Why isn't her infection getting better?
Twenty-two-year old C emails Check Up from a Spanish Town address. She only became sexually active a year ago and is experiencing some discomfort with it.
Her boyfriend works in Montego Bay and she only sees him some weekends. She does not have a discharge but often finds herself passing small amounts of urine frequently and sometimes it burns and even causes low tummy cramps.
She has been treated on three occasions for a bladder infection (urinary tract infection-UTI) and asks Check Up why this is happening and how to prevent it from recurring.
The most common cause of UTI are bacteria from the bowel which also live near the rectum and vagina spreading up to enter the lower part of the urinary tract, the urethra.
These germs will then continue upwards to the bladder and even the kidneys to cause infections. Sexual intercourse is a common cause of UTIs because of the very near proximity of the anus, vagina and urethra.
During sexual intercourse the skin-to-skin proximity and the movement of the penis can make the urethral area sore and can also massage organisms upwards and into the sore urethra.
This is worsened if the female had intercourse with a full bladder or waits too long after sex to urinate. The act of urinating flushes out the germs which have made their way up into the urethra and bladder. It is also good to drink more fluids after sex and to continue to flush the bladder.
Women who have more frequent sex find that the urethral tissues become more acclimatised to sex and the UTIs lessen and disappear.