What Is Honeymoon Cystitis?

wiseGEEK Writer

Honeymoon cystitis refers to bladder infections that occur or recur with frequent sexual intercourse. This description of cystitis usually applies to women only and references their increased level of sexual activity after marriage. Any woman who is sexually active may develop this condition with more frequent intercourse or after acquiring a new sexual partner. Numerous symptoms are associated with this illness, such as burning during urination, changes in appearance of urine, and, occasionally, a general sense of feeling unwell. Doctors typically treat a single case of honeymoon cystitis with antibiotics and recommend preventative measures that may decrease recurrence.

Cranberry juice may help with honeymoon cystitis.
Cranberry juice may help with honeymoon cystitis.

Two risk factors for cystitis in women are increased sexual activity or intercourse with a new partner. Moreover, more than 50% of women with recurrent cystitis develop it because of one or both of these factors. Men are at much less risk than women for this condition because they have a longer urethra, which prevents some infections; the prostate gland also manufactures secretions that fight bacteria. Bladder infections in men after sexual activity are more likely associated with the contraction of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like chlamydia.

Increased sexual intercourse can cause honeymoon cystitis.
Increased sexual intercourse can cause honeymoon cystitis.

The symptoms of honeymoon cystitis may occur within a few days of having sexual intercourse. Women may notice that there is a burning sensation when they urinate, and urine can look cloudy, dark, or it may even contain some blood. Some other symptoms reported with this condition include headache, feeling tired, slight fever, or increased urinary frequency.

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These symptoms warrant a doctor's visit, where a physician can test the urine for the presence of bacteria. If it is found, he will prescribe antibiotics. Doctors typically suggest home care measures too, if they believe the condition is true honeymoon cystitis or any other form of bladder infection.

Doctors usually recommend drinking more water, and drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry capsules. Women are advised to fully empty the bladder when urinating. Specifically for the prevention of honeymoon cystitis, physicians recommend that women avoid diaphragms and spermicides, empty the bladder fully after intercourse, and use a water-based lubricant during sex.

Honeymoon cystitis is indicated in over half of recurrent bladder infections and needs additional treatment. One approach is to use antibiotics prophylactically before sexual intercourse to prevent infections. Alternately, women can receive antibiotics with each new infection. The prophylactic approach may be more favored because it uses fewer antibiotics.

The recurrent form of honeymoon cystitis is challenging since it is uncomfortable for women and may mean partners must forgo sex on a regular basis. This can result in problems in a relationship, which aren't always solved by physician interventions or home care. Couples who are challenged by diminishing sexual intimacy may get assistance with a skilled couples or marriage psychotherapist.

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