What makes up the urinary tract?
The urinary tract consists of the tubes known as ureters which carry waste from the kidneys to the bladder, and then when the bladder is more or less full, waste in the form of urine, is carried out of the body by a tube known as the urethra.
This vitally important function of getting rid of waste is something we hardly notice, and sometimes take for granted.
However, should anything go wrong with this system, you could become highly distressed until it is successfully treated.
A burning issue
For both men and women, a urinary tract infection (UTI) is a burning and painful issue. A UTI is usually caused when bacteria from the bowel enters the urethra and travels up to the bladder where the infection takes place. This infects the urethra causing inflammation, resulting in pain and burning when urinating.
Studies have shown that women are more prone to UTI than men, because the urethra is shorter and closer to the anus and the vagina, which raises the risk of infection, especially during sexual intercourse.
Only a small percentage of men actually develop UTI, but those who do have risk factors such as an enlarged prostate gland, are prone to kidney stones, catheter insertions, and a poor immune system.
But the actual symptoms experienced are basically the same as those suffered by women, except for one symptom which is specific to men, namely a discharge seeping from the penis.
Any man who experiences this symptom must visit the doctor to establish whether or not it is indeed a UTI, or something more serious.
General symptoms of a urinary tract infection
These symptoms are common to both men and women:
- A constant urge to urinate, which only results in tiny amounts of urine being released at a time.
- A feeling that the bladder is always full.
- Lower back and abdominal pain.
- Fever if infection is severe.
- Cloudy and bad smelling urine.
- A burning pain when urinating.
If left untreated, a UTI may spread to the kidneys, and cause a painful, serious kidney infection.
The UTI is usually treated with a round of antibiotics, combined with plenty of water and alkaline salts to flush toxins from the bladder and urinary tubes.
Is sex out of bounds with a UTI problem?
Even with antibiotic treatment, the infection can take time to heal. Sex during the healing period may introduce more bacteria into the urinary tract, and can result in another course of medication – and also an extended recovery period.
Medical practitioners agree that it is better to refrain from sex until the UTI has properly cleared up and you have taken your full course of antibiotics. This could take about 2 weeks, but the wait will be well worth it to know you are safe.
A couple of reasons why it will be better to until things have cleared up include the fact that sex might painful, uncomfortable, and make your UTI symptoms worse.
Note that even if you decide to use a condom, you may still experience a degree of discomfort and pain.
We can help
If your sex life has been in the doldrums for a few weeks because of a UTI, your libido may also have taken a knock.
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