Why It Sometimes Hurts To Pee After You Have Sex

Photo: Mitchell Orr on Unsplash
Why Does It Hurt To Pee After Sex? Dysuria (Painful, Burning Urination) In Women
Health And Wellness, Sex

If no one has ever told you before, here's a little secret: It's not only a good idea to pee after having sex, it's a great idea.

Yet sometimes, when women head to do their body's due diligence, they experience painful urination and/or a burning sensation in their vagina when peeing.

The good news is that dysuria fairly common in women, and many of the causes can be easily diagnosed and treated.

What is dysuria — and why does it hurt to pee after sex?

Dysuria is a broad medical term for painful urination, which Harvard Medical School states is "Often described as a burning sensation ... most commonly is caused by bacterial infections of the urinary tract."

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The reason this happens to you and not your male sweetie is the same reason your bodies fit so nicely together — they are are designed differently.

The shape and mainly internal workings of the vagina and it's nearby corresponding ureters and urethra make women's bodies more vulnerable to bacterial or viral infections and irritation, whether caused by what's happening in the sheets or other possible factors.

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 been 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.

And while painful urination is most commonly a symptom of a urinary tract infection (UTI), there are several other reasons it sometimes hurts to pee after sex.

The only way to know the root cause of your pain or burning in your vagina is to see a medical professional, as many factors come into play.

Here's a closer look at 6 reasons women may experience dysuria (painful, burning or stinging urination) when peeing 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 urinating 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.

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

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

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.

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 and spermicide or from objects such as catheters or sex toys.

Vaginitis may also be caused by the irritants mentioned above, as well as by the following:

  • Low levels of estrogen after menopause
  • A tampon that was improperly inserted or not removed
  • Bacterial vaginosis
  • Yeast infections

4. Irritation of the vulva, vagina and/or urethra during sex

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. Having sex without sufficient 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.

Please note: the information in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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

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