Beyond merely urinating after sex.

Hell hath no fury like an infected urinary tract. And for those of us susceptible to the wrath of the dreaded UTI, it’s rarely an isolated instance. Once the seal is broken…well, you know the drill. 

Now, the most colloquial consensus on UTIs is pretty uniform: the painful, pesky infections arise most frequently in women after neglecting to urinate post-intercourse. But let it be known that this is not the only way one can contract a UTI: The infection is precisely as it sounds –– when bacteria enter the urinary tract, it becomes infected. And while it makes sense that sex would play a role here, a UTI can just as easily arrive from, say, failing to change out of sweaty workout clothes, or swimming in questionable water. Oh, and men can get them too. 

Now, if you’re having trouble identifying your particular malady, UTI symptoms are generally easy to spot. You’ll experience a frequent need to urinate –– and a burning sensation when you pee. You may experience cramps, back pain, or fatigue. And if untreated, your UTI can develop into a kidney infection…so, whether or not your initial symptoms feel particularly severe, you’ll certainly want to take care of the problem. 

Fortunately, there are a handful of different antibiotics that can help treat UTIs –– and if you can’t get to your doctor right away, over the counter options like AZO can be instrumental in managing your pain (be warned, these will typically turn your pee a fluorescent shade of Jolly Rancher orange). But, like with any antibiotic strain, your body can build up a resistance to a number of these prescriptions –– so you should do your darndest to keep infections at bay, to begin with. Thus, without further ado: We give you our preventative Guide to Urinary Tract Infections.  

Pee. After. Sex.

That’s the long and the short of it. We know, it sucks. Your partner might have roommates. The bathroom might be far away. A journey to the water closet may require that you both locate your clothing and put it on. But trust us, you’ll be kicking yourself when you’re walking to your local urgent care for pain-relieving antibiotics. 

Drink Water

Hydration is one of those things that’s taken as gospel in our present-day and age. “Drink water” is our universally agreed-upon wellness mantra. But we assure you, we’re not trying to sell you a chic, reusable water bottle here. Staying hydrated –– and, in turn, urinating frequently –– will help keep your urinary tract clean and bacteria-free. Oh, and on that note: you can forget the myth about cranberry juice as a UTI preventative. Research hasn’t proven a substantial impact on this one –– so just play it safe and double down on the H2O. 

Avoid Perfumed Bath Products

While it is, of course, the key that you keep things clean, using soaps, bubble bath products, or body washes that are heavily perfumed can certainly irritate the urinary tract. So when it comes to washing your genitals, opt for simple, hypoallergenic, and unscented options whenever possible. 

Two Words: Clean Underwear

We know, you’re not heathens. But spending too long in sweaty workout clothes or leaving the same pair of underwear on just a little too long can certainly cause infections in the UTI prone among us. Oh, and on that note, the kind of intimates you’re donning can have an impact, too: Whenever you can, opt for cotton undergarments instead of synthetic materials like nylon. 

Wipe With Care

Another easy way to inflame the urinary tract is by way of fecal matter –– which, naturally, can occur fairly easily while using the bathroom. So here’s your simple solution: wipe from front to back to keep things clean. 

Consult Your Doctor

If you’re taking the above, simple precautions, and you’re still finding yourself plagued with UTIs, it may be the result of a more persistent problem or an antibiotic-resistant infection. Be sure to consult your doctor about trying new medications, or visiting a urologist. 

Graphic by Elise Miguel

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maude and Latina are working together to inform and educate Latinx communities on sexual wellness and health. Founded by Eva Goicochea, maude is a modern sexual wellness company built on quality, simplicity and inclusivity, on a mission to make intimacy better—for all people.