Honeymoon cystitis is the rather quaint and rather old-fashioned way to describe the sort of urinary tract infections that can arise from frequent and prolonged sexual activity. It is so named because Cystitis is a name given to urinary tract infections and since the infection can often occur when a woman first becomes sexually active (or gets married).
Symptoms of honeymoon cystitis
The symptoms can occur a few days after the infection has occurred, which is often when a couple are on their honeymoon or soon thereafter.
Pain or a burning sensation while passing urine is one of the first of the symptoms of a urinary tract infection. Not only may urination be painful it could also be more frequent. There is often the strong urge to ‘go’ even though there may not be much urine that is passed. The increased frequency could mean having to go at night as well.
The urine itself could change color and may become cloudy, dark in color and strong smelling. In some cases, traces of blood in the urine could also be present with honeymoon cystitis.
There could be pressure or pain in the abdomen of the lower back. Fever and feeling generally unwell are also symptoms of the infection.
What are the causes of honeymoon cystitis?
This condition is a bacterial infection that can infect any part of the urinary tract such as the bladder, urethra etc. In many cases this infection can happen for the first time when a woman becomes sexually active, such as when she gets married.
It is thought that some women are more likely to have the infection than others because they may have a genetic predisposition to it. The bladder lining could be such that the bacteria find it easier to stick on and multiply, among women who seem to have the infection more often than others.
Diaphragms also seem to increase chances of the infection if they are the kind that presses on the urethra.
It isn’t just sexual intercourse, but also unclean fingers, or an object that is inserted into the anus and then the vagina that could cause the infection. The infection is caused mainly due to fecal bacteria coming into contact with the urethra. The bacteria would typically reside in the vaginal area, but newly frequent sex may have the result of the bacteria being pushed further up and into the bladder.
However there are other causes of this honeymoon cystitis. In some cases it could simply be inappropriate wiping that causes the problem. Wiping back to front rather than front to back could cause the infection. In some cases UTIs could be the sign of sexual abuse.
While earlier the term “honeymoon” was appended to the term cystitis because typically a girl would have her first intercourse while on honeymoon, today it is not uncommon for girls as young and 14 and 15 to have the infection.
Being female is a known risk factor for urinary tract infections and as many as 50% of women tend to have it in some or other form at some point in life.
Tips to prevent honeymoon cystitis
Women who are prone to urinary tract infections can try to do the following to prevent the infections:
Urinate before as well as after sexual intercourse. It helps flush out any bacteria present along with the urine. In particular urinating after intercourse is important to prevent the bacteria going further up along the urinary tract.
Drinking plenty of water is also recommended to hydrate the body as well as to flush out bacteria lining the bladder and urinary tract. Not only can this help in preventing the infection, it can also prevent the urine from getting too concentrated which could add to the discomfort or burning sensation while passing urine.
Cranberry juice or tablets are seen to be particularly effective in preventing the infection because it prevents the bacteria from sticking on to the walls of the bladder.
You can do your best to avoid it and the infection may still occur, in which case honeymoon cystitis will usually need a course of antibiotics to clear it. So if any of the above symptoms occur, it is important to consult a doctor and to start appropriate medication.