Posted By Priyanka Singh
His flight was scheduled to land at 11:20 pm. It would take him around 3 hours to reach her place. The workings of a long-distance relationship weren’t new to her, but there were too many complexities and compromises involved. She waited eagerly, and when the doorbell rang at three in the morning, she jumped out of her bed and made her way to the door, opening it with an anxious, enthralled heart, welcoming the love of her life.
They held each other in a desperate embrace, and made love that night. She got up at seven the next morning with a compelling urge to urinate. As she sat down to empty her bladder, a sharp twinge of pain ran through her lower abdomen, a pain that made her squirm, accompanied by a few drops of blood. Her hypochondriac self conjured up all sorts of scenarios. The alarming signs forced her to see a gynecologist immediately, elevating her anxiety and a sense of unmitigated guilt, wondering what went wrong.
Sex is one of the most common causes of UTIs among women. In fact, around 80 percent of all pre-menopausal women with a UTI have had sex within the previous 24 hours.
She arrived at the clinic, waiting for her turn. Bursting into tears, she narrated the entire episode to the doctor who diagnosed the condition as, “Bad UTI because of rough sex“. As for the blood, it looked like an internal wound, that possibly propelled the bacteria to spread to the Urethra and the bladder. A few tests and it was confirmed. The doctor looked at her with what she believed to be condescension, and dismissed her after prescribing medication as part of the treatment. A 10-day long course and she should be fine.
She never really felt normal again, not down there. Doctors came and doctors left, and 4 months later, she still experienced recurring symptoms—pain in lower abdomen, an undeniable urge to urinate frequently and pain in the lower back. The symptoms aggravated every time she had sex. She came to a point where she started accepting this state of physical discomfort as a part of her life, especially with respect to sex.
She had been taking antibiotics all along, and the Internet or the doctors she had seen so far, were of meager help. The next time she had sex, and she started observing the symptoms again, she decided it was time to seek consultation from a Urologist. She was shocked to see a man accepting enough to help her and share valuable information on this otherwise trivialized problem, even though it was his job to do so.
She had come across only female doctors so far, none of who seemed to like the fact that she was having premarital sex and none of who explained the intricacies of the condition. Now, there was a doctor who finally told her how to prevent UTIs, the precautions a woman must take in order to prevent developing a UTI, especially because of sex.
Sex is one of the most common causes of UTIs among women. In fact, around 80 percent of all pre-menopausal women with a UTI have had sex within the previous 24 hours. This condition called Honeymoon Cystitis or bladder infection because of frequent intercourse, is largely untouched when we think or talk about sex. Yes, there is a term for that.
Women are more prone to UTIs as they have a shorter Urethra—the tube through which urine exits the body, allowing the bacteria around the genitals and the anus to infiltrate the bladder and cause an infection. The female anatomy is such that the anus is close to the woman’s urethra, allowing bacteria such as Escherichia Coli to enter the urethra without going far. Sex further enables the urethra to come in contact with the bacteria from the genital area and anus, allowing them to enter the urethra, the bladder, and if left untreated, the kidneys. Frequent sex and/or having more sex partners further increases the risk of Honeymoon Cystitis.
UTIs are trivialized, but the physical and psychological consequences can affect the sufferer’s life to the point that they find the daily activities difficult to manage, and sex that was once pleasurable can become frightening, forever changing their relationship with their partner(s).
Hygiene and certain precautionary measures can alleviate the risks associated with UTIs or Honeymoon Cystitis caused due to sex:
- Wipe from front to back, preventing spreading bacteria from the anal area to the vagina and urethra.
- Urinate frequently, every 2-3 hours, flushing out the bacteria as much as possible.
- Promptly urinate after intercourse, in order to flush out the bacteria introduced in the bladder because of sex.
- Drink plenty of liquids, to dilute the urine and spurring more frequent urination.
- Clean the genital area.
- Avoid diaphragms or spermicides as methods of birth control.
- Use a personal lubricant, in order to avoid friction which can irritate the bladder, leading to an infection.
- Alternative preventive strategies include consuming probiotics, cranberry supplements, blueberries, and Vitamin C.
UTIs or Honeymoon Cystitis is often trivialized, but the physical and psychological consequences can affect the sufferer’s life to the point that they find the daily activities difficult to manage, and sex that was once pleasurable can become frightening, forever changing their relationship with their partner(s). One must always seek help, knowledge and support from the right doctors and not feel ashamed of this.
Also read: PCOS And Women: What We Need To Know
There is still a stigma attached to premarital sex, but that must not deter a person from seeking the right treatment at the right time from the right doctor.
Disclaimer: Honeymoon Cystitis is not exclusive only to heterosexual relationships
Priyanka is an unfulfilled engineer and an MBA graduate from IIM Indore. She is a writer in making, interested in carving the world through her biased lens, painting pictures with heavy imagery and highlighting the mundane, often ignored, but essential aspects of life. You can follow her on her blog and LinkedIn.
Featured Image Source: Metro