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Something you might not know about sexual health...

Practicing good sexual hygiene is an important part of your sex life. This goes beyond just using protection (condoms) to prevent STIs. Regarding that St Hilda's is an “all-girls” school, the information below pertains to those who have female sexual organs.

Aunty Hilda has noticed that our education around sex, though outlining risks and prevention of STI’s and pregnancy, doesn’t successfully educate us about some other health risks that can be caused by sexual activity, namely UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections). They are not unusual or anything to be ashamed of, but it is important that you know how to prevent, identify, and treat a UTI. According to Health Navigator New Zealand, 1 in every 2 women will experience a UTI in their lifetime, the commonality of UTIs makes it even more necessary that we are aware of them. Especially as Aunty Hilda has a friend who upon getting their first UTI had no idea what was happening, and it caused a lot of stress. Symptoms occurred the evening after sex while the friend was at work. When she experienced pain while peeing and then noticed blood in her urine, she immediately started panicking and ran out, telling her co-workers that she could not continue working and left. Now that this friend knows what occurred was a UTI and not cancer or anything to be afraid of, she can look back and laugh, but does not wish for anyone else to experience the same fear she felt in that situation. 

Firstly, what is a UTI?
UTI is an abbreviation that stands for urinary tract infection. A UTI is caused by bacteria entering your urinary tract. A UTI is not an STI (sexually transmitted infection) as they are not contagious, but can occur after sex. They can be present in all genders, but they are more common in women. 

A urinary tract infection is an infection in any part of the urinary system. The urinary system includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract — the bladder and the urethra. - 

—Pngtree—confused women concept_7425183.png

UTIs are not solely attributed to sex, but sex is a common cause. To prevent UTIs after sex, ensure that you and your partner are practicing good hygiene, or that any other toys/equipment are clean. Try to make sure you pee at least 20 minutes before and after sex. At the very minimum, always pee afterwards and drink plenty of water.

Some other causes of UTIs could be:

  • Certain kinds of toilet paper and feminine hygiene products (tampons, pad etc), usually those that are scented.

  • Wiping back to front rather than front to back after using the bathroom.

  • Holding in your pee for too long.

  • Dehydration, so stay hydrated! 

  • Birth control, please consult your prescriber if you believe this could be the case.

Symptoms of a UTI include:

  • Blood in or cloudy urine.

  • Pain; usually described as a burning, razor blade or stinging sensation, while urinating.

  • Feeling a persistent need to pee, even if the bladder has emptied.

  • Pain in the lower abdomen/back. 

If you are experiencing symptoms of a UTI, your first port of call should be to contact a health professional as soon as possible. Although they sometimes can go away by themselves within a few days, in other cases, if left untreated, a UTI can progress up the urinary system and become more severe. Your GP or another doctor, for example at urgent doctors, will usually ask for and explain the procedures of giving a urinary sample (essentially it’s just peeing into a cylinder shaped container) to definitively determine whether you have a UTI. If it is confirmed you have a UTI, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics for treatment.  However, antibiotics are not the only treatment option, especially in the case in which UTIs are recurrent which could lead to antibiotic resistance, meaning antibiotics will no longer work for you and the infections could become more severe over time. Please discuss the following with your doctor first before use to see if they think these could be viable options for you. 

For dealing with the pain of a UTI while one is active, here are a few recommendations:


Ural is a dissolvable drink sachet in lemon and cranberry flavours, the instructions for use will be on the packet, but discuss the use and directions for use with your doctor first, as with all the following. You can purchase Ural over the counter at any pharmacy or have it prescribed. Ural works by alkalizing the urine to provide effective pain relief. However, Ural is only effective as a pain relief, not to treat a UTI. 


Cranberry go tablets also work effectively as pain relief, but there are some myths to be dispelled about cranberry products. Though it's true cranberry is good for your urinary tract, buying cranberry juices to help prevent and treat UTIs is not a viable option as the juices and other cranberry flavoured foods/drinks usually have a lot of sugar in them which could make the infection worse rather than better. These cranberry tablets, however, should do the trick for pain relief. 

A good non-antibiotic over the counter treatment option to discuss with your doctor(s) are D’mannose supplements. Mannose is a chemical compound that works well to maintain health in your urinary tract to prevent UTIs and for treatment if a UTI occurs. Instructions for these specific example products that you can find at any pharmacy will be provided on the packaging. 

Clinicians Bladder Support


 Dissolvable powder 





Please remember, Aunty Hilda is not a doctor, these suggestions are provided for you to discuss with a medical professional. Even if these products prove to be effective in treating recurrent UTIs, keep in touch with your doctor when one occurs to determine the severity of the infection and the best course of action for you. 

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