Contrary to popular belief, honeymoon cystitis is not due to new kinds of bacteria from a new partner.
Rather, harmful bacteria from your own body is introduced during intercourse that can reach the bladder. This can lead to a painful UTI, otherwise known as “Honeymoon Cystitis.”
It is important to note that honeymoon cystitis is not an STD and cannot be passed to your partner.
So how can you be prepared? And how can you treat it if this happens to you? Read on to find out!
What You'll Learn...
What is Honeymoon Cystitis?
The honeymoon cystitis definition is urinary cystitis (inflammation) caused by sexual activity. As such, it can occur at any time you are sexually active and not just during your actual honeymoon.
Although cystitis can refer to chronic inflammation, the vast majority of honeymoon cystitis cases are caused by a urinary tract infection. As with other causes of UTIs, it can be very painful and cause problems with urination.
Symptoms of Honeymoon Cystitis
The tell-tale signs of a UTI are pain and burning when you urinate, a foul odor to your urine, and feeling like you need to urinate suddenly and frequently.
You may also see blood in your urine. Back pain is also possible and could indicate a kidney infection if severe.
Other signs of the infection reaching the kidneys include fever, vomiting, chills, or a flu-like feeling. You will want to call a doctor right away if you are experiencing these additional symptoms.
Who Gets Honeymoon Cystitis?
As previously mentioned, honeymoon cystitis most often occurs with an increase in sexual activity or the first occurrence of sexual activity like that on one’s honeymoon.
Honeymoon cystitis is most common in women in their 20s who have not yet had children, although it can occur at any age.
While men can get cystitis, it is much more common in women due to the anatomy of the female urethra.
Some women are more susceptible than others, so if you’ve had frequent UTIs before, you may want to take some extra precautions to make sure your honeymoon goes off without a hitch. We’ll discuss some of those preventative measures below.
How To Prevent Honeymoon Cystitis
Prevention is always easier than treatment. No one wants their honeymoon ruined by a raging UTI. Luckily, there are some steps you and your partner can take to prevent this painful infection from happening to you.
The single most helpful thing you can do to prevent honeymoon cystitis is to be sure to urinate and thoroughly cleanse the genital area after sex. This helps flush out any bacteria that may be trying to make their way up to your bladder.
In general, drinking lots of fluids is also very helpful. The more you urinate, the more chances you give your body to flush out the bacteria.
Drinking lots of fluids also helps lower the acidity of your urine and make the environment in the bladder less susceptible to infections.
Many women also swear by drinking cranberry juice to avoid getting UTIs.
If you are especially prone to UTIs, you may want to consider avoiding alcohol and caffeine during your honeymoon, which can increase your risk and worsen your symptoms.
If you are particularly susceptible, you and your partner can shower before any sexual activity to help prevent bacteria from getting to your bladder.
Although it may be tempting to use scented body washes, soaps, and other cleansing products – this can actually make the problem worse by upsetting your body’s delicate PH level or balance of bacteria.
Try to stick to natural and gentle personal care products when possible, and avoid the use of any vaginal sprays or douches.
What else can your partner do to help? It may seem at first that condoms could help prevent the issue. Unfortunately, it does not appear that the use of condoms is helpful in preventing honeymoon cystitis.
However, the use of lubricants can help prevent a UTI as dryness makes infections more likely.
These above steps are especially necessary if you have recently had a UTI, suffer from frequent UTIs, and/or are traveling to a remote destination with few options for modern healthcare.
There are also some things you can add to your packing list to hopefully avoid this happening to you, or help treat an infection if one does arise:
- D-Mannose – You can begin taking this natural treatment made from cranberry’s active ingredient prior to your honeymoon. D-Mannose is one of the most popular treatments.
- Uva Ursi – Many women have seen success taking this supplement for their UTIs.
- Uqora – This popular brand of specially formulated products helps to prevent or treat UTIs.
- Probiotics – Taking probiotics (good bacteria) can help your body fight off the “bad guys.” Many products are now specifically formulated for vaginal bacteria versus gut bacteria.
- Cranberry Juice / Cranberry Pills – Although the research is conflicting, many women swear by the use of cranberry juice or pills to prevent their frequent UTIs.
- Prophylactic Antibiotics – A special preventative dose of antibiotics you can take after sex.
How To Cure Honeymoon Cystitis
The best way to help elevate the symptoms of honeymoon cystitis is to flush out your bladder as often as possible. Try to drink at least eight glasses of water a day and use the restroom frequently, especially right after intercourse. This will help to get rid of any lingering bacteria.
Eating a proper diet low in sugar can help as well. Avoid sweets, carbs, and processed foods that will only serve to feed the bacteria causing your UTI.
As mentioned above, there are many natural methods and supplements that can help prevent UTIs, and they can be used to help treat them as well.
While these natural methods can help in many cases if your symptoms are rapidly worsening or have been occurring for longer than 48 hours, seek a doctor’s help right away.
It is important to see a doctor when possible to make sure the pain you are experiencing is truly a UTI or something else. Your healthcare provider will likely take a urine sample to do a urinalysis.
Pain-relieving medication such as ibuprofen or aspirin can be used to help alleviate some of the discomforts. If these medications are not working, your doctor can even prescribe you a stronger medication such as Pyridium for the pain.
Antibiotics For Honeymoon Cystitis
The main bacterial culprit in honeymoon cystitis is none other than E. coli. This bacteria thrives in acidic environments and typically lives in your GI tract and on your body.
This is why treatments that reduce the acidity of your urine help battle E. coli. These treatments can be effective in many cases, and many times honeymoon cystitis can go away on its own with time and proper care.
But if home remedies and other methods are not helping, you may need to go on some antibiotics to help clear up your infection. Your UTI could spread to your kidneys, so it’s important to keep an eye out for any severe symptoms such as fever or vomiting.
The most commonly prescribed honeymoon cystitis antibiotics are Bactrim, Macrodantin, and Levaquin. Try to avoid fluoroquinolones like Cipro, as recent studies have shown these antibiotics to be more harmful than helpful.
It is very important to finish a round of antibiotics, even if you are feeling better. Stopping your antibiotics too soon could lead to a larger flare-up of your infection.
You may also want to take some probiotics to replenish your good bacteria and keep your body in balance. If you do end up on antibiotics, they should begin working within three days and should serve as a final treatment in most cases.
However, approximately 25% of women will experience a recurrence within six months.
If you’re about to head off to your honeymoon and you know that you are at high risk for UTIs, you may want to talk to your doctor about a prescription for a prophylactic (preventative) antibiotic. Using antibiotics in this way can help stop an infection before it starts.
How Long Does Honeymoon Cystitis Last?
With the proper treatment and attention to hygiene, some cases of mild honeymoon cystitis can clear up on their own without antibiotics in just a few days. If antibiotics are needed, they should begin working within 2-3 days.
However, some women may experience recurring infections lasting for much longer. If you are experiencing ongoing cycles of infection, you may want to consider a more aggressive treatment or combining multiple forms of treatment.
In order to prevent a ruined honeymoon, there are some steps you can take to ward off a painful UTI. If you do come down with a case of honeymoon cystitis, there are many things you can do to treat the infection and reduce your symptoms.
We hope this article empowers you to prevent and treat honeymoon cystitis if it happens to you. Happy honeymooning!