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Did I cause my partner’s bladder infection?

January 1, 2023

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Q. My female sexual partner has a bladder infection. Do I need a urine test to see if I gave it to her?

A. A woman’s sexual partner doesn’t need to be evaluated when she has a typical bladder infection, the most common type of urinary tract infection (UTI). The bacteria that cause UTIs aren’t passed between partners. Women develop UTIs because they have short urethras (the tube that carries urine out of the bladder). Bacteria live on the skin, including the area around the end of the urethra. In women, these bacteria only need to travel a short distance from the urethral opening to get inside the bladder and cause an infection. While you did not transmit the bacteria, you may have played a role. Some women develop UTIs after intercourse. This is particularly true with vigorous or frequent sex. In these situations, it may help to change sexual positions and encourage her to urinate right after intercourse.

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About the Author

photo of Howard E. LeWine, MD

Howard E. LeWine, MD, Chief Medical Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Howard LeWine, M.D., is a practicing internist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Chief Medical Editor at Harvard Health Publishing, and editor in chief of Harvard Men’s Health Watch. See Full Bio
View all posts by Howard E. LeWine, MD

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