Why do women’s health and hygiene guides tell you to pee after sex? In this brief article, we’ll explain what peeing after sex has to do with UTIs and your bladder.

Why do I have to pee after sex?

It’s a good idea to always pee after sex. It’s especially beneficial for women’s health. Here are a few reasons why.

1. Urinary tract infections

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that occurs in any area of the urinary system, such as the bladder, urethra, or kidneys. An infection of the urinary tract generally occurs when bacteria gets into your urinary tract through your urethra and starts multiplying in your bladder. If your urinary tract’s natural defenses fail, bacteria can grow and cause an infection.

What are the risk factors for urinary tract infections?

UTIs occur more commonly in women. Some particular things that increase women’s risk of contracting UTIs include:

  • Female anatomy — Women’s urethras are shorter than men’s. This reduces the distance that bacteria have to travel to enter the bladder.
  • Certain kinds of birth control — Women who use diaphragms and/or spermicidal agents for birth control have an increased risk of contracting a UTI.
  • Sexual activity — The risk of developing a UTI is greater in women who are sexually active than women who aren’t. Your risk is also increased if you have a new sex partner.
  • Menopause — The reduced level of estrogen hormone after menopause causes urinary tract changes, making you more prone to infection.

Some other factors that can increase your risk of contracting a UTI are:

  • Abnormalities of the urinary tract — Babies who are born with urinary tract abnormalities, which inhibit the proper flow of urine, are more prone to developing UTIs.
  • Urinary tract blockages — Stones in the kidneys or bladder can cause urine to get stuck in your bladder and make you more prone to developing UTIs.
  • A recent urinary tract procedure — A surgery or examination of the urinary tract involving medical instruments can increase the risk of a UTI.
  • Catheter use — Using a catheter to pass urine can make you prone to developing a UTI. You may have to use a catheter if you are hospitalized, paralyzed, or have neurological problems that affect your ability to pass urine.

Symptoms and signs of a urinary tract infection are:

  • A sudden urge to pee
  • Increased urinary frequency (you may pass a small amount of urine frequently)
  • A burning or painful sensation while peeing
  • Cloudy or smelly urine
  • Blood in the urine
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Feeling unwell or tired
  • Behavioral changes such as agitation or severe confusion, especially in the elderly

Treating a urinary tract infection

Visit your physician if you develop symptoms and signs of a urinary tract infection. They may prescribe antibiotic medicines to treat them. After starting treatment, the UTI symptoms will usually start clearing up within five days. Make sure to complete the entire course of medicine, even if your symptoms improve right away.

Preventing a urinary tract infection

You can take the following steps to decrease the risk of developing a urinary tract infection:

  • Drink lots of fluids, particularly water, as this helps dilute the urine and ensures that you pee more frequently, flushing bacteria from the urinary tract.
  • Drink cranberry juice. Though no conclusive studies exist to prove that drinking cranberry juice can prevent the occurrence of a UTI, some women swear by it.
  • Make sure to always pee after sex. Peeing after intercourse may help flush out the bacteria from your bladder.
  • Wipe from front to back after using the bathroom. This helps prevent bacteria from the anus from spreading to the urethra and vagina.
  • Avoid using feminine hygiene products such as deodorant sprays, powders, and douches in your genital area as they may irritate your urethra.
  • Consider changing your method of birth control. Using diaphragms or condoms with spermicidal agents can lead to the growth of bacteria.

2. The female urethra

The urethra is a tube-like organ that helps pass urine out of the bladder. Women’s urethras are shorter (about 2.5 to 4 centimeters) than men’s (about 15 to 20 centimeters). This makes women more prone to getting UTIs, as bacteria have to travel a shorter distance to enter the bladder. A classic UTI symptom is a burning sensation in the urethra while urinating. This occurs because the bacteria can grow in the urinary bladder, kidneys, or urethra.

3. The bladder

Your bladder health can directly affect your sex life. The bladder is located between your pelvic bones and is a muscular, hollow organ that expands to hold urine. Your bladder muscles relax as it fills with urine, but once it’s at full capacity, it sends signals to your brain to empty it.

During sex, bacteria can enter your urethra, raising your chances of getting an infection. This is why it’s important to always pee after sex as peeing flushes out the germs.

Having sex with a full bladder also increases your chances of developing stress urinary incontinence. This condition develops because of weak pelvic floor muscles and/or a weak urethral sphincter. In this condition, the bladder can leak urine during any movement that puts pressure on it, such as coughing, exercising, laughing, sneezing, or having sex.  

Always pee after sex

It’s always a good idea to pee after sex, particularly for women. Because women’s urethras are shorter than men’s, bacteria can enter easily and cause a urinary tract infection. When you pee after sex, it may help flush out bacteria from the urethra. This helps prevent UTIs.