factors and urinary tract infections. JAMA 1979; 241:2525-2526.
posted by k8lin at 10:07 PM on July 27, 2011

Response by poster: @thesebirds, love you too, roomie. Awkwardest moment ever, but still lots of love.

I am NOT on Lexapro as Birds points out. I took an antibiotic called Levaquin that knocked out what Macrobid couldn't handle last time and honestly I am tired of taking this stuff because I always get a YI afterwards and that just screws everything up again anyway.

I put a call into the BF and we had our timeline effed up: he had his last round of STD tests BEFORE he had sex with his ex one last time, so he's going to go get them done again because I am worried it might be the big G.

I really hope it's not interstitial cystitis. I'd never heard of that before.. I will ask the urologist about it. Good lord. I just want the pain to go away.
posted by iLoveTheRain at 10:07 PM on July 27, 2011

Response by poster: Also, I can't orgasm if I don't pee beforehand because I will pee on my boyfriend if I come. This has happened before. I am starting to think that my problem is a combo of being dehydrated, too acidic, and just not peeing properly before and after sex.
posted by iLoveTheRain at 10:08 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm a microbiologist- their are reports that recurrent UTIs can be caused by bacteria that have the ability to become intracellular, essentially hiding out during antibiotic treatment and reappearing once the antibiotics have been stopped. So this might be why it's happening (i.e. probably nothing to do with STDs, although always a good idea to get tested if you aren't sure). The advice others have given about peeing after sex, wearing cotton undies, eating less sugar, drinking more water and cranberry juice, etc is good and should be followed. I would NOT recommend d-mannose. You may just require a longer course of antibiotics to get rid of those dormant bacteria.
posted by emd3737 at 12:54 AM on July 28, 2011

yikes! "there are reports" not "their are reports."
posted by emd3737 at 1:01 AM on July 28, 2011

Is it definitely an infection or could it be your intrapelvic muscles hurting from latent knots and the 'exertion'?
posted by Not Supplied at 1:55 AM on July 28, 2011

Oh, I wanted to add that D-Mannose nearly killed me. Took it on the recommendation of the clerk in the health food place. Ended up in the hospital with a high fever and pus in my urine. Like, demonic amounts. Sorry to get graphic, but that did me much more harm than good.

Just wanted to say, that can happen with any ineffective treatment, not just fancy kinds of hippy sugar. I ended up that way after taking the trimethoprim given to me by the genito-urinary medicine clinic, it just turned out that the specific strain of bacteria I had was resistant to trimethoprim. In case of any urinary tract infection, if you take anything for it and don't feel significantly better in 24 hours, and especially if it gets any worse at all, seek further medical treatment.

... I will pee on my boyfriend if I come.

Umm. Is this definitely pee? Is there a possibility that it's female ejaculation? Either way, a thing that feels weird and quite possibly annoying/offputting (eww, damp patch!) but you're totally not the only person it's happened to, and apparently some people go out of their way to achieve it ... but do whatever it takes to be able to pee even a little bit afterwards. Even if means a mildly awkward glass of water right before getting naked.
posted by Lebannen at 2:25 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

D-mannose is your friend, I swear! Also, you mentioned switching condom brands - you might also try switching to non-latex. (not those revolting sheepskin things which idefk if they still exist, but the other plastic ones that are just not latex. Durex Avanti, for example.)
posted by elizardbits at 4:53 AM on July 28, 2011

Everyone's saying it's probably not an STI - and they're probably right - but you should go and get yourself tested anyway, just in case.
posted by teraspawn at 5:00 AM on July 28, 2011

Are you on the Pill? I ask because I had recurrent UTIs while I was on hormonal BC, but I stopped getting them when I went off it, even though none of my other relevant habits (sex partner, peeing, wiping, etc.) changed.

Also, are you sure you're peeing immediately after sex? I thought I was, for a while, but then I read an AskMe answer that was to the effect of, "If you're not jumping out of bed and hightailing it to the bathroom the moment sex is over, you're waiting too long." I thought immediately after sex left room for, you know, kissing or cuddling in the aftermath. I was wrong.
posted by coppermoss at 5:28 AM on July 28, 2011

OP, I know how you feel. I have this problem every couple of times I have sex. I've had eight or nine diagnosed UTIs, but experience post-sex pain at the end of urination far more often. In the latter cases, I'm not sure it's a UTI. There's no fullness in the bladder, no odor to the urine and no real sign of infection besides that sharp pain. I'm fairly sure that it's because my urethra gets banged around during sex and ends up irritated. For me, it's a case of "doc, it hurts when I do this" - I try not to have rough sex, use lots of lube and pee in the ten or twenty minutes after sex just for good measure. Additionally, I'm trying out a glycerin- and paraben-free lube.
posted by theraflu at 5:34 AM on July 28, 2011

nthing drink lots of water. As my mom (a nurse) put it, you need a strong urine flow after sex to flush out bacteria. Water does this. Peeing before makes the urine flow less srong, so I would just wait until after--immediately after. Great advice so I won't be repetitive, but I will say what I ended up doing- I had to get a 3 month supply of antibiotics. It was recommended that I take 1 around the time of intercourse. This would be easy for you as you know you will see your boyfriend on the weekends. I did this for awhile, but eventually the issue went away and I rarely get UTIs now. (knock on wood!)
posted by allnamesaretaken at 5:40 AM on July 28, 2011

Also, lots of lubrication - astroglide or whatnot. Makes the sex better in any case, and minimizes painful friction that could cause/aggravate any swelling.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 5:41 AM on July 28, 2011

Have sex in the shower! Pee happily during orgasm!

Sugar in your urine will definitely contribute to UTIs. Because it's delicious.

It is really weird to me that you had sugar in your pee but are not pregnant or diabetic.
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:48 AM on July 28, 2011

(Also I am kidding about shower sex. But if you take baths or use scented anything down there, cut that out.)
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:48 AM on July 28, 2011

Lube, lube lube lube lube lube.

I also had issues with pain while peeing for a few days after sex bouts, and started using a lot of lube. That definitely helped.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:14 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

While you're on antibiotics, taking probiotics or eating (a lot) of yogourt with probiotics can help prevent YIs and other unpleasant side effects.
posted by Salamandrous at 7:26 AM on July 28, 2011

I'm just spitballing here, but you didn't mention if you use lube or not - if you are using lube, what kind is it? Some - I forget the name of it specifically just now but it's one of those which warms with friction - contain glucose (or similar - I'm at work just now and some of the specifics escape me, my apologies) and can contribute to UTIs.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:26 AM on July 28, 2011

famous monster, are you perhaps thinking glycerin rather than glucose? I've heard of glycerin contributing to yeast infections rather than UTIs, but it doesn't sound strange to think that UTIs would also be something they aggravate.

For the record, glycerin is actually in a lot of lubes other than just the "warms with contact" ones.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:54 AM on July 28, 2011

Okay! I was getting UTIs so often for a while there I contemplated giving up sex. I had one progress up the tract to my kidneys and another that was bad enough to require a trip to hospital. Here's what I have learned:

Can you get Ural crystals where you are? They have saved me worlds of pain in the past. They basically change the Ph of your urinary tract just slightly enough that most bacteria can't handle it in there any more. Seriously awesome stuff. I keep a box in my medicine cupboard and take it the moment I feel the twinge. It's non prescription, cheap as and shouldn't mess with any other meds.

I ditched latex condoms all together. I developed a sensitivity to latex so gradually I didn't notice. These days I use Ansell Skyns which are less stiff and less "rustly" than the Avanti.

I'd also suggest trying a silicone based lube, because you need less of it and it's much gentler on the skin. Pjur make the best hands down, with this one being their richest formula. Any silicone lube will be fine though, and will act as a barrier between you and the lube on the condoms.

Failing that, at least ditch any lube with glycerine in it, as it's just sugar and will make matters much worse.

Cotton undies and none at all while sleeping.

Yes, pee after sex. That's a given and you seem to have that covered.
posted by Jilder at 9:02 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've waxed lyrical on this topic before, so I'll spare you the rant. But the two things that worked for me were washing every now and again with a soap called Hibiclens (I feel like someone's going to jump on me for this, but it helped me) and taking preventative antibiotics, one after every time I had sex. I recently quit the antibiotics and haven't had any problems since- I think I just need to clear my system and give my poor vag some time to heal. Also, take cranberry pills preventatively, and not just at the sign of infection. And Uricalm is your friend.
posted by Polyhymnia at 10:04 AM on July 28, 2011

Seconding extra lube. Can't have enough. And make sure you're drinking enough fluids every day.

I didn't see anyone else mention this--when you pee, always make sure to get it all out. Just like guys shake afterwards, seriously, push. If you have bacteria in there and a tiny bit of liquid, you're setting yourself up for an infection.

You are in no way unusual for getting YI's from taking antibiotics. Next time you end up at the doctor for one of these, just tell them that this happens to you and they can give you this pill that knocks the YI out in one dose. They are awesome and available in generic.

If you are concerned about IC, you might find it helpful to keep UTI tests at home. You can buy them at drug stores and they're very easy to use. They tell you exactly how much nitrites and white blood cells are in your urine.

Interstitial cystitis is a diagnosis of elimination, so you'd have to be tested for a number of other conditions before the doctor could be sure. Before I was diagnosed, I had had 10 infections in one year. They gave me an MRI and the urologist inserted a camera into my bladder to look around before he diagnosed. But as long as you're still testing positive for a UTI every time you have symptoms, you probably don't need to worry about it yet.

An excessively acidic diet can contribute to interstitial cystitis by making the urine itself too acidic and damaging the bladder further. So if IC is something you're really worried about, and you're already on something as strong as Levaquin, I would advise that you follow the directions, avoid any more cranberry for now, and monitor your pain. If it seems to fluctuate based on what you are eating/drinking, that's something to tell your doctor about. That wouldn't indicate in itself that you have IC, but it may indicate a level of injury to your bladder that warrants further investigation.

You might benefit from being on prophylactic antibiotics--a small dosage every day. A new study just showed that antibiotics are more effective than cranberry for UTI prevention. From what you've said, they may want to do the other thing, which Polyhymnia just described.

My advice for what to ask your doctor is the following: always arm yourself with all the knowledge about possibilities that you can, then be totally honest about your symptoms and concerns, and any of your behavior that might be affecting your health. Make a list if it helps. You are upset now at the amount of infections you are dealing with and wondering what you are doing wrong. So tell your urologist what all you are doing and then ask them just that. Definitely, definitely, definitely talk to them about your peeing/orgasm issue.
posted by heatvision at 10:24 AM on July 28, 2011

I was in the exact same situation. After constantly complaining to the doctor about it, he gave me unlimited refills of Cipro. Now I just take one pill anytime we have particularly aggressive sex with increased frequency and I never get them anymore.
posted by twinA at 10:54 AM on July 28, 2011

I heard this on a Dan Savage podcast regarding UTIs - woman kept getting UTIs. She worked out that it was the positions she and her partner were having sex in. His testicles were rubbing up against her anus in one position, then they would switch to a position where his testicles were then rubbing against her urethra. Don't ask me about the precise details, just throwing that out there.

Nthing the suggestion not to drink cranberry juice - most 'cranberry' juice is sugar, other juices, and a smidgen of actual cranberry.

I hope you get this figured out - recurrent conditions are terribly frustrating. Good luck.
posted by NoiselessPenguin at 2:03 PM on July 28, 2011

I solved this problem by drinking an enormous glass of water afterward.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:43 PM on July 28, 2011

Oops! Yes, glycerin. My mistake.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:01 AM on July 29, 2011

Also, I can't orgasm if I don't pee beforehand because I will pee on my boyfriend if I come. This has happened before. I am starting to think that my problem is a combo of being dehydrated, too acidic, and just not peeing properly before and after sex.

You could do things in the following order, just to try it out: (1) PIV sex; (2) you pee; (3) you come back for other activities so that you orgasm. I mean, it's not ideal in terms of flexibility, spontaneity, etc., but it might be worth trying since you're in a lot of discomfort.

But yes, it sounds like you are not drinking enough in general. If you want to pee both before and after, you could have a big glass of water right before, which should have made its way through the system once you finish.
posted by palliser at 1:05 PM on February 19, 2012

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