Sex with urinary tract infections (UTIs)?

Originally Published: September 1, 2000 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: June 12, 2009
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Hey Alice,

My girlfriend has been diagnosed with having a UTI. Should we be having intercourse?

Dear Reader,

UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections) are rarely comfortable or fun, which may be a guide in and of itself about whether your girlfriend will want to have sex. And in fact, health professionals recommend that women with a UTI avoid sexual intercourse until symptoms have been gone for at least two weeks. Having sex with a UTI may be painful for your partner due to pressure on her inflamed urethra or bladder. Only your partner will be able to tell when she is feeling well again, so communication is key. If she doesn't let you know herself, you may want to ask how she's feeling and if she's ready to have sex again.

Generally speaking, UTIs are not contagious so you couldn't catch the infection from your girlfriend if you were to have sex now. However, if her UTI was caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as chlamydia or trichomoniasis, you would be at risk for those infections until she has been treated. Using safer sex practices (condoms, dams, other barriers) may help reduce the risk now and in the future.

For more information about the causes and symptoms of UTIs, check out the related Q&As below. While she's recuperating, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy each other's company, both in and out of the bedroom.

Alice