A UTI is short for a Urinary tract infection. The urinary tract is made up of two kidneys, two ureters, a bladder, and a urethra. The kidneys and ureter make up the upper urinary tract while the bladder and urethra make up the lower urinary tract. It is responsible for draining urine produced by the kidneys outside, through the bladder and the urethra. A UTI occurs when there is an infection of any part of this urinary system.
According to the WHO, UTI is the leading cause of morbidity and healthcare expenditures in persons of all ages. It occurs more in women than men and an estimated 50% of women report having had a UTI at some point in their lives. It can also occur in children and in the elderly. About 8.3 million office visits and more than 1million hospitalizations, are due to UTI and it accounts for an overall annual health cost of greater than $1 billion.
What are the symptoms of a UTI?
When a UTI occurs, the symptoms can be discomforting and include.
- A sudden, strong, persistent urge to urinate
- A burning sensation or pain when urinating (dysuria).
- Needing to urinate more often than usual, including at night.
- Cloudy urine
- Strong of foul smelling urine
- Blood in urine appearing as red, pink, or dark cola colored urine
- Pelvic pain in women
- Fever, chills and irritability, especially in children.
How do people get a UTI?
Urinary tract infections typically occur when bacteria (usually from the digestive tract) enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply in the bladder. Infection of the bladder is called cystitis while infection of the urethra is called urethritis. Women get UTI more commonly than men because dislodgement of the bacteria from the anal area to the urethra which is located just about an inch in front of the vagina can easily occur during sex, especially some sexual positions and styles that involve touching the urethra with the penis, fingers or sex toys during sex. Spermicides used for birth control during sex also irritates the urethra and makes UTI more likely. The female urethra is also very short which shortens the distance that bacteria must travel to reach the bladder and cause cystitis.
Can I get UTI from my boyfriend cheating?
To answer this question, it is important to remember that the urethra is very close to the vagina. For this reason, organisms that cause sexually transmitted infections which can be contacted while having unprotected sex with a partner (boyfriend) can also be easily pushed into the urethra during sex. Also a woman with an STI can also have a UTI because the organism does not have to travel far to cause UTI. The form of UTI commonly associated with STIs is a urethritis. This is why some of the symptoms of an STI overlap with UTI like painful, burning urination. This is also true for men whose urethra serves the dual purpose of semen ejaculation during sex and urination. When they contact an STI from unprotected sexual intercourse, urethritis is usually inevitable.
Also like has been explained, sexual activity alone, even without an STI can also cause a UTI. So the fact a woman has a UTI after sex does not necessarily mean the partner was cheating, or had an STI
So in summary, the answer is yes, a cheating partner who engages in unprotected sex with another partner and also has unprotected sex with an individual is likely to infect the partner with an STI. The STI can then cause a UTI as explained above. This can also happen if the cheating partner does not have STI.
The bottom line is that the occurrence of a UTI after sex is not helpful to conclude if the partner was cheating, or had an STI. An honest conversation and STI test is probably a more fool proof way to determine this.
What are the common STIs that can cause a UTI?
Organisms that cause STIs that are commonly associated with UTI are the bacteria that cause Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and syphilis.
Viruses like herpes can also lead to a UTI.
How to prevent getting a UTI/STI from a cheating partner?
UTIs and STIs can be prevented by
- Limiting number of sexual partners to barest minimum (one preferably)
- Having a sexual partner who does not have multiple partners (faithful)
- Practicing protected sex with proper and correct use of condom
- Good diet to boost immunity and reduce chances of infection
- Always urinating after sex or within 30 minutes
- Wiping from front to back to avoid introducing any bacteria into the urethra after urinating
- Keeping the genital area clean by gently washing with warm water every day, as well as before sex.
- Avoiding contraception that includes a spermicide.
- Avoid douching or using vaginal deodorants or scented tampons or pads.
- Avoid wearing jeans and underwear that are too tight.
If you think you have a UTI after sex or STI or the both, do book an appointment with your doctor to get proper tests and treatment.