3 possible answers to whether you can pass a UTI to your partner

Since sex is the main trigger for UTI, you probably wonder if you could pass a UTI to your the partner?

The answer is “not likely”, but let’s examine this further.

First of all, congrats on feeling better, I assume? When I used to have my UTIs I definitely didn’t think about sex.

Since you are wondering if you could pass a UTI to your partner, you must feel better!

Check out this collection of 9 products to jump-start your UTI-prevention strategy.

Could You Pass A UTI To Your Partner?

First, let’s go over the basics. Urinary tract infections happen in the urinary tract: urethra and bladder. However, mechanism of the pathogen transmission often includes sexual organs.

So if we break down the problem we have a three part question:

1. Can pathogenic bacteria from an infected urinary tract travel to someone else’s urinary tract during sex?

This is quite unlikely, regardless of which partner (male or female) has a UTI.

2. Can pathogenic bacteria from an infected urinary tract travel to your partner’s sexual organ during sex?

Could happen, regardless of which partner has a UTI, during unprotected sex.

3. Can pathogenic bacteria from any body part of any partner travel to any other partner’s urethra?

Much more likely regardless whether you have or not have an acute UTI. That’s just how UTI happens!

This Is How UTI Happens

  • E.coli bacteria cause 90% of all UTIs.
  • These bacteria live in your intestines and (consequently) are present in your poop and on your genitals.
  • If there are too many of them, they could be easily carried out toward urethra during sex to cause a UTI.
  • Location, location, location! It’s unfortunate that women’s clitoris is right next to urethra. And for guys, the urethra is, obviously is in the penis. Both organs are frequently used during sex.
  • Every time you introduce pathogenic bacteria in your urethra, there is a chance that you could contract a UTI.

Check it out, it’ll blow your mind!Learn why using certain type of condoms can increase your risk of UTI

Can Female Pass A UTI To A Healthy Male Partner?

Good news: it is highly unlikely that a female could pass a UTI to her male partner.

First of all, if you are a male, it is very unlikely that you are ever going to experience a UTI regardless whether your female partner has them or not.

In order for a man to get a UTI a lot of things need to go wrong.

Man’s urethra is at least 4 times longer than female’s, therefore it is so much harder for pathogenic bacteria to reach the bladder.

Moreover, if a female has a UTI, most likely her vaginal flora has been misbalanced for a while.

This means that pathogenic bacteria have been growing in her vagina and eventually reached the urethra, causing a UTI.

And this would not happen overnight.

Chances are her vaginal flora has been compromised with the pathogenic bacteria long before the first UTI symptoms.   

Bottom line, if you are female, you will not pass a UTI to your otherwise healthy male partner.

Can A Guy With UTI Pass It To His Female Partner? 

Logically speaking, If you are a male with a urinary tract infection, you could potentially introduce some bacteria causing UTIs to your female partner’s vagina.

Your sperm travels exactly through the same route as your urine does, and some of the bacteria could be still in your urethra.

However, if you just started your antibiotics,  it means your urethra and bladder probably do not have much active pathogenic bacteria.

Even if there are traces of pathogenic bacteria in your urethra, we can speculate that it would not be more than she has on her own genitals at any given time. 

Moreover, regardless of where E.coli come from (her own anus or your urethra), it’s up to your girlfriend’s vagina how to expel the pathogenic bacteria.

If the vaginal flora is compromised, the pathogen could “establish a base” in the vagina and will wait till an opportunity presents itself to reach female’s urethra and trigger a UTI.

A healthy vaginal flora (check out this supplement that could help support balanced flora), on the other hand, is not hospitable to pathogenic bacteria.

Also, keep in mind, if a guy has a UTI, he could experience a very painful ejaculation.

Using the words of one of the UTI sufferers “ejaculation feels like my penis is on fire on the inside”.

So perhaps, it is better to wait 3-5 days till antibiotics help you to get rid of the infection and the inflammation.

Can Female Pass a UTI to Another Female?

Can one of you pass a UTI to your partner if both are females? Unlikely.

Rather than worrying that pathogenic bacteria will make the whole way from one urethra to another, it’s more important to not share toys, and even yet more important to separate anal and vaginal toys.

Buy a good toy cleaner an use it religiously. As well as a water-based lube that would not ruin your vaginal flora.

Can Men Pass a UTI to Each Other?

As discussed above, an otherwise healthy male doesn’t normally have to worry about a UTI triggered by sex.

That’s correct, you don’t have to worry about passing a UTI to your partner, but do worry about safe anal sex practices.

And even more important, make sure to pee frequently during the day and get your prostate checked regularly, since these are the main factors that increase your risk of UTI, not sex alone.

However, if you do have repeated UTIs and practice unprotected anal sex, most likely after all other possibilities are ruled out, your doctor would suggest you to start using a condom.

Oral Sex And UTI 

Researchers have a different outlook on the matter of UTI and oral sex.

Some consider that it is impossible to contract a UTI during oral sex, others point out that strep throat in male-to-female oral sex resulted in increased co-colonization with group B strep.

And while the jury is still out, I personally think it is, aesthetically unpleasant and definitely a turn off if your partner is going down on you while suffering from a sinus infection, sore throat, inflamed tonsils or stinky decaying teeth.

Ask Your Doctor When In Doubt

And the last cautionary note: while E.coli causes majority (80-85%) of UTIs, Chlamydia or trichomoniasis could also cause UTI-like symptoms.

Various bacteria and microorganisms including even fungal organisms (such as Candida species) are responsible for the rest of the infections. 

All things considered, while the chances are low to pass a UTI to your partner, it is always better to consult a physician or take a test to confirm the diagnosis before engaging in unprotected sex.

And even if both of you are healthy at the moment, one of you could pass pathogenic bacteria to another (or yourself) during sex by simply moving the bacteria from the area of your anus toward your own urethra.

Regardless whether you decide on perpetual celibacy or engage in a risky endeavor called “sex”, here are things to remember:

1. Be smart about which contraception methods you use. Certain contraception methods could affect your chances of contracting a UTI

2. Take preventive measures 

3. Know other UTI risk factors

 

9 thoughts on “3 possible answers to whether you can pass a UTI to your partner”

  1. Me and my hubby have sex alot sorry as we are trying for a baby. My dh complain of burning when peeing. I also had a drop of pink blood maybe on toilet seat after peeing. Can we have both utis at same time?

    1. Hi, Faru, good luck with conceiving 🙂
      Here is a post about UTI in men, read and see what you think. As to a drop of blood, if this is the only symptom, I highly doubt (not a medical opinion since I’m not a healthcare professional, just a UTI nerd) that it’s a UTI, are you positive it came from your urethra, not vagina or anus?

  2. I am 70 years old and am experiencing my first UTI, which the culture showed to be group b strep. I have finished a course of amoxycillin. I still feel irritated vaginally and I am also afraid to have sex with my husband for fear of passing it along to him. My repeat culture showed there is still some strep b present in my urine, but at a lower colonization??? My doc is not planning to prescribe another course of amoxicillin. also some remaining red blood cells in urine, but scant.

    If you can offer any advice or reassurance as to whether or not I will feel better eventually and if it is ok to engage in sexual activity with my husband, I would be grateful! Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Linda, sorry to hear about this. I don’t think you should worry about your husband’s health in regards to B strep bacteria, they are very frequently found in vaginas of healthy women and are not normally a pathogen to be concerned about unless there is an overgrowth of the bacteria or they are in a wrong place (bladder, for example). Amoxicillin sounds like the right treatment for the issue at hand. If you no longer have UTI symptoms, that is more important than if the bacteria are still present in the culture at lower amounts (symptoms like visually present blood in urine or cloudy and smelly urine, frequent urination, burning after urination, for example), that explains why your doctor doesn’t want to prescribe more. I would strongly recommend checking with your doctor if he could check your vaginal flora, and perhaps, ask him/her about topical vaginal estrogen. Vaginal irritation could be a symptom of many different things and it’s important to diagnose and address any vaginal issues since your vagina is your best friend when it comes to UTI prevention (read here more about it).
      Best wishes,

      1. Thank you so much for getting back to me. I also read the attached article you included. I am now thinking this might be related to several different antibiotics I have had to take over the last several months. Three rounds of Keflex starting last October 2017 for chalazia, the most recent round was 500 mg aid for ten days. Then I was placed on Macrobid for five days for this uti, then switched to the amoxicillin for ten days. That ended a couple of weeks ago. Hmmmm…..think that might be the culprit? Would it make sense for me to try a probiotic (orally) that treats both the gut and vagina? It couldn’t do any harm, right?

        1. Hi Linda, surely several rounds of antibiotics are never a great thing in terms of affecting vaginal flora. Besides being immunosuppressed, I do not think there are many contradictions, you can always ask your doctor if in doubt. Both oral and vaginal probiotics are great. I would advise checking with your doctor about topical estrogen as well. Best wishes,

  3. Anastasia – I am a urologist who treats many patients with complicated recurrent UTI’s – older, post-menopausal, diabetic females with voiding dysfunction. The toughest of the tough.

    You have a great deal of good information. You are bringing to light numerous pieces of information that are important. Many that are not taught to most nurses or doctors but are important. Just a couple of things you may want to do.
    – look at the AUA urology website and find the plenary video sessions from the meetings regarding recurrent UTI’s – lots of great information on biogenetics, urinary biome etc
    – Some things you may want to look into
    a) Cranberry was only ever suggested for UTI prevention – we now know that is a wash. BUT you would be doing a great service to tell people NOT to use cranberry juice when you have a UTI – it is like pouring lighter fluid on a fire
    b) Constipation – major contributor – please keep suggesting fluids and probiotics
    c) fermented foods – see b – kombacha, fermented cabbage, yoghurt – all great
    d) estrogen – for post menopausal is the most effect treatment – we use topical cream
    e) Younger women with recurrent UTI – get a renal/bladder ultrasound – you may have a stone or trouble emptying your bladder
    f) 8 glasses of water, empty on a schedule
    g) prophylactic antibiotics (1/4 treatment dose) particularly macrobid/trimethoprim/methanamine for 3 months do wonders if you have been having multiple infections
    h) interstitial cystitis – don’t mistake UTI’s for a bladder prone to urge/frequency from nerve remodulation

    Good Luck
    AB MD Urol

    1. Hello and thank you for your comments!
      Will check the resources you have mentioned, always excited to learn more. Would be great to connect with you in real life, as I’m working on series of interviews with physicians and researchers to provide variety of opinion to the readers. If you are interested, just reply to this comment with your contact info (all comments go through moderation, I promise, you won’t be sharing your email with the rest of the world 🙂
      Thank you for bringing up additional topics, I’d be glad to expand on them further.
      Best regards,

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