Aunt Vadge: Constant UTIs and thrush

Hi Aunt Vadge, 

I’ve been with my boyfriend almost 3 years now and recently I’ve discovered I may be addicted to sex. I masturbate through dry humping a lot and I constantly seem to be horny when I’m alone or with my boyfriend. I am quite prone to getting urinary tract infections after I have sex, so I went to the doctors seeking antibiotics. I was given antibiotics which then gave me thrush, which I wasn’t aware of at the time, so I was still having sex and it was hurting a lot so we had to stop.

Around this time (this started in July and still isn’t fixed) I was due to get a IUD coil fitted, so I was visiting the sexual health clinic where I told them how it stung when I had sex so they ran some tests and postponed my coil fitting by two weeks. I was told I would receive a text with my results and they came back clear, the doctor just said it appeared to be swollen, and gave me some cream to put on which was supposed to get rid of thrush.

So now every time I have sex I have to take an antibiotic and apply the cream to avoid another UTI. Now, when I have sex it does still sting a little during but I’ve been trying to ignore it because I crave sex so much and my partner has a lower sex drive than me. So I’ve been masturbating and I’ve been experiencing a stinging sensation after I orgasm, I’d just like some information on this before I go to a doctor or the sexual health clinic.

Yours,
Stinging

Dear Stinging,

It really sounds like you have a bacterial imbalance going on inside your vagina, and the antibiotics and antibiotic cream will be making this problem infinitely worse. Frequent UTIs means there is something in your vaginal area and urethra causing the problem. It may even be a bacteria they don’t necessarily test for routinely (mycoplasma, ureaplasma). These bacteria can cause frequent and recurrent UTIs.

UTIs

Most UTIs are caused by bacteria from your anus/rectum entering the urethra, and this is easier to spread when you are having frequent sex and also any sex involving the butt. It can also happen more easily if you have a short perineum, which some women do. This just means that as the penis pushes into you (or a dildo or whatever), it actually pulls the anus towards the vagina, and with it any fecal matter – microscopic as it may be – that may be around. It doesn’t mean you are dirty or anything – butts are filthy animals and bits of mucous and fecal matter are constantly escaping us, no matter how good the seal. If you have a lot of bad bacteria in your gut, it then makes your vagina and urethra prone to worse/more frequent infections.

Having to use cream to avoid getting a UTI after sex every time is bad news – it means you are destroying any good bacteria in the hope of getting rid of the infection. You need to do something differently.

What to do differently

First of all, get a copy of all your recent sexual health test results, and see what you have been tested for. Check for Mycoplasma genitalium. You would really benefit from some really full-on probiotic activity – you need to give your body something to work with.

This is going to mean you need to stop having penetrative sex at least for a week or so since they are the trigger for the UTIs, and cause you to take more antibiotics. You need to take very good care until your body has sorted itself out. You could use a condom as well if it helps prevent infections. It’s not clear what is causing the problem, so however you figure it out, just try to keep the area really clean.

  1. Urinate directly after sex.
  2. Rinse under the shower after sex.
  3. Make sure your anus is really clean before sex.
  4. Clean hands too, if they are involved – no double dipping (vagina-anus-vagina). This includes his anus.
  5. Take every single probiotic fermented food and drink you can get your hands on. Check the ferments section for ideas, but if I were you, I’d be making and drinking milk and water kefir (buy grains online and make it at home), homemade sauerkraut, tempeh, kombucha, and taking a high-dose (refrigerated) probiotic tablet that contains Saccharomyces boulardii, a known yeast inhibitor. All of these every single day. There are many more ferments, including kimchi. Get into it in a really big way. Just go berserk. Keep in mind that you have to have the bacteria be alive, so no pasteurised ferments – they are dead and useless to you.
  6. Eat really well – your intestines are no doubt problematic too, since these problems don’t tend to be isolated to one area. The main place bacteria populate in our bodies is our gut, so if you have germy, out-of-balance intestinal flora, the bacteria can be easily spread, and may account for your frequent UTIs. Eating well means clean eating – get rid of bread, fatty foods, sugary foods, pasta, any white products, fizzy drinks, etc. Good, clean food. You know how to do it! You need to provide a good environment for the good bacteria to thrive and the flow-on effect to occur into your vagina and urethra. The urethra has the same sorts of bacteria colonising it (and keeping it healthy by fighting off pathogenic invaders) as your vagina – they are one and the same (lactobacilli).

Sex addiction

Having a high libido is not the same as being addicted to sex. Sex addiction is characterised by the compulsion to have sex with negative consequences. If your sexual activity (besides infections – they don’t count as negative consequences, even if they are in fact a negative consequence!) is interfering with your ability to have a successful relationship or is in some way causing you problems in your life, then you may need to seek help for it.

It’s important to know the difference, however, because the management of the ‘thing’ is different.

High libido

If you have a high libido – higher than your partner’s, that is – this is not a cause to diagnose yourself with sex addiction or in fact to worry. You can do things to lower your libido if you wanted to. In fact there are some herbs that directly lower your sexual drives. It would pay to see a trained herbalist or naturopath to be treated with those, however, because it’s important to make sure that is the only thing going on. There could possibly be an underlying hormonal imbalance going on, and you need to be looked over carefully to make sure everything is in order. Don’t try to self prescribe herbs for this.

You can help your problem with a concerted probiotic effort.

Write to us anytime and tell us how you go!

Warmest regards,
Aunt Vadge