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Can A UTI Be Transmitted From Woman To Man?

cartoon man and woman running to bathroom

Urinary tract infections are very common, more so in women than men. Up to 6 out of 10 adult women will have at least one urinary tract infection (UTI) in their lifetime. While a UTI does not have to prevent you from having sexual intercourse, there are certain precautions you need to take. 

Please keep reading to learn whether UTIs are sexually transmitted infections. Also, find out whether a UTI can spread from woman to man during sexual activity.

What are urinary tract infections?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the urinary system, i.e., the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or urethra. Most UTIs involve the lower part of the urinary tract. Meaning they are a urethra or bladder infection (cystitis). However, if left untreated, they can cause more serious infections. A kidney infection, for example, can lead to severe complications. Symptoms of a UTI include urinary urgency, urinary frequency, pain with urination, cloudy or red-tinged urine, and pelvic pain.

Is a urinary tract infection a sexually transmitted infection?

A urinary tract infection is not a sexually transmitted infection. It is not considered a contagious condition. However, vaginal sex, anal sex, and oral sex can all pass bacteria between sexual partners. That’s why doctors usually recommend avoiding sex with a UTI. In other words, it is a good idea to wait and not have sex until you have completed UTI treatment and are symptom-free.

Can a woman pass on a UTI to a man?

A woman can pass on a UTI to a man. In fact, sexual activity is the most common way to introduce bacteria into the urinary tract. 

How can a man get a UTI from a woman? 

A man can get a UTI from a woman through vaginal intercourse, anal sex, and oral sex. Here’s how it happens. Harmful bacteria called Escherichia coli bacteria (E. coli) are responsible for up to 90% of UTIs. E. coli are present in the gastrointestinal tract and feces. When you give or receive oral sex or engage in penetrative sex, the bacteria can be transferred from the anus to the hands, mouth, genitals, and sex toys. In this way, UTIs occur through the spread of bacteria from a woman’s urethra to a man’s penis and urethra during sex.

What are the risks of having sex with a UTI?

A urinary tract infection causes inflammation of the tissues of the urinary tract, which can make them sensitive. If you’re sexually active while you have a UTI, it can put pressure on the sensitive tissues and cause additional pain and discomfort.  

Penetrative sex can push bacteria deeper into the urethral opening, increasing the risk of developing a UTI. If you already have a UTI, sex can introduce new bacteria, leading to worsening symptoms and/or a longer recovery time.

Sometimes, a urinary tract infection is associated with health conditions like chlamydia or trichomoniasis. These are contagious health problems transmitted sexually (they can be passed between sexual partners).

What precautions should I take during sex with a UTI?

It is best to abstain from sexual activity until urinary tract infections have cleared. However, if you choose to have sex with a UTI, here are some precautions you should take:

  • If vaginal sex causes discomfort, you may consider anal sex with protection if it’s something you and your partner are comfortable with. However, keep in mind that a UTI and other infections like bacterial vaginosis can occur if you have vaginal sex after anal sex.
  • Remember also that you can get a UTI if you give or receive oral sex. This type of sexual activity can be responsible for spreading bacteria between mouths, hands, and a man’s and woman’s urethra. 
  • Use a dental dam during oral sex. This can help prevent a secondary infection from the spread of bacteria from the vagina or penis to the mouth. 
  • Avoid holding urine. If you have the urge to pee during sex, take a break and empty your bladder. Holding urine can promote bacterial growth and increase the risk of getting a UTI.
  • Pee before and after the physical act. This can help flush out bacteria from the urinary tract.
  • Wash your genital area after sex. This can help prevent UTIs by removing any bacteria that may have traveled from the anus to near the urethral opening.
  • Avoid switching between vaginal and anal sex. 
  • Talk to your doctor about drug interactions between antibiotics for UTI treatment and your birth control or other medications. 
  • Seek professional medical advice if you have recurrent UTIs.
  • Get tested for sexually transmitted infections before starting a sexual relationship with a new partner.



  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-tract-infection/symptoms-causes/syc-20353447
  2. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/bladder-infection-uti-in-adults
  3. https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/1999/0301/p1225.html