Can You Be Intimate With Your Partner When You Have A UTI?

Urinary tract infections, abbreviated as UTIs, are common infections that form when bacteria build up in the urinary tract. These infections are estimated to occur in roughly 50 to 60% of women throughout their lifetimes. If you have had a UTI, you probably remember the tell-tale signs — the infection usually results in a distinct burning sensation and the constant feeling of needing to urinate. In other words, they are not particularly pleasant. UTIs are typically treated with antibiotics or, occasionally, with UTI home remedies, and they usually clear up within a few days after treatment. When left untreated, however, UTIs can lead to more severe health concerns, such as kidney infection or cystitis.


UTIs can severely impact multiple aspects of your life — including your sex life. If you have a UTI, you may wonder whether being intimate with your partner is appropriate. However, having sex with a UTI can sometimes be uncomfortable and even painful. Plus, some women worry that having sex could make the UTI even worse or, could transmit the UTI to their partner. Let's look at some potential risks of being intimate with UTI.

Why having sex with a UTI could be painful and even dangerous

If you have a UTI, you may be curious about whether it is safe to be intimate with your partner — especially if you are already on antibiotics and your symptoms are beginning to clear up. While it may be tempting to resume your usual sexual activities, most medical professionals recommend avoiding sex while you have a UTI. For one thing, sex will probably be quite uncomfortable. "If you have an active bladder infection, you're not very comfortable most of the time in that area, so avoiding intercourse is probably the best bet until things quiet down and you're feeling better," said gynecologist and urologist Patricia A. Wallace, MD to Health.


UTIs are often intricately linked to sex. In fact, according to a 2019 medical review, sex is one of the main reasons people contract UTIs in the first place, especially in younger women. So, there is a tiny possibility that you could contract another UTI by having sex — which could lead to worse symptoms than ever.

How soon can you have sex after having a UTI?

It is not recommended that you have sex with a UTI, even though there is no rule against it once you have started taking antibiotics. "If you have an infection and it's being treated, you don't need to abstain [from intercourse] unless you want to," associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine Lauren Streicher, M.D. explained to Self. However, she suggests waiting until your symptoms have disappeared to avoid discomfort.


In many cases, you will not feel completely better until your course of antibiotics has finished anyway."Most women will wait until they're done with antibiotics because it sometimes takes three or four days to feel better," noted Patricia A. Wallace, MD to Health.

If you are concerned about when to have sex after having a UTI, we recommend speaking to your doctor about your unique circumstances to ensure you have safe, comfortable sex that doesn't risk making your UTI worse. Your doctor will also help you learn strategies and methods to avoid future UTIs during sex.