If you’re a woman, chances are you’ve heard the advice, “You should pee before and after having sex.” (If you’re not familiar with the logic, the idea is that emptying your bladder before and after you get busy will somehow help prevent a urinary tract infection.)
Unfortunately, that advice is wrong — and experts say it could even increase your odds of developing aUTI.
According to New York City urologist David Kaufman, MD, the “pee before sex” mantra is one of the biggest misconceptions he has to clear up for his female patients. While urinating after sex is definitely important, he says going to the bathroom beforehand is a big no-no.
Why? During sex, vaginal bacteria can often get pushed into the urethra, which then allows the bacteria to travel through the urethra and into the bladder more easily, which can cause an infection.
Far from being a good way to help prevent the development of a UTI, urinating could actually increase the risk of infection, which women tend to experience more than men.
Sheryl Ross, an OB-GYN and women’s health specialist in Santa Monica, California, points out a few other steps you can take to prevent a UTI other than flexing your bladder control skills.
Regularly wiping front to back can keep unwanted bacteria out of your vaginal area, and it’s best to avoid using excessive lubrication, sex toys, or a vaginal sponge, which can be a haven for bacteria. But Ross says that staying hydrated and peeing right after sex are still among the most important UTI-fighting methods.
Other ways to prevent UTIs:
- Always wipe from front to back. Again, this prevents bad bacteria from going where it shouldn’t.
- Stay hydrated and go to the bathroom frequently. Don’t hold it if you have to go!
- Be wary of diaphragms and spermicide-coated condoms, which have been shown to aggravate UTIs.
- Don’t use douches or feminine sprays, and be cautious about using any scented products on your nether regions. They can throw off the balance of good bacteria, making it easier for you to get an infection.
- Try cranberry pills or juice (make sure it’s real juice and not cocktail) and/or probiotics. They’ve been shown to help prevent recurring infections.