It’s like the sting in the tail of a new relationship – you get a great new guy and you can’t keep your hands of each other. But then you get hit with a raging Urinary Tract Infection, or UTI.

This is when bacteria that should be outside your body get pushed up inside the urethra, the exit tube from your bladder.

Sometimes known as cystitis, a UTI is not fun. It itches and burns, you feel like you have to pee all the time – and when you do, it stings like crazy!

Antibiotics are prescribed to kill bacterial infections like this. And they work. But today doctors warn that more bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics. So preventing a UTI in the first place is a smarter move – and surprisingly easy. Try these.

  1. Choose Cotton Underwear
    Unlike synthetic fabrics, cotton fabric lets your skin breath, which means less moisture down below. And less moisture reduces bacteria growth.
  2. Wipe Front To Back
    You don’t want germs from your rear getting anywhere else. Wearing thong underwear every day can also increase your risk of cystitis – the way it nestles into your butt crack provides a “ladder” for bacteria to climb up. (That noise you hear is a million rappers crying.)
  3. Wash Your Hands – And Sex Toys
    If you used a sex toy, or his your fingers or his penis back there… wash it well in soapy water before it goes anywhere else inside you. And avoid silicone-based lube as it can “eat away” at plastic or silicone toys and cause microscopic holes where bacteria can lurk . Water-based lubricants is a better bet, and they’re sold without a prescription, at pharmacies.
  4. Don’t Wait to Go
    It’s better to go to the toilet every four hours or so, because a full bladder is an ideal place for bacteria to grow.  Your pee should be a pale gold colour, if it’s darker, you’re not going enough.

    More from CLEO:
    6 Stretches That Will Give You The Best Sex Ever
    Is This The Weirdest Sex Toy Ever?
    What Men Think About After Sex

  5. Mix Up Your Sex Positions
    Pressure and bruising can also sometimes cause cystitis. So if you always use positions where he’s on top, his movements and weight can put pressure on your bladder and urethra. This can sometimes cause cystitis – especially if you haven’t been sexual active for a while. So if you notice a certain position is a problem for you, switch it up. And don’t use the missionary position all the time. Try it doggie style now and then, or go girl on top. Tell him the variety is good for your health.
  6. Go to the Bathroom Afterwards – And Before
    Call it a design quirk, but your urethra is really close to your vagina – so the friction of sex can push bacteria up inside. Keep it flushed out by going to the bathroom after sex – and ideally before.  And if you use lube, gently wipe it off, front to back.

If a UTI already has you by the short and curlies, do this to reduce the sting while you heal:

  • Avoid foods that make your pee more acid, like chilli, tomatoes, wine, fruit juices, Cola and citrus. Also avoid coffee as it can irritate the lining of your bladder. Instead, drink water to dilute your pee.  Like, a lot of water.
  • You can also buy cystitis alkaline powders from the pharmacy, without a prescription. Mixed with water, they stop your pee stinging. FYI: Smart girls keep sachets in their travel kits for when they go on holiday. Take it from someone who’s been there: It’s no fun miming “I have Cystitis” to a foreign pharmacist who doesn’t speak English.
  • If the infection hasn’t stopped after a few days, go to the doctor. Because an untreated infection can make its way up inside you and possibly infect your kidneys.
  • If you are prescribed pills, finish the whole course, or you’re just making any bugs inside you even more resistant to antibiotics.

Image: akz /
Text: Tara Barker