The Sexy Times | UTI Treatments: More than just cranberry juice

The Sexy Times is The Pitt News’ biweekly sex blog written by Genna Edwards.

By Genna Edwards, Senior Staff Writer

The first time it stung when I peed, I was 17. I didn’t know what was happening to me, only that my insides felt like pricking needles, felt like a tiny fire.

I was reminded of a story my mom told me, how her mother was so busy raising five kids on her own that she forgot to warn my mom about her period. My mom worried she was bleeding out — maybe even dying.

We don’t talk enough about vagina-related health. This leads to vagina-owners feeling insecure in their bodies, unsure if what’s happening to them is normal or, well, possible death-by-having-a-coochie.

With college being a time when more people start to experiment with their sexuality, I figure a friendly run-through of UTI tips and tricks is in order. The internet is a vast, dark hole that may only serve to rile you up. Many people with vaginas have had a UTI or two — or, in my case, way too many — and although it can hurt like hell, I promise you it’s not the end of the world, as long as you treat it correctly.

UTI stands for urinary tract infection. These infections happen when bacteria enter your urine and travel into your bladder. Frequent sex, too-tight pants and even diabetes can cause a UTI. So first off, don’t worry — you’re not alone, and this is normal.

Untreated UTIs can lead to kidney infections that can lead to death. So, um, this is pretty serious. I wasn’t ever taught or told about UTIs, so when I first experienced one I was a bit terrified. If you’ve never had one, here are the symptoms:

  1. Pain or burning while peeing
  2. Frequent feeling like you need to pee, even if you just peed five minutes ago
  3. Bloody urine
  4. Pressure or cramping in lower abdomen

If you develop a fever, chills, back pain or nausea and vomiting, you may have a kidney infection. Those symptoms are much more serious and time sensitive — get to a doctor right away. 

If you’re only feeling the run-of-the-mill UTI symptoms, here’s what you’ll want to do. I’ve learned the hard way that you absolutely do need to see a doctor for these — you need antibiotics. If you can’t see a doctor for a few days, there are pain relief options at the pharmacy. 

I’m a particular fan of Monistat’s UTI treatments, both pain relief pills and internal creams for the vagina.

You may have heard to drink cranberry juice — this comes with a caveat. Only non-sugared cranberry juice works here, and it won’t make the entire UTI go away. Drinking pure cranberry juice and lots of fluids can help reset your situation down there, as well as flush out as much of the bad bacteria as possible until a doctor gets you on antibiotics.

Take the antibiotics as prescribed and you and your box will be back in tiptop shape in no time. Avoid coffee and alcohol, as well as spicy foods, as these all can irritate your bladder. Hot compresses are great for soothing any cramping or abdominal pain.

And, above all, rest if you can. I’d rather get punched in the face than have another UTI — they can make you feel weak and groggy, which is never the move during finals season. Or any other season at all, for that matter.

Although UTIs are rarely discussed or taught in American sex ed, it’s completely normal to contract one and you will be OK. Spread the info to any other vagina-havers in your life — our health matters. Happy vagina, happy life.

Genna Edwards writes about gender and media for The Pitt News. You can drop her a line at [email protected].