PRINCETON, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With more time at home, couples may find a return to intimacy which has an abundance of positive connotations like relieving stress, increasing communication, and even boosting the immune system. However, more sex can also lead to honeymoon cystitis, bacterial vaginosis (BV), urinary tract infections (UTIs), odor, itch, yeast infections, and pain.
“More time at home means more sex, which can lead to, as some say, ‘honeymoonitis,’” explains Maria Sophocles, MD, FACOG, NCMP, OB/GYN and Medical Director of Women’s Healthcare of Princeton. “Honeymoon cystitis, or ‘honeymoonitis’ is a very real medical condition that occurs from an abundance of sex that can lead to UTIs caused by bacteria that spreads into the urinary tract. During this time of quarantine or sheltering at home, an in-person gynecological office visit needs to be replaced by a telemedicine call. So, it’s best to be prepared with OTC remedies that can be readily found at the drugstore.”
As many as 60% of women develop UTIs in their lifetimes with many developing recurrent UTIs; 40% of women who get a UTI will experience a recurrence within six months. UTIs are more than just an inconvenience. If untreated, a UTI can enter the bloodstream and cause a serious blood infection known as septicemia. Although antibiotics can successfully treat UTIs, it’s best to prevent these infections in the first place.
The following tips may help:
- Drink plenty of water (six to eight glasses daily) to increase urine output, which helps prevent bacterial buildup in the bladder and urinary tract.
- Pee immediately after sex to help flush bacteria out. Sex can introduce bacteria into the urinary tract, especially with a new partner. Sperm, for example, is alkaline with a pH of 7.5-8, increasing the normal vaginal pH (3.5-4.5) and causing an alarming odor or itch.
- If you experience chronic UTIs, use RepHresh Vaginal Gel every 3-days to keep pH balanced to normal or just before or after sex, as the higher pH of semen can cause an unpleasant odor or itch which can indicate the onset of a UTI.
- Prevent the colonization of vaginal E.coli from finding its way into the urinary tract to avoid infection. Remember to wipe from front to back to prevent rectal bacteria from entering the urinary tract. Yeast and bacteria are naturally present in the delicate vaginal environment and need to remain in balance to avoid infection. Pro-B is a daily probiotic supplement with lactobacillus that balances yeast and bacteria to help maintain vaginal flora in a normal, healthy range.
- Take showers rather than baths. The moisture from baths can help bacteria multiply.
- Wear cotton panties to allow better airflow than synthetic fabrics. Avoid lounging in tight exercise pants as bacteria thrives in warm, moist environments which can lead to a yeast infection.
- Your medical provider may prescribe preventive antibiotics for recurrent UTIs to prevent further infection either daily, after sex, or at the first sign of a new infection. Because antibiotics kill both the good and bad bacteria (Lactobacillus, yeast, etc.), a yeast infection oftentimes follows a round of antibiotics so remember to take Pro-B to keep the good and bad bacteria in balance.
- It’s normal for women to experience painful sex, especially those who are breastfeeding, in cancer treatment or menopause. Estrogen-free, Replens Moisturizer eliminates vaginal dryness and painful sex, however, a moisturizer is not the same as a lubricant. A moisturizer should be used twice a week to restore internal moisture at the root cause of dryness. A good silicone lube should still be used just before sex to eliminate abrasion and ease penetration.
- Symptoms of a yeast infection include itching and burning, with an odorless vaginal discharge that is sometimes thick. Symptoms of BV are often similar, although the discharge produced typically has a fishy odor, especially after sex. Many women mistake BV for yeast infections because they are less familiar with it.
- Many women who assume they have yeast infections self-treat with over the counter medications could be doing more harm than good. Less than one-third who think they have a yeast infection do. Two thirds instead suffer from BV, often caused by an unbalanced vaginal pH making a pH balancer like RepHresh useful. Untreated BV can cause premature birth and puts women at a significantly higher risk for UTIs, pelvic inflammatory disease, and STDs. Antibiotics are used for treatment but can lead to a yeast infection and the uncomfortable cycle of infections begin.
“As women navigate this new normal, remember that taking care of your health and avoiding trips to the doctor should be a top priority,” adds Sophocles. “Being prepared with the right OTC solutions can keep you from having to make an emergency trip outdoors or head to the ER. Stay safe, healthy, and remember that you can control and maintain vaginal health.”