Honeymoon Cystitis: Causes, Symptoms & Prevention

Honeymoon Cystitis is a type of bladder infection or urinary tract infection (UTI) caused by inflammation of the bladder. Sometimes it can make the aftermath of your steamy period of marital bliss a huge problem. If you’re wondering what it is, here are some ways to prevent the condition from developing and manage it if still get one! Find the detailed article below: 

What Is Honeymoon Cystitis?

Honeymoon cystitis is cystitis (a common form of UTI that affects at least 60% of women once in a lifetime) caused by sexual activity. It’s called so because it often affects women after their honeymoon when there’s an increased sexual intimacy, and hence, more chances of getting cystitis caused by sex. 

You might be wondering how sex causes cystitis. Here’s how. Honeymoon cystitis is caused by a bacterial called E.Coli – which is responsible for around 90% of infections. This bacteria is found in our intestines. Now you should know this group of bacteria has many strains and many of those strains are not harmful and in fact, form a beneficial part of the gut flora. But these harmless strains in the gut become harmful to your bladder when they reach there. 

How do they reach there? By sex!

Some of these E.Coli strains reach the anus region and can get transferred from the anus to the vagina by your partner’s fingers or penis. When the penis further thrusts along the walls of the vagina, it can irritate the back wall of the bladder and the bacteria in the vagina are pushed into the bladder, which starts the urinary tract infection. This E.Coli bacteria can already be also present on the partner’s penis and can enter the vagina and the bladder from there as well! The more sex you have, the more the chances of cystitis, and frequency often increases when you’re on your honeymoon. 

Although honeymoon cystitis is associated with women on their honeymoon, it can also affect those who have an active sex life after a long time, have a new sexual partner, or have women in their 40s or 50s who enter the dating scene again and have been sexually inactive for a long time. It can also happen after you have penetrative intercourse for the first time. 

Honeymoon Cystitis Causes:

Honeymoon Cystitis Causes

The most common honeymoon cystitis cause is sex! Honeymoon cystitis is a type of cystitis caused by sexual activity. However, E.Coli can also enter the vaginal region through other ways like when you wipe the private region from front to back. Besides E.Coli, there are other bacteria that can cause the condition like Staphylococcus saprophyticus (four percent). Proteus Mirabilis (four percent), and Klebsiella pneumoniae (four percent). 

Apart from bacterial cystitis, other types of cystitis infections are caused by medications (certain medications irritate the bladder when they exit the body), radiation (chemoradiation can cause bladder inflammation), foreign bodies (often happens due to lengthy use of a catheter), or when cystitis happens due to an underlying condition like diabetes, HIV, kidney stones, etc. The last is often the honeymoon cystitis caused in males. 


The symptoms of honeymoon cystitis are the same as any other form of cystitis and UTI infections. Here are some of the first symptoms patients experience:

#1 Increased, Persistent Urge To Pee

The foremost of the honeymoon cystitis symptoms is an uncontrollable urge to pee, sometimes when you’ve just come out of the loo. 

#2 Burning Sensation While Peeing

A burning sensation and discomfort are other signs of this type of UTI. 

#3 Cloudy Or Strong-Smelling Urine With Blood (Sometimes)

When you have honeymoon cystitis, you will notice your urine is dark, cloudy, and strong-smelling. You can also see blood – which can be normal or serious, which your healthcare provider will be able to judge better. 

#4 Pelvic Discomfort 

Some low-grade pain and discomfort in the lower back and lower belly is also a symptom. 

#5 Painful Sex 

Sex can be less pleasurable, and painful, and can cause discomfort during UTIs. It’s best to refrain from or reduce sexual activity when you have UTI. 

#6 Low-Grade Fever

Some people can experience a low-grade fever and weakness with UTI. Although, this is a less common symptom of honeymoon cystitis. 

Serious honeymoon cystitis symptoms include: 
#7 High-Grade Fever

When your lower UTI infection becomes an upper UTI infection, which means reaching the kidney or ureters, it can cause a high-grade fever. If you experience a high fever, it’s important to receive prompt medical attention. 

#8 Chills

Chills with UTI also point towards a serious infection and require prompt medical attention. 

#9 Nausea or Vomiting

Feeling nauseous or vomiting when you have a UTI is not common at all! It’s an uncommon symptom and you should consult your healthcare provider immediately.  

#10 Strong Pressure In Lower Abdominal Region

Low grades of pain and discomfort is a common symptom of UTIs and that’s why many doctors also recommend painkillers for UTIs. But strong pressure and pain are uncommon and shouldn’t be taken lightly. 

P.S.: You should know most people with cystitis will not get a kidney infection. Only 1 in 30 people, or about 3% of people with cystitis have a kidney infection, and only a small fraction of them have a kidney infection that’s life-threatening. 

Honeymoon Cystitis Treatment:

Honeymoon Cystitis Treatment:

The treatment for honeymoon cystitis, or UTI caused by sexual activity, is similar to the treatment for other types of UTIs. The goal of treatment is to eliminate the bacteria causing the infection and relieve symptoms. The most common treatment is a course of antibiotics, prescribed by a healthcare provider based on the specific bacteria causing the infection and the severity of symptoms. It is important to take the full course of antibiotics as directed, even if symptoms improve before the medication is finished. Not completing the entire course increases your risk of having a recurrent infection. The standard treatment is for 4 days and can last up to 7 days in some cases. 

In addition to antibiotics, over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen may be recommended to relieve pain and discomfort. Drinking plenty of water and urinating frequently can also help flush out the bacteria causing the infection and prevent them from multiplying. 

It is important to avoid irritants that may aggravate the urinary tract, such as spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol until the infection is resolved. Practicing good hygiene, urinating after sex, and wearing loose, breathable clothing can also help prevent future UTIs. If symptoms persist or worsen despite treatment, or if fever, back pain, psychological problems or other more severe symptoms develop, it is important to seek medical attention. 

Honeymoon Cystitis Prevention:

#1 Stay Hydrated 

Staying hydrated is the number 1 recommendation to treat honeymoon cystitis. It will be recommended by your doctor and helps by flushing out the bacteria straight out of the urinary tract, hence killing the cause of honeymoon cystitis from the root. Hydration also prevents any buildup of bacteria in the long run and can help with recurrent infections. Drink at least 10 glasses of water every day. You should consume more if you live in a dry and hot climate. In addition to water, consider adding water-rich fruits & vegetables like cucumber, watermelon, etc. to your diet. Herbal teas are also a good source of hydration. 

At the same time, also reduce your consumption of alcohol and caffeine. Both of them can cause dehydration and can also cause irritation and inflammation of the urinary tract. Caffeine, particularly, irritates the bladder and can worsen the symptoms of honeymoon cystitis. 

#2 Wear Cotton Underwear 

Wearing cotton panties can help prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs) in several ways. Cotton is a breathable fabric that allows air to circulate freely, reducing moisture and heat buildup in the genital area. This is important because bacteria thrive in warm, moist environments, so keeping the genital area cool and dry can help reduce the risk of infection. Cotton panties also absorb moisture more effectively than synthetic fabrics, which can help keep the genital area dry and reduce the risk of irritation and chafing. Synthetic fabrics, such as nylon and polyester, can trap moisture and bacteria in the genital area, increasing the risk of UTIs.

Some women wear panty liners to prevent moisture but it only exacerbates the irritation. If the moisture bothers you, just change the underwear twice – or even thrice – in a day. Further, going commando at night can help with the infection as dry air and reduced moisture reduces bacterial growth and maintains a healthy balance in the vagina. 

#3 Avoid Irritants 

It is recommended to not use irritants like harsh soaps, scents, or perfumes in the genital area. These products disrupt the microbe balance of the vagina, causing inflammation and an increased risk of infection. When the vaginal microbe balance is disturbed, it increases the risk of bacteria traveling to the urinary tract and causing UTIs. The imbalance ups your chances of having a vaginal infection. Instead, it’s recommended to use mild, fragrance-free products for cleaning the genital area. Plain water or a gentle, unscented soap can be used for cleansing the area, and it is important to always wipe from front to back after using the toilet to prevent the spread of bacteria from the anus to the urethra. 

#4 Drink Cranberry Juice

If you mention UTI to your friends or family, there are chances many of them will suggest cranberry juice as a natural treatment for honeymoon cystitis. Cranberry juice and other cranberry extracts contain two compounds that prevent E.Coli from adhering to the walls of the bladder. They also raise the acidic levels to kill the infection. Although, you’d have to rely on medication once you’ve gotten cystitis, adding cranberry juice to your diet prevents any further infection. It’s more of a preventative measure than a treatment. A 2021 study concluded a 30% reduction in developing UTI in a susceptible population after they consumed cranberry-infused products. 

Cranberry juice also has Vitamin C, which improves the function of the immune system. Vitamin C is also known to react with nitrates in the urine to form nitrogen oxides which can kill. If you are interested in using cranberry juice to help prevent recurrent UTIs, it is important to choose a pure, unsweetened cranberry juice or cranberry extract to supplement.

#5 Practice Good Sexual Hygiene

Sexual intercourse is what leads to honeymoon cystitis. And improper hygiene is the number 1 reason why sex causes UTIs. Here are some practical tips for good sexual hygiene:

  • Urinate both before and after sex. Urinating helps flush out any bacteria that enter the vagina and prevents them from entering the urinary tract. 
  • Wash the genital area before and after having sex. To wash the area, use warm water and wash only the outside of the vulva (not inside). You can also use a mild soap if you like, but nothing that causes irritation and avoid it if you have sensitive skin.
  • Use barrier contraceptives like condoms so any bacteria present in the penis doesn’t enter your vagina, which further reduces the risk of infection. Remember to change the condom if you switch from anal to vaginal sex.
#6 Take Probiotics & Prebiotics 

We are finding surprising links between the gut microbiome and every other element in our body – from the brain to hormones to the health of our skin, it just leaves you wondering, if it also has a connection with UTIs. It does! A May 2022 study published in Nature Microbiology examined women with a history of UTIs and those with recurrent UTIs. They found that while both groups of women had E.Coli in their intestines which causes honeymoon cystitis, the group with recurrent UTIs also had less diverse microbiomes in their gut. This research, and several others, have linked UTIs to gut health. Clearly, upping your intake of probiotics and prebiotics is a good natural treatment for honeymoon cystitis, and preventing its recurrence in the future. 

Try and include a variety of probiotic-rich foods in your diet and consume fiber-rich foods to help butyrate production in the gut, a short-chain fatty acid also found in lower amounts in women who suffer from recurrent UTIs. Butyrate is produced when “good bacteria” in the gut break down the dietary fiber in the intestine. You should also try to supplement with probiotic supplements. Look for one with at least 1 billion colony-forming units and prebiotics that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. 

#7 Wipe From Front to Back 

E.Coli – the bacterial responsible for 90% of honeymoon cystitis infections lives in our intestines and actually forms a healthy flora for our gut. But while they are actually harmless – and in fact, beneficial and important in our gut, they are not good for our vaginal health. Our vagina also has a huge micro-ecosystem with billions of microbes, which shouldn’t be disturbed, because once they are, it leads to conditions like UTI and other infections. Your anus, however, is free from any such microsystem and if you wipe from front to back even if some microbes get transferred there, it hardly causes any problems. The same isn’t true for the other way around. 

When you wipe from back to front, the E.Coli bacteria can get to your vagina, from where they travel up to the urethra and cause an infection. It might feel easier to wipe from back to front – like you often do after the shower, but the opposite is the best to prevent any infection or lower any itching. This helps your butt bacteria stay where they should and keeps your fecal material stay away from the private parts. 


Natural Treatments For Honeymooners Cystitis

What’s The Most Common Cause Of Honeymoon Cystitis?

The most common cause of honeymoon cystitis is sex. But that’s just when we’re talking about honeymoon cystitis, and not cystitis, in general. Honeymoon cystitis accounts for around 5% to 10% of all cases of cystitis. During sex, E.Coli bacteria which commonly live inside your intestine or around the anus can enter the vagina through many ways like your partner’s fingers or the penis. The penis thrusting against the walls of the vagina can further send the bacteria to the bladder causing an infection. Since during honeymoon, you’re having more sex than usual, the chances of bacteria from anus reaching the bladder increases, hence the name honeymoon cystitis. 

Are There Any Natural Treatments For Honeymooners Cystitis?

Yes, there are many natural ways for honeymoon cystitis treatment. One of the most common and important ones is staying hydrated. Hydration helps you to clear out the bladder, which also flushes out the bacteria. This can also help to stop the bacteria from multiplying in the bladder. Avoid your morning cup of java if you have honeymoon cystitis, as caffeine can irritate the bladder and worsen the condition. Further, refrain from having sex during this time as it can again reintroduce the bacteria and can also irritate the vaginal area. If you do want to be intimate, follow peering before and after sex, washing your vulva with warm water after sex, and using barrier contraception are important. 

Some people would also point out that drinking cranberry juice is a great natural treatment for honeymoon cystitis and other UTIs, in general, but you should know that it’s more of a prevention method than treatment. Cranberry juice and other cranberry-related products will prevent recurrent UTI (as also proven by research), but it’s not effective at treating it once you have one. 

Is Cystitis Serious?

No, cystitis isn’t a serious condition. It’s an irritating condition though and can affect your normal day-to-day life. You should know about 40% to 50% of the cases don’t need treatment and most cystitis will go away on its own anywhere between 3 days to a week. In women where cystitis doesn’t go away on its own, a short course of antibiotics can help solve the condition. It’s advisable to take the entire course because if you have a moderate-level UTI then there are chances it will come back again if all the microorganisms aren’t killed – which happens when your entire course of antibiotics is completed. 

Cystitis is common and affects about 50% to 60% of women at least once in their lifetime. One study concluded nearly one-half of women who developed cystitis suffered from another infection within one year. The recurrence rate could be lower because not all who develop a reinfection come back for diagnosis, many women let their condition heal on their own. 

Cystitis isn’t serious, but around 5% to 6% of women do suffer from chronic cystitis infection. Chronic cystitis is a long-lasting inflammation of the bladder, often caused by recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs). It can cause persistent discomfort and pain in the pelvic area, as well as frequent urination and a persistent urge to urinate. Other symptoms of chronic cystitis may include blood in the urine, lower back pain, and pain during sexual intercourse. There’s also no cure for chronic cystitis and treatment plans generally focus on improving the daily life of a person with a focus on medication and lifestyle changes like eating habits and self-care. 

In about 1% of women, cystitis can become a kidney infection. This happens when the bacteria from the bladder reach up to the kidney. Symptoms of a kidney infection include high fever, nausea, and in very serious cases, mental confusion and other physiological changes. The kidney infection shouldn’t be left untreated. The condition can be life-threatening in a select few cases of these kidney infections. 

How Is Cystitis Diagnosed?

Cystitis can be diagnosed through a number of methods. Here are some of them:

#1 Urinalysis:

Urinalysis is a urine test that examines the visual, chemical, and microscopic aspects of urine. It checks the appearance of the urine (for example, cloudiness can indicate the presence of a UTI), concentration (increased levels of protein can signify a kidney disease), and microscopic aspects (presence of red and white blood cells can indicate UTI, epithelial cells can suggest inflammation, and presence of bacteria also means an infection). A urinalysis can help identify the presence of an infection in the urinary tract, but it cannot identify the specific type of bacteria causing the infection.

#2 Urine Culture 

A urinalysis can’t determine the type of bacteria causing the infection, but a urine culture can also identify the specific type of bacteria causing a UTI. Just like urine analysis, you will be required to submit a urine sample for urine culture. Once the sample is received, the lab technicians culture the sample so any microbes start growing. If it’s an infection, a certain type of microbe will start growing – and that’s what is causing the infection. If there’s no growth, the test results will be negative, but if there’s growth, the test will be positive. You will receive the results within 24 to 72 hours. 

#3 PCR Tests

The PCR test is an advanced version of urine culture and is a more precise method to identify the type of pathogen causing the infection. It copies a portion of “DNA” from the patient’s urine sample and tells you the exact microbe causing the problem. This is helpful for patients who are having recurring infections so the doctors can prescribe the line of antibiotics most effective and know which antibiotics will not work because the bacteria might be resistant to them. Some doctors are giving it priority over other diagnostic tests so they can avoid any unnecessary antibiotics at the start of the process itself. 

#4 Imaging Tests 

In some cases, imaging tests can be used to help diagnose cystitis and identify any underlying causes or complications. This isn’t used for diagnosis initially, but only if the doctor suspects any other underlying cause of the UTI, like an ultrasound or CT scan that can be used to identify any structural abnormalities, and cystoscopy can be used to see any inflammation in the urethra or the bladder. 

How To Get Rid of Honeymoon Cystitis Fast?

Medication will work for honeymoon cystitis in its own sweet time, but there are some home treatments and lifestyle changes which can help you get rid of honeymoon cystitis fast! First, stay hydrated. Hydration helps in flushing out the bad bacteria from the body. Second, avoid coffee and alcohol. Caffeine has a bad reputation for irritating the bladder and worsening bladder infection. Avoiding caffeine will surely help you get rid of honeymoon cystitis fast. Next, take your entire course of antibiotics. If you don’t, the UTIs can return as not all bad bacteria will be killed. It’s important to trust a reputed doctor to prescribe antibiotics so you don’t take more than what’s needed and weaken your microbiome. 

Lastly, try to abstain from sex, at least for a week after you contract the infection. During sexual activity, bacteria can be introduced into the urethra, which can lead to infection and inflammation of the bladder. Additionally, friction during sexual activity can irritate the urethra and exacerbate symptoms of cystitis, such as pain and discomfort. If you do engage in sexual activity, it’s important to follow proper sexual hygiene like peeing before or after sex, washing the genitals before or after sex, and using barrier contraceptives like condoms.  

Does Honeymooners Cystitis Go Away On Its Own?

In some mild cases, honeymoon cystitis does go away on its own. You don’t have to go to a doctor if your symptoms are much better within 3 to 4 days. Although, if you’re still experiencing symptoms after a week, it’s necessary and recommended to visit your healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment. When left untreated, honeymoon cystitis can cause a serious bladder infection or a kidney infection. 

Can Honeymoon Cystitis Happen In Males?

Thanks to the unique physiology – shorter urethras – in women, they are a whopping 40% more susceptible to UTIs than males, according to the Department of Health & Human Services Offices on Women’s Health. To give you the exact numbers, urethra of women is 1.5 inches and men’s urethra is around 7 to 8 inches. The anus and female urethra also sit together which further increases the risk of women getting UTI more than women. Having said that, honeymoon cystitis in males can also be a thing and happens the same way as in women. Symptoms of honeymoon cystitis in males may include painful or frequent urination, an urgency to urinate and lower abdominal or pelvic pain.

What Bacteria Causes Honeymoon Cystitis?

E.Coli is responsible for 90% of the cases of honeymoon cystitis. Other species of bacteria that cause UTIs are Klebsiella, Proteus, and Enterococcus. These bacteria enter from the genital area to the vaginal area during sex. While sexual activity is a common trigger for honeymoon cystitis, it is important to note that other factors such as poor hygiene, underlying medical conditions, and the use of certain medications or hygiene products can also contribute to the development of UTIs. 

Do I Need To Be Less Sexually Active To Prevent Cystitis?

Absolutely Not! You just need to be careful. However, if you’re getting honeymoon cystitis every time you’re becoming sexually active, you do need to make some changes. Like changing positions, increasing your hydration levels, asking your partner to be gentle, and most importantly peeing right after sex! We know that the last one can be tricky because the muscles that control the pee aren’t able to relax right after intercourse. Moreover, the moment after sex is private and special and you obviously don’t want to ruin it with your trip to the bathroom! So it’s okay to wait for a few minutes, but not longer. Also, wash the vulva area gently with warm water after you’re done peeing to prevent honeymoon cystitis. 

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