anal sex and uti

Anal Sex And UTI: 5 Critical Facts

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

Pathogenic bacteria

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.

Wrong lube

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 an additional 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.

Bacteria in my poop could...

#5 How to Prevent UTI if frequently engaging in anal sex

Basic rules include:

  1. Pee after sex (both heterosexual partners)
  2. Good hygiene before and after
  3. Ladies: consider supplements such as probiotics to keep your vaginal flora well-balanced (females) and both partners, consider taking D-Mannose
  4. Look for a quality lube that does not promote the growth of opportunistic bacteria.
  5. Instead of harsh soaps, use products that help you to support natural good bacteria and protect your skin’s natural balance, for example, Wipegel.

My UTI Guides

  1. Learn How To Prevent Chronic UTI
  2. Sex And UTI
  3. Oral Sex Could Cause UTI
  4. Can I Infect My Partner with UTI?

9 thoughts on “Anal Sex And UTI: 5 Critical Facts”

  1. Dear Anastasia,
    Thank you so much for your insightful and well written website. Have you heard of or evaluated lubricants that supposedly have antibacterial properties? I have seen some anal lubes with aloe, guava bark and sea kelp extracts that claim to be anti-bacterial. I would be curious to get your opinion on those.
    Thanks again!

    1. Anastasia Visotsky

      Thanks, Alex, for the kind words 🙂
      I’d stay away from anything antibacterial especially if they are truly antibacterial products. FDA regulates what could be called antibacterial (antiseptic) and there are only several ingredients that can claim these “benefits” (in parenthesis because I’m not a big fan of killing microbes right & left). If the lube’s manufacturer is FDA compliant, then the active ingredient will be called out at the back of the packaging and the list will be framed in a table with warnings and suggested use etc.. If the manufacturer’s claims are unsubstantiated then who knows what those ingredients really do :)) I’d suggest steering clear from that product and just go with a proven silicon-based lube brand. If your body is healthy, natural activities should not affect health and if one of you is prone to UTIs sanitizing genitalia or anus won’t be enough :)) Best,

  2. Can women get UTIs through vaginal even if they don’t have sex with a man that puts his penis inside of a vagina after anal sex? Like, if the sex involves zero anal & only vaginal? They say the vagina is cleaner than the anus.

    1. Hi Tyler, please check out this post to better understand the role vagina plays in UTI prevention. Basically, bacteria colonizing the vagina move around on their own, but any additional “activity” could contribute to them ascending further towards the urethra.

  3. Hi I started getting UTI after having my last baby and also tided my tubes it’s been a little over a year and I’ve got around 6 UTI infections I don’t know what to do or how to start to help my self, but it’s killing me I’m 34 years old I need advice please help.

  4. Olive oil as a lubricant helps (along with good hygiene). It’s a natural anti bacterial and some studies show that it kills e-coli. Since we started using olive oil 8 months ago my wife hasn’t had any UTIs.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.