Many of us have heard the advice that it’s important to pee after sex. This can help to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs) which are caused by bacteria that enter the urethra during sexual activity.
This can happen during vaginal or anal sex. But does it really work? We decided to take a closer look.
1. It’s a good way to flush out bacteria
One of the primary reasons for peeing after sex is to flush out bacteria that enters the urinary tract during sexual activity. These bacteria can come from the skin of your partner or from the rectum. Peeing after sex can help to wash away these bacteria and prevent an infection from developing.
In addition to the fact that it helps to flush out bacteria, peeing after sex is also good for your bladder health. When you drink too much water, your body will hold on to it rather than let it pass out of the system, and this can cause a buildup in the bladder that may lead to a UTI.
Fortunately, it’s not necessary to be glued to the toilet after every single sexual encounter. While it’s a good idea to make it an unwritten rule to pee after sex, you don’t need to put a stopwatch on yourself and race to the bathroom the second your sex is over.
However, it is important to do it sooner rather than later, as bacteria can start to grow and multiply very quickly. For women who are prone to getting UTIs, it’s especially important to pee after sex because the urethra is shorter and bacteria can travel up there quicker. It’s less important for men who have a penis because the urethra is longer and they will naturally be more resistant to getting an infection from sexual activity.
2. It’s a good way to avoid a urinary tract infection
There is some evidence that peeing after sex can help you avoid getting a urinary tract infection (UTI). But that’s only because it helps flush bacteria out of the urethra before it has a chance to make its way up to the bladder. Adding in a lot of water and regular bathroom breaks during the day also helps prevent UTIs.
But a quick trip to the bathroom doesn’t stop you from getting an STD, and it can’t prevent sexually transmitted infections or diseases like genital warts or herpes. Urinating after sex does not help flush out the bacteria that cause STDs, nor can it protect you from STIs if you don’t use a condom or get tested regularly for them.
It’s possible that people with a vagina might be more susceptible to a UTI because of the shorter distance between their urethra and anus. But that’s a big but. UTIs can happen anywhere up the urinary tract, not just in the urethra or bladder. It’s a good idea for people who have a vagina to go to the bathroom after sex so they can get the bacteria out of their urethra and bladder before it has a chance to travel up to the ureters, kidneys or prostate. This is especially true for women who are prone to getting UTIs.
3. It’s a good way to keep your bladder healthy
Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are painful and frustrating. They can also be dangerous if left untreated, which is why it’s important to keep them at bay. Peeing a lot after sex can help keep your bladder healthy by flushing out any bacteria that may have gotten in during intercourse. It can also help prevent the spread of STIs, which is especially important for women.
It’s a common sexual health refrain that you should always pee after having sex. While there’s no exact timeframe that you should pee within, there is evidence that doing so decreases the chances of getting a UTI.
For women, peeing after sex is particularly important because their urethra is closer to the vagina and anus. This means that any bacteria that enters the urethra after sex will have a much harder time reaching the bladder. For men, peeing after sex is also a good idea because their urethra is the tube through which they ejaculate, and ejaculation will help to clear out any bacteria that may have entered the body during sex.
However, while peeing after sex is a good way to prevent STIs in females and UTIs in males, it does not prevent pregnancy. This is because sperm can still enter the body through the urethra even if the bladder is empty.
4. It’s a good way to avoid a bladder infection
It’s a common sexual health refrain: always pee after sex to avoid a bladder infection. But it’s not necessarily the best advice for everyone.
In fact, peeing right after sex might not help prevent UTIs at all. The reason? Researchers recently discovered that some types of bacteria found in the vagina—lovingly named Gardnerella Vaginalis—can actually make their way into the urethra and cause dormant E. coli from a past urinary tract infection to wake up and start spreading again. But that doesn’t mean we should skip peeing after sex altogether, says OB-GYN Salena Zanotti.
“Peeing before and after sex can definitely decrease your chances of getting a UTI, especially if you’re prone to them,” she tells SELF. The reason for this is that the path from your anus to your bladder is much shorter when you’re peeing, so germs have less chance of making it to the bladder and causing one.
It’s also a little more important for women than men to pee after sex because the female urethra is closer to the anus, meaning it’s easier for bacteria to make their way up there from oral, vaginal or anal sex. And since urinary tract infections are a major problem for women, it makes sense to adapt this hygiene habit to be as safe as possible.