Q & A with Dr. Rani Bhat
What is honeymoon cystitis?
Inflammation of the bladder that happens after a woman’s first sexual encounter or after a period of abstinence is known as “honeymoon cystitis.” It affects women almost exclusively and can occur at any age. As with any type of urinary tract infection, honeymoon cystitis is generally caused by bacteria. There are normal bacteria that tend to live on the skin around the anus and during sexual intercourse, these bacteria can be transferred into the urethra causing cystitis.
Half of all women get cystitis at least once in their lives. Honeymoon cystitis remains more common among young women in their twenties but can also happen to women of any age group when they start having sex again after not having done so for a long period of time.
Why do women get cystitis after intercourse?
The rubbing during sex can cause bacteria from the genital area and anus to come in contact with the urethra. These bacteria can move towards the bladder and trigger cystitis. In addition, vaginal dryness during sex can lead to inflammation of the mucous membranes, making them more vulnerable to infection.
What are the symptoms of honeymoon cystitis?
- A strong, persistent urge to urinate
- Burning sensation when urinating
- Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
- Blood in the urine
- Passing cloudy or strong-smelling urine
- Pelvic / lower tummy discomfort
- A feeling of pressure in the lower abdomen &
- Low-grade fever
How is honeymoon cystitis diagnosed?
You will be advised to have a urine test, they are two types, urine routine test and the other is urine culture and sensitivity test. The results of these tests will not only confirm the diagnosis but will also help the doctor to give you appropriate antibiotics based on the type of infection you have.
How is honeymoon cystitis treated?
Cystitis can be treated very easily and quickly with a course of antibiotics. If you don’t want to take antibiotics right away you may wish to wait 48 hours to see if the infection clears without any medication. A short course of antibiotics will effectively treat infections in most cases.
If you suffer from recurrent bladder infections, you may be given a prescription for a low daily dose of antibiotics taken for several months to prevent future infections. The standard antibiotic treatment for cystitis lasts 3 days. You need to make sure that you complete the course of treatment as prescribed, otherwise, the infection might return. If you are suffering from strong side-effects, ask your doctor to recommend an alternative antibiotic treatment.
Can you have sex when you have a UTI?
Sex is not contraindicated during urinary tract infection as it’s not contagious but treating the infection before having sex is recommended as vaginal penetration may increase the pain and worsen the symptoms.
How to prevent honeymoon cystitis after intercourse?
Although these preventive self-care measures aren’t well-studied, doctors sometimes recommend the following for repeated bladder infections:
- Drink plenty of water. By drinking a good amount of water, it will make you pee frequently and by doing so it may help to stop bacteria multiplying in the bladder.
- Urinate frequently. If you feel the urge to urinate, don’t delay using the toilet and always empty your bladder fully.
- Wipe from front to back after passing stools. This prevents bacteria in the anal region from spreading to the vagina and urethra.
- Take showers rather than tub baths. When you have tub baths with various salts and perfumed bubble baths your genitals and urethra are exposed to the chemicals in these products for too long and this can increase the risk of urinary infection.
- Gently wash the skin around the vagina and anus. Do this daily, but don’t use harsh soaps or wash too vigorously. The delicate skin around these areas can become irritated.
- Empty your bladder as soon as possible after intercourse. Drink plenty of water to help flush bacteria.
- Avoid using deodorant sprays or feminine products in the genital area. These products can irritate the urethra and vagina.
- Avoid vaginal dryness during sexual intercourse. In case of vaginal dryness, use a water-based lubricant to avoid irritation of the mucous membranes
- Last but not the least remember, condoms are not known to offer any protection against honeymoon cystitis.
If you are susceptible to UTIs, try to maintain a healthy immune system and avoid drinking too much coffee, soda, and fruit juice as they irritate your bladder. Some people report drinking cranberry juice on a regular basis can help protect them from cystitis, but cranberry juice does not actually cure a bladder infection once you’ve got one.