If You Really Need To Pee After Sex, According To Science

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If you have a vagina, you’ve probably been told it’s a absolute necessity urinate immediately after intercourse to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). But it turns out that there isn’t much evidence to support this idea. There is surprisingly little research on the question of whether this oft-repeated advice actually works. A to study in a journal called The evidence is based on practice found that, overall, it doesn’t seem to make a difference. But that’s just one study, and the results don’t point strongly in any direction.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) does not list urinating after sex in his tips to prevent UTIs. This is what they do recommend:

  • Wash the skin around the anus and genital area.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (including water) to flush bacteria out of your urinary system.
  • Empty your bladder as soon as you feel the urge or every two to three hours.

They note that factors such as being pregnant, having diabetes, or going through menopause can increase the risk of contracting a UTI. And some people seem to be more prone to them: If you’ve had a UTI before, your chances of getting one again are higher than someone who’s never had one.

That said, if you’ve been urinating after sex, there’s no need to kick the habit. While there’s no conclusive evidence that it helps, there’s also no conclusive evidence that it hurts, or even that it’s useless.

Does urinating after sex prevent pregnancy or STIs?

While we’re at it, I’d like to mention two myths that have been mixed into all of the urination after sex advice. Urinating after sex is No probably to prevent pregnancy, or to prevent sexually transmitted infections.

When it comes to preventing pregnancy, sperm goes into the vagina, not the urethra. These two openings are close to each other, but they are not the same, and the urine that comes out of the urethra has no influence on what happens in the vagina, cervix, or uterus. People who are trying to get pregnant may have heard the advice to delay urination for at least a short time after intercourse to let gravity help their chances of conceiving, but the American Society for Reproductive Medicine points out that “this belief has no scientific basis.”

Urinating after intercourse has not been found to have a significant effect on the risk of contracting HIV, chlamydia, herpes, or any other sexually transmitted infection. To prevent STIs, ACOG recommends use condoms, be aware of the increased risk of anal sex or other acts that can result in skin lesions, and be sure to get vaccinated against HPV and hepatitis B, both of which can be transmitted sexually.

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