If it burns when you urinate, a bladder infection may be to blame. The possible cause: frequent sex. We explain why so-called honeymoon cystitis can occur after intercourse.

If you spent most of the weekend or vacation between the sheets and now have to go to the toilet more often or it burns when urinating, you probably caught a bladder infection after sex.

The bad news for everyone with a vulva: Cystitis, as the technical term for bladder infection is, affects women in particular. There are anatomical reasons for this: “Women generally get a bladder infection more quickly than men because they have a very short urethra. Bacteria can overcome these few centimeters and get into the urinary bladder,” says doctor Nina Buschek to “NetDoktor”. In addition, the entrance of the urethra in women is closer to the anus. Bacteria, more precisely intestinal bacteria of the species Escherichia coli, trigger a bladder infection in most cases. The presence of these bacteria in the intestine is normal, but once they reach the bladder, they can cause inflammation there.

Honeymoon cystitis – when sex is to blame for cystitis

The term honeymoon cystitis suggests that an extended love weekend with frequent sexual intercourse can be the trigger for a bladder infection. “Due to the mechanical friction during sexual intercourse, the bacteria are literally pushed into the urinary bladder,” explains Nina Buschek. Frequent sex promotes cystitis due to irritation in the intimate area and changes in the vaginal environment. Intestinal bacteria can pass from the vagina via the urethra into the bladder during sexual intercourse. Certain contraceptive methods, such as a diaphragm and spermicides, also promote cystitis.

But there are a few tips to prevent honeymoon cystitis. Probably the most important rule: urinate as soon as possible after sex. When the bladder is emptied, the bacteria are also flushed out. But a mistake can also be made when going to the toilet: the correct wiping technique should be used to avoid wiping bacteria from the anus towards the vulva. So always wipe from front to back, according to the National Health Service (NHS). Likewise, before and after sex, the skin around the vagina should be washed with water. Also not a good idea: Having vaginal intercourse immediately after anal sex – this way the bacteria can get directly into the vagina. The intimate area should be kept clean and dry. Drinking enough and having to urinate regularly also prevents cystitis.

When it is advisable to go to the doctor

But anyone who does have cystitis can recognize it by the burning sensation when urinating, frequent trips to the toilet and abdominal pain. In cystitis, the entire wall of the bladder or the lining of the bladder becomes inflamed. The urethra is often affected as well, through which the bacteria have found their way into the bladder.

A bladder infection with mild symptoms can often be cured by drinking plenty of water, placing a hot water bottle on the lower abdomen and taking painkillers. However, alcohol, coffee or fruit juices, which could irritate the bladder, should be avoided. Those affected should also take a break from sex. It is also important in the case of a bladder infection that you urinate regularly. If the symptoms do not disappear within three days, a gynecologist or the general practitioner should be consulted. They can then prescribe antibiotics to treat the bladder infection.

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– Why coffee drives us to the toilet

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Sources: NHS, NetDoktor, Video NetDoktor, Gynecologists on the Net, Minimed