Unfortunately, anal sex and UTI are often connected. If you understand the mechanics of a urinary tract infection, it is easy to see how anal sex can cause a UTI if you are not extremely careful.
#1 Why Anal Sex Causes UTI
There are plenty of bacteria that live in our lower intestines and are found in human feces and in the anal cavity. However, if they stay where they are meant to be, they are harmless and even helpful.
For example, E. coli strains produce important vitamins, such as vitamin K and B-complex vitamins, which we absorb.
At the same time, E. coli are responsible for 90% of UTIs worldwide when they ascend to the urethra and bladder.
Therefore, when E. coli bacteria are mechanically moved from your anal cavity towards your urethra, they might be able to eventually invade your bladder, causing a UTI.
Remember, bacteria are microscopic. Even if everything looks clean, there are always some bacteria on your genitals and around the anus.
It goes without saying that anal sex is impossible without lube.
Unfortunately, many popular brands available in pharmacies could increase a female’s risk of contracting a UTI if they contain glycerin or sorbitol.
So even if you are extremely cautious about not letting any cross-contamination happen, if you’re using a lube that disrupts your vaginal flora, this could be a risk factor for UTI.
Read about lube that doesn’t cause UTI.
#2 Anal sex and UTI in women
For women, the risk of UTI is always higher, regardless of the style of sex we’re engaging in, because our urethra is shorter than men’s.E.coli bacteria, therefore, have to travel a smaller distance toward our bladder and they can reach it faster.
What’s more interesting, under certain circumstances E. coli bacteria could colonize a vagina. This is actually pretty easy because the vaginal opening is so close to the anus.
However, healthy vaginal flora is capable of kicking out E. coli bacteria and not letting it grow. On the other hand, if your vaginal flora is compromised, the pathogenic bacteria will grow and eventually travel further.
As you can imagine, no matter how clean you are, it’s easy to move E. coli bacteria around on the surface of your genitals during anal sex.
Eventually, some of the bacteria will get into your vagina and then ascend to your urethra and bladder, and that’s how UTI happens.
#3 Anal sex and UTI in men
But what about men? Well, even if you are lucky enough to have a quite long urethra, it’s still better to wear a condom. The anus might look visually clean, but bacteria are still there.
If you decide to go for it without a condom, make sure to pee soon after sex to flush out any E. coli bacteria that are climbing your urethra to your bladder.
Statistically, though, UTI in men is usually caused by other health problems, and a healthy guy is unlikely to contract a UTI from unprotected anal sex.
#4 Ground rules for anal sex to reduce the risk of UTI
In respect to UTI safety, here are a couple important things to remember:
- Vaginal before anal: it is safer if anal sex is the last thing you do before you go pee and take a shower, rather than the other way around.
- Discard your condom after anal sex, and obviously, do not use the same condom for vaginal penetration.
- Use different hands for anal and vaginal play. Reserve one hand (or finger) for anal play only.
- Use a lube that doesn’t contain sorbitol or glycerin.
#5 How to Prevent UTI if frequently engaging in anal sex
Basic rules include:
- Pee after sex (both heterosexual partners)
- Good hygiene before and after
- Ladies: consider supplements such as probiotics to keep your vaginal flora well-balanced (females) and both partners, consider taking D-Mannose
- Look for a quality lube that does not promote the growth of opportunistic bacteria.