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18 Things A Doctor Wants You To Know About UTIs

It's more important to pee after sex than it is to pee before.

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Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common infection that can affect the bladder, kidneys, and ureters (the tubes that connect the bladder and the kidneys).

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Common symptoms include a stinging sensation when you pee, needing to pee more frequently, cloudy urine, and nausea. If you're reading this, you probably know that familiar sting all too well.

There are a whole lot of myths floating around the internet telling you how to avoid and treat these infections, so let's set them straight.

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We spoke to Linda Cardozo, professor of urogynaecology at King's College Hospital and spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, to clear up any confusion. Here's what she told us.

1. Anyone can get a UTI.

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However, those with vaginas are much more susceptible simply because the urinary tract is much shorter and closer to the metropolis of bacteria known as the anus.

2. The first thing you should do when you feel the symptoms is drink lots of water.

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This will minimise the pain when peeing. "If symptoms do not resolve quickly then women are advised to see a doctor so that appropriate investigations and treatment can be instigated," says Cardozo, as the infection can spread to your kidneys.

3. But stick to water, because many other drinks can actually aggravate the symptoms.

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Caffeine, white wine, champagne, prosecco, and artificial sweeteners that are in sugar-free soft drinks are all things to avoid if you have a UTI as they are bladder irritants and will make your symptoms worse.

4. Chugging cranberry juice will not cure you, though cranberry pills may be effective.

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"There is some evidence that cranberry pills and cranberry extract may be helpful but there is no evidence that drinking cranberry juice reduces the risk of urinary tract infections," says Cardozo. The cranberry juice you buy in stores is extremely diluted and potentially fully of sweeteners that can actually make your symptoms worse.

5. There's nothing to suggest that your diet affects your likelihood of being infected.

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But there are some medial conditions that make UTIs more likely. They include diabetes, an impaired immune system, and having kidney stones.

6. If you're prone to UTIs, avoid G-string, thongs, and tight trousers.

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Wear nice, breathable, cotton underwear instead. Tight and synthetic clothing can create the perfect conditions for a bacteria party.

8. If you're a woman and get an infection after penetrative sex, it's unlikely that it was passed on to your from your partner.

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In reality, it's usually caused by bacteria from your bowels being massaged up towards the vagina during sex.

9. This is why it's so important to pee after sex.

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Peeing before sex won't do much, but peeing after should get rid of any bacteria and organisms that could have made their way from the anus during sex. Sorry for saying "anus" so much throughout this post.

10. BUT this doesn't mean it's impossible that your partner is increasing your chance of getting a UTI inadvertently.

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To test if this is the case, Dr Cordozo recommends having sex with a condom to see if you still keep getting UTIs. If you're already having sex with a condom, then it's unlikely your partner is infecting you, though they can also make sure their hands are clean and their nails are short to be extra sure they're not exposing you to UTI-causing bacteria.

11. Condoms that use a spermicide called nonoxynol-9 can increase the likelihood of infection.

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There are plenty of condoms that don't use spermicide, though, so this isn't an excuse not to use a condom!!

12. The diaphragm could also increase the likelihood of infection.

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Almost all diaphragms are used with a spermicide containing nonoxynol-9, as do some cervical caps and contraceptive sponges. If you're prone to UTIs, you should mention this to your doctor when considering contraceptive options.

13. It's also possible that dirty sex toys might increase the chances of getting infected.

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Basically, keep everything clean and hygienic, just in case.

15. Rough sex isn't more likely to cause a UTI.

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However, Cordozo says sex that results in cuts and abrasions may increase the risk of infection. Make sure you use plenty of lube (and plenty of foreplay) to avoid unnecessary and painful friction during sex.

16. Waterfall d-mannose won't cure an existing infection.

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According to Dr Cordozo: "There is some evidence that waterfall d-mannose may help women who have recurrent urinary tract infections, however, here is no evidence that this remedy can treat an established urinary tract infection."

17. In fact, there are no herbal remedies that can actually cure a UTI.

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Potassium citrate won't do the trick, either.

You can buy powder sachets from a pharmacist that chance the pH of your urine, or take painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen, to help manage symptoms. But if the symptoms persist, see a doctor!!

Natalya Lobanova is junior staff writer at BuzzFeed and is based in London.

Contact Natalya Lobanova at natalya.lobanova@buzzfeed.com.

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