So here’s why you really get UTIs after sex

There is a really annoying reason why you keep getting urinary tract infections after sex, and we are so sorry to have to be the ones to break it to you. According to new research from Washington University (ugh, science, WHY!), you keep getting UTIs thanks to this bacteria.

Meet G. vaginalis.

Bodies are nasty and amazing places. Unfortunately, this issues falls more under the nasty category than the amazing one. (Again, sorry.) Because here’s the deal: 80% of UTIs are caused by E. coli. If you regularly get UTIs, you probably already know what that means: There’s a good chance that, while you were consensually bumpin’ and grindin’ with your partner, fecal particles reached your urethra, which connects your bladder to the outside of your body.

But sadly, that is not all of it.

The E. coli is invited in by its evil counterpart “Gardnerella vaginalis” (which sounds like a beautiful flower or a dish at the Olive Garden). This bacteria can cause bacterial vaginosis, and is the actual bacteria getting pushed up against your urethra. First, it damages cells on the surface of the bladder. Then it causes the E. coli from any previous infections to basically wake up and go rage face on your whole urinary tract.

Think of it this way: You are having a party (sex) but some guests show up uninvited (Gardnerella vaginalis). You don’t really want them there but they are being low key so, ugh, whatever. But THEN these weirdos hit up their bad friends (E. coli)—who were waiting in the bushes—with a “come thru” text. Together, they ruin your party/trash your home/make it burn when you pee.

Here’s the good news.

You know how UTIs are becoming antibiotic resistant? Well, the drugs used to treat G. vaginalis are different than the ones used to treat UTIs. By treating the G. vaginalis instead, science may be able to clear up the bacteria that opens the door to old and new E. coli. That means those difficult UTIs can still be treated after all.

Hopefully, this news saves you at least ten trips to the bathroom and a whole lot of cranberry juice.

In the meantime, we’ve got a couple other ideas for how to prevent a UTI. Best of luck out there.

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