Why It Sometimes Hurts To Pee After Sex

Photo: Getty
woman with pain and burning after sex
Health And Wellness

If no one has ever told you before, here's a little secret: peeing after sex isn't just a good idea, it's an important thing for men and women alike to make sure they do.

Sometimes, you may experience painful urination and/or a burning sensation in your vagina or penis when you pee after having sex. When that happens, it can be not just physically uncomfortable, but downright scary.

Why does it hurt to pee after sex?

Dysuria, the medical term for pain and/or burning during urination, may be caused by STIs like genital herpes, gonorrhea or chlamydia, but is most commonly a symptom of a bacterial infection of the urinary tract, i.e., a UTI. This condition is fairly common among women, and more common in women than in men.

Important note: While most causes of painful urination after sex can be easily diagnosed and treated, it's important to see a doctor so you can get tested as soon as possible in case medical treatment is necessary.

RELATED: Why You Should Never (Ever) Pee Before Having Sex

This happens to women more often than it does to men for the same reason your bodies fit so nicely together — they are are designed differently. The shape and mainly internal nature of the vagina, ureters and urethra mean women's bodies are more vulnerable to bacterial or viral infections and irritation.

If you've never experienced burning or pain when you pee after sex, consider yourself lucky. If you have, there's nothing to be ashamed of. It's estimated that 50-60% of women will experience a UTI in their lifetime, and one in three will require treatment with antibiotics before the age of 24.

While painful urination is most commonly a symptom of a urinary tract infection, there are several other reasons it sometimes hurts to pee after sex. As noted above, the only way to know for sure what is causing your pain or burning is to see a medical professional, as many factors come into play.

6 common causes of painful urination and burning in your vagina or penis after sex:

1. Urinary tract infections (UTIs)

UTIs are the most common cause of painful urination in women. In the most basic terms, a UTI is defined as "an infection in any part of your urinary system, which includes your kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra."

There are three types of UTIs:

Cystitis: an infection of the bladder. This is the most common type, and is most likely to occur in women between the ages of 20-50.

Pyelonephritis: an infection of the kidneys, also known as an upper urinary tract infection.

Urethritis: an infection of the urethra.

UTIs can be the result of a bacterial infection or inflammation introduced during sex or from improper wiping after using the toilet. As the urethra is shorter in women than in men, there is less distance for bacteria to travel in order to reach the bladder. When you wipe from back to front rather than from front to back, "Bacteria from the large intestine, such as E. coli, can sometimes get out of your anus and into your urethra. From there, they can travel up to your bladder and, if the infection isn't treated, can continue on to infect your kidneys."

It stands to reason that if there is lingering bacteria in the area before you have sex, the act of penetration serves to move that bacteria further inside your urinary tract.

If you're used to heading for the ladies room before sex, save yourself the trip.

Not only is it unnecessary, but there's a chance it could actually cause you some trouble, as doctors say peeing before sex is number one cause of post-coital UTIs in women.

Urinating before sex means your stream is unlikely to be as strong as it would be otherwise after sex, making it less likely your body will expel as much of the bacteria pushed into your vagina during sex as it would if you wait to pee until after.

There are, of course, many reasons you may develop a UTI that having nothing to do with sex, including pregnancy, diabetes, medications, kidney stones and radiation treatment.

Antibiotics are the most common treatment for UTIs, but you should always be sure to follow your doctor's advice.

2. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Sometimes it will hurt to pee because of a sexually transmitted infection (STI), most commonly genital herpes, gonorrhea or chlamydia.

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3. Urethritis or Vaginitis caused by infection, allergies, sensitivies, and other irritants

Urethritis is an inflammation of the urethra, and vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina.

Urethritis is most commonly the result of an STI, but can also be caused by irritation from chemicals in products such as bathing products, douche, latex condoms, spermicide, lube and sex toys.

Vaginitis may also be caused by the irritants mentioned above, as well as by low levels of estrogen after menopause, a tampon that was improperly inserted or not removed, bacterial vaginosis, and yeast infections.

4. Irritation of the vulva, vagina and/or urethra from rough sexual activity

Sometimes it's fun to get a little freaky in the bedroom, and there are things you and your partner can do to enjoy yourselves while honoring your body's needs and boundaries when exchanging bodily fluids during various types of sexual activity.

As a rule, that means you and your partner should both be tested for STIs, you should always use a condom, and your partner should not go from anal sex to vaginal sex without a clean transition between penetrations.

RELATED: 7 Reasons For Vaginal Pain During Sex — And How To Fix Them

5. Hormonal changes

Imbalanced hormones can cause traces of blood to cross paths with your urine stream or may increase vaginal dryness.

If your hormones are changing due to pregnancy, medications, birth control, menopause or other factors, this may be the cause.

6. An allergic reaction to semen

Yes, you can be allergic to semen, or more specifically, to the proteins contained in a man's semen.

An allergic reaction to semen may also be accompanied by itching, swelling, redness, pain, and a burning sensation and could even lead to hives, difficulty breathing, and anaphylaxis.

7. Atrophic vaginitis in women

Also known as vaginal atrophy, atrophic vaginitis is a thinning of the vaginal walls caused by a decrease estrogen that most commonly occurs often during or after menopause.

In addition to painful or burning urination, vaginal atrophy may cause itching, irritation, light spotting, frequent urination, incontinence, and/or frequent UTIs.

8. Prostatitis in men

Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate gland

In addition to pain or burn during urination, additional symptoms of prostatitis include difficulty urinating, chills, fever and pain in the lower abdomen, lower back, or rectum.

9. Having sex without enough lubrication

Depending on many factors, such as when sexual intercourse takes place, the attraction between partners, stress, or a woman's reproductive stage, natural lubrication may not be enough to avoid small scratches and tears caused by friction during sex. The end result is that it can hurt to pee immediately afterward, and sometimes even for a few days after intercourse.

If your discomfort seems to go away a little more each day, then there's a possibility this could be the reason, and there's nothing to worry about. If you're a perimenopausal or postmenopausal woman and/or this happens frequently, be sure to bring it up with your gynecologist on your next visit, or give the doctor's office a call to find out what to do.

The most important thing to remember is that if it hurts, stop.

Pain is always a sign that you need to pay attention to your body. Don't be embarrassed. Take the time to take care of you.

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Aria Gmitter, M.S, M.F.A., is a senior editor for YourTango.