Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are very common in women due to their very short urethra, which connects the outer skin to the lower bladder. In other words, unwanted bacteria can easily enter the bladder.
In essence, UTIs are relatively simple to treat, particularly with the help of antibiotics (which should not be taken based on what you hear; instead, a doctor's checkup is needed). They can, however, cause significant discomfort due to frequent urination and the stinging sensation after urination.
UTIs can be caused by a variety of factors, and most women will experience at least one bacterial infection at some point in their lives. It is important to note that there is no 100% effective way to completely eliminate the risk of urinary infections, but there are some guidelines you can follow to reduce your chances of developing such a problem.
When urinary infections lead to discomfort, it is natural to wonder what caused them. Is there a link between the infection and the amount of water consumed? Is it the sex itself, or can lube cause a UTI?
What are UTIs?
A urinary tract infection occurs when an infection affects any part of the urinary system, including the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. However, the majority of urinary infections affect the lower urinary tract, specifically the bladder and urethra.
Infections occur when harmful bacteria enter the urinary canal via the urethra and begin to surround the bladder. Normally, the urinary tract should eliminate bacteria, but there are times when the system fails and you end up with UTIs.
Although infections of this type are easily treated, the symptoms can be excruciating:
- Constant urge to urinate;
- Burning sensation when urinating;
- Urinating frequently and passing only small amounts of urine;
- Urine that appears cloudy or that is red/ bright pink;
- Urine has a strong smell;
- Pelvic pain.
Given how close the anus and the vaginal opening are to the urethra, all women are at risk of developing such infections. Because this proximity is handy for the transfer of bacteria, there is no magic cure that will completely eliminate these infections from women's lives.
The anatomy of women confers the greatest risk of infection of this type, while sex is also a frequent cause (you can even get a UTI from oral sex!). Other factors include using certain birth control methods, such as the diaphragm, or even going through menopause.
However, what about the lubricant? Can lube cause a UTI?
The Lube and The Danger of Urinary Tract Infection
In theory, lubricants cannot cause UTIs; however, the use of certain types of lube can increase the risk of bacterial and yeast infections; but these are two distinct things.
Lubricants with oils in their composition, in general, are thought to increase this risk, which is why it is always recommended to use a water-based lubricant, which is risk-free. However, studies have not clearly demonstrated that oil-based lube poses a highly increased risk.
On the other hand, a study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information suggests that using lubricant (almost any type of lube, except coconut oil!) can actually reduce the risk of urinary tract infections by creating an environment that is not conducive to the growth of bacteria. So, for the sake of your urinary tract health, use lube!
At the opposite pole is vaginal dryness, which can contribute to the occurrence of infections.
In any case, when selecting a lubricant, it is critical to review the ingredient list, as some of them may contain compounds that increase the risk of developing UTIs.
Ingredients That Can Increase the Risk of UTIs
The following ingredients should raise some red flags and prompt you to consider whether you want to incorporate a specific lubricant into your sex routine.
Choose a lubricant that does not contain fragrances, as they can affect the vaginal pH and even cause urinary tract irritation. Always use an unscented lubricant because your vagina doesn't need to smell like peaches; it's just fine as it is.
Nonoxynol-9 & Benzocaine
If you use a lubricant containing Nonoxynol-9, your risk of urinary tract infection may increase. This is a spermicide found in some condoms and lubricants that can alter the vaginal pH.
Also, it is best to avoid using lubricants with Benzocaine because it can act as a numbing agent. If pain occurs, you will not feel it, which can result in micro-tears.
Use lubricants with safe compounds, even if they are not always completely natural.
Why Water-Based Lubes Are Better
Regardless of whether oil-based lubricants are more likely to cause UTIs, water-based lubricants are a better choice for several reasons.
To begin, it is critical to emphasize the importance of lubricant in eliminating or minimizing discomfort during sex. Vaginal wall irritations may arise in its absence. This can happen whether you have penetrative sex with a partner or use sex toys–lube is important even when it comes to the use of clit sucking vibrators.
However, not all lubricants are the same, and water-based lubricants have some distinct advantages:
- Great for people with sensitive skin;
- Safe to use with latex condoms;
- Sex toy-safe;
- Easy to clean up;
- pH balanced;
- Do not allow bacteria to grow.
Of course, oil or silicone-based lubricants have advantages as well, which most of the time translate into a longer-lasting effect. But it can't hurt to reapply that 100% safe water-based personal lubricant again during sex, can it?
After any sex act, even when we talk about oral sex or sex toys (because any kind of sex can introduce bacteria), it is important to urinate to flush bacteria and keep your urinary tract healthy and your vaginal flora intact.
Sex can frequently result in urinary infections, especially if certain hygiene instructions are not followed.Lubricant is not a direct cause of this type of infection, and using the proper one can even lower the chances of developing UTIs.The rule is straightforward. You can help your urinary tract health by choosing water-based lubes and using them both during sex with a partner & when using one of Tracy's Dog's cheap sex toys!