How To Avoid Getting a UTI From Your Favorite Sex Toy
Do's And Don'ts
Written by: Angela Watson | Updated: September 13th, 2021
Often the articles I share on this blog focus on the joy of playing with sex toys: what rumbly vibrations and patterns are best for self pleasure, how to angle your toy just right to hit those sensitive spots that feel oh so good, innovative toys that will transcend your level of intimacy with your partner. The kind of topics that will empower and transform your experience meeting the needs your own unique dynamic.
Today we're covering how to keep your play fun and most importantly, safe.
With sex toys, we tend to think a lot about what we do while we are playing with the toy, understandably so, because is the purpose of these toys not to maximize our pleasure, to self indulge, and to totally relax?
But, what if I told you that more important than the pleasure you get from sex toys is actually how you are taking care of them, before and after the main event?
If you are skipping over important precautions to keep these toys clean and in good condition, you may be accidentally creating a whole other consequence of playing with sex toys that is very unpleasurable: a UTI from sex toys.
Today we are going into an in depth review about the link between urinary tract infections and sex toys. Knowledge of your body, your toys and how to properly maintain them will create a space for you to continue exploring.
A few simple changes in how you care for your sex toys can mean a world of difference in the department of sexual health. Mostly importantly, doing your best to stay safe and healthy! Let's get started.
What is a UTI?
Before we talk about how sex toys can cause this annoying and sometimes painful condition (and how you can avoid a UTI from sex toys), we need to first establish what exactly a UTI, or urinary tract infection, is.
You can contract a UTI when any part of your urinary tract is infected. This can include your kidneys, bladder, ureters, or urethra.
Now, as worrying as that might sound, UTIs are relatively common and easy to treat. In fact, one in two women will experience a UTI in their lifetime, and some women experience long lasting or repeated infections.
Men can get UTIs too, but their rate of infection is not as high as what women experience. Experts suggest that one in ten men will experience a urinary tract infection.
The main difference between the rates in which men and women experience UTIs basically comes down to anatomy: a man has a longer urethra than woman does, so it is easier for bacteria to travel up to a woman’s bladder and create an infection that it is in the male anatomy.
UTIs begin as uncomfortable symptoms, but can lead to further complications including kidney damage and higher risk pregnancies if they are diagnosed by a doctor and not treated properly. This is why urinary tract infection prevention and awareness is so important.
What Does a UTI Feel Like?
The most well known indicator of a urinary tract infection is feeling an uncomfortable burning sensation while you pee. Other symptoms of a UTI include:
Be mindful, reading a list of symptoms on the internet is not a reliable way to self-diagnose yourself as having a urinary tract infection. The indicators of a UTI can also suggest other underlying health issues, so best practice is to always consult with a medical professional if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms. They will be able to diagnose your problem and help guide you towards the right treatments.
What Causes a Urinary Tract Infection?
The cause behind a urinary tract infection is simple enough: bacteria enters the body through the urethra, and multiplies within the urinary tract to create an infection that you experience through uncomfortable symptoms.
The more complicated part of urinary tract infection prevention is discovering what exactly is allowing bacteria to enter your urinary tract in the first place. There are numerous ways that this can happen, and not knowing the root cause of your UTIs can make you more susceptible to unknowing causing repeated infections.
Let's explore some of the most common causes of UTIs:
Yes, sex is a common cause of urinary tract preventions. Essentially, bacteria that can cause a UTI is found around the anus.
Sex (among other things) can move this bacteria from your backside to your frontside, creating an easy route for infection.
But, this is in no way a reason to limit the amount of sex you are having! There are easy ways to reduce your risk of getting a UTI from sex, including peeing immediately after sex, staying hydrated, and keeping those areas clean before and after sex.
Cleaning Yourself in the Wrong Direction
Just like sex can move harmful bacteria up into your urinary tract, so can toilet paper. After you go to the bathroom, make sure you are always cleaning yourself from front to back, rather than back to front, to keep any UTI-forming bacteria away from your urethra.
Normal changes to estrogen levels in the body during menopause can make a woman more susceptible to urinary tract infections.
Some Birth Controls
Research demonstrates a higher risk for urinary tract infections in women who use spermicides and diaphragms as birth control.
But, don’t let this fact dissuade you from using these methods of birth control. Depending on the individual, the protection that birth control provides far outweighs the risk of a UTI, which is also easily treatable in most cases. If you are unsure if you are using the right method of birth control for your body, ask your doctor to suggest alternative methods.
Sex Toys - the lesser known culprit of UTIs
If sex and toilet paper can allow pesky bacteria to travel into your urinary tract, you better bet that your favourite sex toy can do this too.
Unfortunately, not a lot of women are aware of the link between UTIs and sex toys and how to avoid UTI from sex toys.
This can make them more likely to get repeated infections that become more and more difficult to treat.
Is Your Sex Toy Putting You at Risk of a UTI?
Here is an easy checklist to help you determine if your favorite sex toy or next self pleasuring session could be putting you in a more likely position to develop a UTI. Ask yourself the following questions:
If you answered “no” to any of the above questions, you might not be following all the precautions you can be following to ensure that your sex toy is not the cause of your next UTI.
Now, before you worry that your time getting intimate is going to be the cause of something far less pleasurable and discard all your toys, let me shed some much needed light on the topic.
Just because you forget to wash your sex toy from time to time does not mean that you are automatically going to get a urinary tract infection, but it will put you at higher risk of one. Thankfully, preventing a UTI from sex toys is so easy if you know how to avoid UTI from sex toys.
How Can You Avoid UTI from Sex Toys
There is no need to break up with your favorite dildo or vibrator; by just making a few changes to the way that you play with your favorite toy can make a world of difference in lowering your risk of developing a UTI from a sex toy. Let me share with you some of the most effective and easy ways to avoid UTI from sex toys.
Get in the Habit of Washing Your Toys
Washing your sex toys before and after you use them is by far the most simple routine you can incorporate to avoid UTI from sex toys. This is because, before or after using them, your sex toy might be harboring harmful bacteria that wants to take an easy one way ticket to your urinary tract.
But, while I don’t endorse it, I can also get the inclination not to clean a sex toy. We pull out our sex toys when we want something else to do the work for us.
When the mood strikes you and you are indulging in a moment of self love, the last thing you want to do is leave the comfort of your bed to scrub down the toy... twice (once before you use it and once after). This is especially true after a very satisfying orgasm that makes you want to drift off into a heavenly nap session.
Pro-tip: keep a body of hygienic, fragrance free baby wipes next to your bed. You can even buy wet wipes that are specifically made to clean sex toys. Now, this method is not exactly like giving your toy a good wash with warm soapy water, but it is so much better than not cleaning the toy at all.
Read the Sex Toy’s Instructions
Another way to avoid UTI from sex toys is to read the instruction manual that the toy comes with carefully.
Now, I know that when you first purchase a new toy to pleasure yourself with, reading the instructions is probably the last thing on your mind.
I am so guilty of this, pulling open that long awaited package in the mail, plugging it in for a quick charge and then immediately exploring the excitement that awaits. I will maybe glance at the instructions to learn how to turn the thing on and off, and then I am on my way to deep satisfaction.
But, what I have realized in my years of reviewing and experimenting with different sex toys is that every toy has a different recommended cleaning method. For example, you’ll need to be more careful cleaning a battery powered toy than a rechargeable, waterproof one.
If you are trying to get in the habit of washing your vibrator or dildo more diligently to avoid UTI from sex toys, the last thing you want to do is ruin the toy in the process by cleaning it incorrectly. Lesson learned: read the cleaning instructions to keep your toys hygienic, leading to a healthy and happy urinary track free of any pesky UTIs.
Get to Know Your Sex Toy’s Material
Here is a little secret from the world of sex toy manufacturing: not all toy materials stave off bacteria in the same way.
Some are more porous, meaning that they have little spaces or holes along that surface that, while invisible to our naked eye, are perfect little homes for harmful bacteria to camp out in.
What does this mean for you? In looking to avoid UTIs from sex toys, steer clear of toys that are made from porous materials like PVC, vinyl, jelly, or rubber. While these materials make for soft and cheap toys, they will definitely be more difficult to keep clean from UTI-causing bacteria.
Instead, look for sex toys that are made from non-porous body safe materials like silicone or stainless steel. Bonus points if they can be put through the dishwasher!
Don’t Mix and Match Your Toys
This tip is straightforward, ladies. If the toy is made for anal, use it only for anal. If it is for vaginal use, keep it there. Urinary tract infection prevention starts with making sure you are not spreading bacteria by using the same toy in different pleasure zones.
The same goes for sharing toys with your partner. During sex, it can be so tempting to tease your partner by flipping the script and letting them try out the sex toy you were just getting pleasure from. Please remember, this can be a really easy way for bacteria to spread.
Now, that is not to say that this can never happen, but to avoid UTI from sex toys you will want to make sure you perform an effective clean of the toy before you try exploring it in different ways.
You can also consider making a barrier around the toy with either a condom or dental dam, and then switching out that barrier for a new one when you use the sex toy for a different pleasure purpose, if cleaning with soap and water is not an option.
And, just be careful about the kinds of toys you use for anal pleasure. Caution around multi-use toys is a necessity: any toy that enters your anus must have a flared base to avoid losing them up your rectum, which is arguably way more frightening than your average UTI.
UTI from Sex Toys: The Bottom Line
Not only do women deserve more orgasm using all sorts of fun, kinky toys, but we also deserve them to be safe and bacteria free!
It is important for all women to know that it totally possible to get a UTI from sex toys, and this can turn into repeated infections if you don’t take the proper precautions for urinary tract infection prevention.
Thankfully, with a few minor changes to the way you shop for and use your favorite pleasure providers, it is so easy to avoid a UTI from sex toys so that your pleasure can be pain-free and plentiful!
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