20 December 2023




Woman’s Health Specialist Dr Catherine Hood from Effercitrate

A lot of women tell me after having sex with their partner they then experience cystitis a day or two afterwards.  Some have also confided they experience reoccurring episodes of cystitis after intercourse that is affecting their sexual relationship with their partner, resulting in either abstinence or increased levels of stress and anxiety when having sex.


Estimates show that sex-induced cystitis accounts for around 4% of lower urinary tract infections (UTI), with this figure rising to 60% for recurrent cases[1], demonstrating sex as a key trigger of cystitis for millions of women in the UK.  In this latest e-news we take a look at the relationship between cystitis and sex.


What is cystitis?

Cystitis is inflammation of the bladder and can be caused by a urinary tract infection.  It  is a very painful condition causing burning pain when you pass urine, passing urine frequently, or having the urge to pass urine frequently. There may be blood in the urine and the urine may be cloudy and smell more or different from normal. You may also have a high temperature and feel feverish.


Cystitis is very common, particularly in women and most women will have cystitis at least once in their lifetime and up to one in three[2] women will have recurrent cystitis.


What’s the relationship between sexx and cystitis?

Cystitis is 30 times more common in women than in men, and sexually active women have on average one episode of cystitis every 2 to 3 years.[3]


This is because women have a shorter urethra (the tube through which urine leaves the body) and the opening is located very close to the anus (bottom).  This makes it easier for bacteria present in the large bowel to reach the bladder and cause an infection.


Factors that increase the risk of cystitis in women include sexual intercourse, the use of spermicide, a new sexual partner in the last year and the use of contraceptive diaphragms.


As 90%[4] of cystitis is caused by bacteria from the rectum, movements during sex help move these bacteria up the urethra into the bladder. Movement during sex may also cause damage to the urethra and this slight damage can cause bacteria to thrive and infect the urethra and bladder.


With oral sex, bacteria can still be introduced to the urethra by the movement of your partner’s mouth and cause an infection. Love making positions can also come into play here. Sex from behind, in particular, can inflame the urethra. This applies to sexual relationships between males as well as relationships between men and women.

Whilst symptoms of cystitis are far more common in women than men, cystitis can sometimes occur in men, especially those between the ages of 15 and 50, especially if they are sexually active, take part in anal sexx and/or are uncircumcised.  Cystitis in men is often a symptom of an infection so they should see a doctor if it’s recurrent.  The risk of cystitis with any sexual activity is increased if you don’t pee afterwards. If you are prone to cystitis, it’s important to have a large glass of water every time you have sex, so you can then go for a pee. 


Soothing Cystitis

To soothe the symptoms of cystitis and provide swift relief Effercitrate Tablets are a simple, drinkable, palatable solution to take when cystitis strikes - vital for those suffering from cystitis. Busting cystitis fast is essential as it can be very debilitating.


Available without the need for a prescription or a urine sample, the lemon and lime flavoured effervescent tablets contain the ingredient potassium citrate when dissolved – which makes the urine more alkaline, helping to soothe the bladder and urethra lining and relieve discomfort caused by the infection.

Simply dissolve two tablets into a glass of water (this is where the ingredients become active and do their job). Drink the pleasant lemon and lime solution. Relief provided from the burning irritation and discomfort caused by cystitis.


What can I do to reduce the risk of cystitis after sex? Healthy self-care around sex is important, particularly if you suffer from frequent bouts of cystitis. Dr Catherine Hood, sexual health expert on behalf of shares her top 10 tips for reducing the risk of getting cystitis.


  1. Drink water: Have a large glass of water straight after having sexx. It is important to drink a lot as this strengthens your pee stream and reduces the chances of bacteria managing to stick to the wall of your bladder and urinary tract. Effective hydration will generally make you pee more often, flushing the bacteria out.
  2. Visit the toilet: Before and after having sex, go to the toilet straight away and empty your bladder.
  3. Wash down below: Wash your genital area before and after sex. This helps to keep any bacteria away from the urethra.
  4. Wipe direction: This piece of good self-care advice applies to all women all of the time - always wipe from front to back. Doing so is more hygienic and will help you avoid spreading bacteria into your urinary tract and vagina.
  5. Take Effercitrate Tablets:  If you have cystitis take Effercitrate Tablets which will provide soothing, fast relief from cystitis symptoms.
  6. Wear cotton underwear: Opt for cotton underwear as it is soft and allows the vagina to ‘breathe”. Stay clear of tight-fitting jeans or trousers.
  7. Unperfumed: Avoid perfumed bubble baths, talcum powder and feminine wipes as these can cause irritation.
  8. Diet: Eat a healthy balanced diet and include fruit and vegetables high in vitamin C. Avoid spicy or sugary foods and drinks as they could make cystitis symptoms worse.
  9. Avoid sexx (when you have cystitis): Sex can cause friction and irritation in the urethra, which is sensitive during an infection. With penetrative sex, pressure on the vagina can also put pressure on the bladder and cause more pain if it is inflamed and sensitive.
  10. Seek medical advice: If symptoms of cystitis continue for more than a couple of days after treatment, see your GP - Cystitis can occasionally progress to a kidney infection, which will require treatment with antibiotics.

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