UTIs and You (or Your Partner)

Nothing says Hump Day like answering a Formspring question about UTIs (urinary tract infections)!  Now, before my male readers close this window, if you date women, you might find this information worthwhile, too.

With the disclaimer that I’m not a medical professional and that a woman should go to her gynecologist if she might have an infection, here goes:

Question: I’ve been in a serious relationship for six months.  I recently got my first UTI in two years. When I told my boyfriend, he made me feel bad about it because he doesn’t realize that it was caused by sex.  How can I talk to him about it?

Answer: I hope that you have already gone to your gynecologist to confirm that you have a urinary tract infection and obtain a prescription for antibiotics.  You should also drink lots of water and cranberry juice to help your bladder clear out and prevent bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall.  Most doctors recommend abstaining from sex during treatment for a UTI, but you should confirm that with your health care practitioner.

As the Mayo Clinic describes, it’s very common for women to get UTIs, and many will get more than one in their lifetime.  In addition, sexually active women are at higher risk for developing urinary tract infections.

Even though it might not be the easiest conversation to have with your boyfriend, it’s important to do so.  The situation is (unfortunately) likely to recur so not sayng anything now merely prolongs the inevitable.

Pick a time when you won’t be rushed and when sex isn’t expected.  Open with how you realize this isn’t a particularly fun topic to talk about and how your previous conversation made you feel.  Impress upon your boyfriend that this is a common occurrence for many women and how it can happen when you don’t urinate after you have sex.  Let him know that you are on antibiotics to treat the infection and that it’s not contagious.  Offer to email him information from any of the sites linked herein if he wants to read more about UTIs.  And, then ask him for his thoughts.

You should come up with something in your own words, but as an idea:

I felt hurt when I told you what was going on with my infection, and you intimated that it was my fault/were dismissive.  I had hoped that you would be more understanding.  Many women get UTIs, and sex is often the cause.  I'll try to be better about going the bathroom right after we have sex so this doesn’t happen again.  It’s not contagious or anything like that, but my doctor recommended waiting until I’m done with my antibiotics before having sex again so things can heal.  If you want me to send you some links to sites about this, I can.  So, what are you thoughts about this?

The average healthy guy doesn’t have to deal with UTIs so it’s not an issue that is going to be on his radar.  If I’m with a partner who wants to snuggle or talk for a while after sex, I let him know that I need to head to the bathroom quickly and why.  I don’t spell it out explicitly, but I’ll say something like:

I really want to continue this conversation/stay in bed, but let me quickly head to the bathroom so I’m not hurting tomorrow.

Most guys aren’t going to ask what I mean by that, and that’s fine.  It’s more important to me that I excuse myself for a few minutes and don’t have to worry about getting a UTI.

So, readers, what are your thoughts on this issue?  Did I miss anything?  xoxo

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