I prioritize my urinary health over cuddling too long after sex — but sometimes, when I head to the bathroom and sit down to pee, nothing comes out. If your urinary tract gets cold feet, don’t worry: it’s just your post-climax hormones at play.
After sex, the body releases vasopressin and oxytocin. Both of these hormones play an important role in pair-bonding. But vasopressin is an antidiuretic, which can make it hard to urinate after sex, says Dr. Christina E. Lewicky Gaupp, a urogynecology and pelvic reconstructive surgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Too much of this hormone can cause the kidneys to retain water, so a sudden release post-orgasm can limit the amount of water passed in urine.
While peeing after sex isn’t a bad idea, don’t panic if you can’t immediately flush your urethra. There’s no solid evidence that urinating right before or after sex makes a difference in whether you get a UTI, says both Dr. Lewicky Gaupp and Dr. Reinert. It’s good to empty the bladder at some point after sex, but if you don’t have an urge to immediately after, just getting a few drops out isn’t likely to help. “There are really no post-intercourse behaviors that have been proven to decrease the risk of UTI,” says Dr. Lewicky Gaupp.
If you’re worried about your bladder, here are some tips to stay healthy.
Consider cranberry pills and vitamin C
While Dr. Lewicky Gaupp doesn’t recommend spending all your money on UTI-prevention supplements such as cranberry tablets, they certainly aren’t harmful. Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins, which are thought to prevent the adherence of bacteria to the wall of the bladder, urethra, or kidneys.
While the jury is still out on just how effective these fruit pills are, l took a cranberry supplement that seemed to help prevent my near-monthly infections. It may have been the placebo effect, but my pills also came with some extra vitamin C, which can acidify urine and make it more difficult for bacteria to proliferate, says Dr. Lewicky Gaupp.
As always, consult with your doctor before trying any new vitamins or supplements.
Go when you need to go
Having penetrative sex can put pressure on the bladder or irritate the pelvic floor, making you leak urine or feel a sudden need to hit the bathroom. Peeing before sex can help reduce this urge, but if it happens regularly before or after sex, you might want to get your pelvic floor in shape.
But in general, it’s not good to hold it, so pee when you have to, and stay hydrated by drinking when you feel the need. “There’s no need to be drinking a ton of water, just drink when you’re thirsty,” says Dr. Lewicky Gaupp.
Everyone is different
Genetics, the length of the urethra, and an individual’s microbiota make some people more prone to getting a UTI. If you’re constantly getting infections — confirmed with a positive urine culture by a doctor — you might benefit from taking a low-dose antibiotic after sex, says Dr. Reinert.
In conclusion, there’s no need to interrupt your post-coital bonding and immediately take a bathroom break. So enjoy your sexy snuggles, and just make sure to drink water and pee before you fall asleep for the night.