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Diseases & Conditions
Did my partner get her bladder infection from me?
Q. If a woman develops a bladder infection after sex, does that mean her male partner passed bacteria from his bladder to hers?
A. No, bacteria that cause bladder infections are not passed from one sexual partner to another. To begin with, here’s a little background on female bladder infections.
Most of them come from the bacteria that reside in the woman’s own large intestine. Bacteria naturally migrate out of the bowel and harmlessly attach to the skin in the surrounding area. The bacteria can make their way into the opening of the urethra (just above the vagina) and then travel into the bladder.
A woman’s urethra is much shorter than a man’s. This means that bacteria need to travel only a short distance to get inside the bladder. That is why women are much more likely than men to develop urinary tract infections.
Men often ask your question because they worry that they passed bacteria to their female partner during sexual intercourse. But they haven’t. The likely reason for the woman’s bladder infection is rubbing during sex that can irritate the opening of her urethra and make it even easier for bacteria to enter.
You can help your partner avoid bladder infections by changing sexual positions to minimize irritation. It can also help for the woman to urinate immediately after intercourse.
— by Howard LeWine, M.D.
Editor in Chief, Harvard Men’s Health Watch
Image: Antonio_Diaz/Getty Images
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No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
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