Vaginal and urinary tract infections are more common when you are sexually active because sexual intercourse introduces new bacteria into the urinary tract. Sometimes they can not be avoided but there are ways to help prevent them.
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): These are very common when you are sexually active. People usually refer to them as bladder infections, but if left untreated, the infection can travel up your urinary tract through your ureters to your kidneys. Symptoms may differ but they usually include painful urination, pelvic pain or pressure, and burning or stinging with urination. You may feel the urge to urinate all the time or feel that you can’t empty your bladder when you do void. It’s important to start treating a bladder infection when you notice the first signs of one by drinking lots of water and or cranberry juice. There are over the counter medications that can help with the pain but they will not cure the infection. You need to get a prescription for that; many times you can get one at your premarital visit for future use. If you have blood in your urine or kidney pain, the infection may have spread to your kidneys and you’ll need to see a doctor as soon as possible. The best ways to avoid UTIs are wiping from front to back after you use the restroom, urinating fairly soon after intercourse and good personal hygiene. As with the other infections, showering after intercourse can help prevent these problems.
Yeast Infections: These can occur at any time; some women are very susceptible to them while others rarely get them. Yeast thrives in dark, moist places like the vagina. Drying your vagina completely after showering or bathing can help prevent these. Women have normal “good” bacteria in their vaginas that helps to fight off the yeast but sometimes that is not enough. Taking antibiotics increases your risk for a yeast infection because it kills off even the “good” bacteria. You can increase your healthy bacteria in your system by eating yogurt, taking probiotics or acidophilus. The symptoms of a yeast infection are usually thick, white discharge and possibly itching or burning. There is usually not an abnormal odor associated. It can be treated over the counter with a cream or with a prescription from your doctor.
Bacterial Vaginosis: It is easy for bacteria to be spread to your vagina through sexual activities. It’s important for you and your partner to practice good hygiene and it helps to shower after intercourse or other sexual activities. Symptoms of a bacterial infection are usually vaginal itching or burning, along with a foul or fishy smelling discharge that is yellowish- green. You need to see a doctor for this and they can give you a prescription for it. There is currently no over the counter medication available.