One of the best sex tips I ever received wasn't actually anything you do in the bedroom, or actually even something you do during sex. It's for what you should do immediately after you're done getting busy, and that's to make your way to the nearest bathroom to pee. OK, that may not sound like the sexiest advice you've ever gotten, but believe me when I say it was life changing. But don’t just take my word for it — doctors agree it's something everyone with a vagina should be doing. But why is peeing after sex important? Well, long story short, unless you enjoy the burning and pain that comes with contracting regular UTIs, you're going to want to get your postcoital pee on. Yeah, that's what I thought.
We know peeing works to prevent UTIs, but why would something like that make a difference? How exactly does that work? To help understand why making that bathroom run is such an important part of your sexual heath, I reached out to obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Sheila Loanzon, who agrees this should be a part of your larger safe sex practice to help (along with condoms and other forms of birth control) make sure you stay healthy when sexually active. She also explains what can happen if you don't pee after sex — and, honestly, even though I knew it would help prevent UTIs, I was surprised by how serious the consequences of skipping that bathroom break can be.
First thing's first: Why does peeing make a difference? As Dr. Loanzon explains, the answer is that it all comes down to our anatomy. For folks who have vaginas, "the anatomy of our vaginal area involves three holes: the urethra, vagina, and the rectum. So far, so good, right? But here's why this creates the perfect condition for sex to cause a UTI," Dr. Loanzon tells Elite Daily.
"Because these exit points are so closely related in proximity, when sexual activity occurs, it is common [for] the fluids of intercourse and bacteria to be introduced into the urethra," she says. "Imagine your urethra like a tube or garden hose connected to a spout (your bladder) and ultimately, your kidneys. With intercourse, bacteria can form at the end of the tube. By flushing out the tubing, a person can prevent bacteria from colonizing at the end of the tube all the way up to the spout." This, she says, is why "urinating after intercourse helps to flush out the system and prevent bacteria from growing in the urethra and bladder after sex."
That's great advice moving forward, but what if you already have a UTI? Then it's time to contact a medical professional and seek treatment. Don't just expect it to go away on its own. In fact, if untreated, a UTI can become pretty serious.
"If a UTI is present and it is not treated, it can lead to an ascending infection from the bladder to the kidneys called pyelonephritis or systemic infections called sepsis," says Dr. Loanzon. "These may require longer periods of antibiotics as an outpatient, and if severe enough, IV antibiotics administered in the hospital." Yikes.
So what's the moral of the story here? I think it's pretty simple: If you have a vagina, are sexually active, and want to keep your urinary tract happy and healthy, always pee after sex.
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