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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

SL Letter of the Day: Now Hold It

Posted by on Wed, Jul 18, 2012 at 5:42 PM

I recently got into a relationship with a guy who I'm crazy for, and who has a thing for pee. While it doesn't turn me on, it definitely turns him on and that more than makes up for it. The issue here is, I am prone to bladder infections and I'm afraid his kink will make my problem much worse.

I'm going to interrupt the LW here. I skim "Savage Love" emails as they pour in, searching for column- and/or SLLOTD-worthy questions, and I nearly hit the delete button at this point. She's dating a guy who's into pee and she's prone to bladder infections? That's not a problem. People with bladder infections are encouraged to drink a lot of fluids and urinate often. If her boyfriend likes to get peed on, and she's so into her boyfriend that she actually enjoys his kink*, then... she's been drinking a lot of fluids and peeing frequently. Which means her boyfriend and his kink aren't problematic. They're therapeutic. Then I read on...

One of his favourite things is making me hold my pee in for long periods of time, which is less than desirable when an infection is almost always lurking. Do you have any tips on how we could get around this, or how I can amp up my system while doing this with him to prevent the infections from getting worse?

My Vagina Sucks

Your boyfriend isn't into piss, MVS, he's into domination and control. And bossing your bladder around— inflicting this particular kind of eroticized discomfort on you—is "one of his favorite" ways of expressing his dominance over you. And that's a problem. Take it away, WebMD:

Usually, germs get into your system through your urethra, the tube that carries urine from your bladder to the outside of your body. The germs that usually cause these infections live in your large intestine and are found in your stool. If these germs get inside your urethra, they can travel up into your bladder and kidneys and cause an infection. Women tend to get more bladder infections than men. This is probably because women have shorter urethras, so it is easier for the germs to move up to their bladders. Having sex can make it easier for germs to get into your urethra.

Bladder infections are treated with antibiotics and sufferers are encouraged to "drink lots of water and other fluids," "urinate often," and to fully empty their bladders "each time." WebMD offers a list of prevention tips for for those who suffer from frequent bladder infections and it warns against exactly what you're doing for the boyfriend: "Urinate often. Do not try to hold it."

So, yeah, your boyfriend's kink—which is more about dominance than piss—could be a problem. Holding it in on his orders may be erotic for you both, MVS, but there's nothing erotic about the discomfort of a bladder infection. (And I don't need to tell you that, right?) Asking you to risk a painful bladder infection to satisfy his kink seems selfish, MVS, and most impartial third parties would urge you to rule hold-it-in play out of bounds. Because asking a partner to risk a bladder infection for your sexual pleasure is too much to ask, right?

So hold-it-in play is out... and so is vaginal intercourse:

Sex is a common cause of UTIs in women because sexual intercourse introduces bacteria into a woman's urinary tract. During sex, the urethra comes into contact with the bacteria from the genital area and anus, allowing them to enter the urethra, the bladder, and possibly eventually the kidneys, and result in an infection. In fact, almost 80 percent of premenopausal women with a UTI have had sex within the previous 24 hours.

Plain ol' vaginal intercourse ups your risk for bladder infections—all that grinding on and around the urethra can introduce bacteria that make their way up to bladder. Flushing out any bacteria that might've made their way into the urethra is why women who are prone to bladder infections are encouraged to urinate immediately after sex.

I realize that vaginal intercourse isn't piss play and vice-versa, of course, but I don't think you need stop doing this thing you both enjoy because it might lead to a bladder infection anymore you should stop having vaginal intercourse because it might lead to a bladder infection. And you didn't ask if you should stop doing this thing you both enjoy. You asked if there was a way to do this without upping your risk of a bladder infection. And there may be: when he wants to do this kind of piss play—when you both do—you should drink, drink, drink, then pee, pee, pee. Flush out your system. Then once your urethra free of any stray bacteria, start drinking again—water, beer, whatever—and then your boyfriend can order you to hold it. It'll require you to be thoughtful about when you do this kind of play—you'll both have to plan ahead (no more spontaneous hold-it-in sessions)—but that's a concession he should be willing to make for your physical safety and to alleviate your anxiety.

* Like I said to Prudie in a SLLOTD last week: "You'll meet two kinds of people at BDSM clubs, fetish shops, and lurking on Fetlife. You'll meet people who were always kinky and you'll meet people who fell in love with someone who was kinky, didn't dump their kinky partners after they disclosed, and somehow grew to love their kinky partner's kinks just as much as they loved their kinky partners." MVS is a good example of the latter.


Comments (69) RSS

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Zebes 1
There's some Japanese word that specifically describes fetishism for having a full bladder, or for girls with the same. I don't know what it is and I'm not about to start googlin' up wacky Japanese kinks at work, though, so.
Posted by Zebes on July 18, 2012 at 5:59 PM · Report this
Wired's GeekMom blog had an article recently that linked to a video demonstrating how floating a few pieces of toilet paper in the bowl can eliminate most of the "splash-back" that can introduce bacteria to the urethra. The technique might help the letter writer prevent infections in general.
Posted by ximinez on July 18, 2012 at 6:18 PM · Report this
Cranberries. For real.
Posted by Ask anyone. on July 18, 2012 at 6:34 PM · Report this
I had bladder infections for years. Was put on antibiotics all the time. If you keep getting them, ask your doctor about a urethral dilation. It is an old fashioned way to treat the problem, but it cured me of all infections after 10 years of chronic infections. The only reason I got mine was because I finally got an appointment with one of the older physicians in my practice and he knew about it. It's a process that is done in the doctor's office. They numb up your urethra and then insert of series of rods with increase in circumference. It stretches the urethra. My doctor explained that sometimes recurrent bladder infections happen because there is a stricture in the urethra and the urine gets caught, sits in there and then becomes infected.

I know, this isn't a sex tip, but if you can beat the infections, then it should solve the real problem.
Posted by percysowner on July 18, 2012 at 6:47 PM · Report this
I've done this a few times when this topic comes up, but here goes again. Ladies, if you are prone to UTIs and the conventional wisdom isn't cutting it, GET THIS BOOK:…

I was in agony and despair about how it was ruining sex for me and googling in abject desperation when I found a message board where somebody recommended this book and it's not hyperbole to say it changed my life.
It covers a lot of situations and describes the anatomy and physiology well. UTIs are a defect in flushing bacteria - it's totally normal for bacteria to go up the urethra during sex and it should be harmlessly flushed out by urine.

1. if you already have symptoms, do not drink cranberry juice or anything else acidic
2. take a 1/4 to 1/2 tsp baking soda in water to alkalize urine
3. peeing after sex only helps if you have a full bladder (flushing action), so if you're not ready, drink a big glass of water and wait

Baking soda at the first twinge has kept me fine for years now. I am in the habit of doing the soda water before or after sex just in case. There is a lot more in the book- sex positions that avoid further irritation to the urethra, pregnancy, cancer, a lot about chronic interstitial cystitis.
Posted by CLDG on July 18, 2012 at 6:59 PM · Report this
Eva Hopkins 6
Although I think it likely, Dan, that your advice is just fine, I'd encourage MVS to talk to a (preferably kink-friendly) doctor/gynecologist. Urinary tract infections are excrutiatingly painful & distracting. What Dan described may be the safest way to pursue the kink described. But as someone who has suffered w/ UTI's, I just dunno if that's a safe option for the letter writer over the long haul.
Posted by Eva Hopkins on July 18, 2012 at 7:17 PM · Report this
treefort 7
Holding in pee can be dangerous. You can die.
Posted by treefort on July 18, 2012 at 7:20 PM · Report this
You can buy cranberry supplements at Whole Foods. Take one after sex to prevent infection. Take more than one before holding your pee for the boyfriend, and maybe for a few days after just to be safe.
Posted by Cranberry pills on July 18, 2012 at 8:09 PM · Report this
Fnarf 9
Never has the phrase "piss off" been more appropriate.
Posted by Fnarf on July 18, 2012 at 8:24 PM · Report this
i'm female and when i was a small child i used to masturbate with a full bladder while thinking about people having to pee (i was too young to be interested in having sex with people). i also remember teasing my friends by trying to prevent them from going pee. i'm sure this sounds weird but i was seriously like 6 years old and not hung up on controlling people, but the physical sensation of having to pee, which makes my clit more sensitive and can sometimes turn me on to this day. i don't have a pee kink strong enough to bring into a relationship, nor am i interested in being peed on or peeing on others, but this dude just might be turned on by thinking of someone else having to pee? can't dudes sometimes get boners if they really need to pee? i dunno.
Posted by sheshouldstillDTMFAifhespressuringher on July 18, 2012 at 8:27 PM · Report this
fannerz 11
NO NO NO NO NO. Find some other way of playing with domination and control. I have frequent UTIs and bladder infections, and earlier this year I had to start going on dialysis because it finally wormed it's way all the way back up to my kidneys. If you don't want to start peeing blood, don't hold in your pee. It is NOT the same as vaginal intercourse - vaginal intercourse increases your risk of getting a new UTI, holding your urine aggravates existing conditions which make you vulnerable to kidney failure.
Posted by fannerz on July 18, 2012 at 8:34 PM · Report this
I am with @11. Suggesting some comparable dominance and power play scenarios that don't involve her bladder might be useful too. Yeah, yeah, kinks are not interchangeable, but something out there is probably close enough to allow them to cut back on the bladder play at least.
Posted by DRF on July 18, 2012 at 8:40 PM · Report this
Agree with 11. Also feel like Dan has been wading farther out into medical territory lately. This one is better left to the docs.
Posted by Meg333 on July 18, 2012 at 9:11 PM · Report this
Me: woman, microbiologist, hella prone to UTIs after sex. Antibiotic resistant UTIs. Rolling with the whole scientist thing, I'm not into hippy dippy crap, and all the cranberry juice did was make my bladder hurt. But what I do now (UTI free since January) is take D-mannose. D-mannose is what is in cranberry juice that helps, but none of the acidic juice part. I won't explain it, but it ROCKS and you can get it at any organic/hippy dippy food store. My OBGYN's mother has dementia and can't clean herself properly after she goes to the bathroom, and D-mannose is what she uses to prevent UTIs in her mother. If D-mannose can prevent a mentally impaired elderly woman who smears feces all over her girl parts from getting a UTI, it'll probably work for you.
Posted by iplaywithbugs on July 18, 2012 at 9:52 PM · Report this
The LW should see a urologist if she can afford it. An ultrasound of the bladder and kidneys can determine if urine is emptying fully. The doc can also put a camera up your urethra into your bladder (it shouldn't hurt much at all , way less than a normal infection) to see if your bladder has any abnormalities. The whole work up cost me about $500, which is when I hit my deductible. Without insurance it would be about $1000. I finally got it done after one infection hit over Christmas and only Vicodin could dull the pain.

Poor LW. Don't listen to your BF. he is an ass who clearly doesn't know how much pain can be involved. What a fucktard.
Posted by wxPDX on July 18, 2012 at 9:55 PM · Report this
fannerz 16
@14: My ER nephrologist gave me some D-mannose and it's the only thing that helped!
Posted by fannerz on July 18, 2012 at 10:09 PM · Report this
Uncharacteristically bad advice, Dan. Listen to 11 through 15.
Posted by aiff on July 18, 2012 at 10:14 PM · Report this
snoozn 18
This looks like a question where Dan should have brought in a real doctor rather than consulting WebMD. Just because two different sexual activities can aggravate the same condition doesn't mean both are equally dangerous. I agree with @6 that LW should consult a kink-friendly ob/gyn. She might even be able to fix the problem. My daughter had urinary reflux (which causes recurring UTIs) and had minor surgery that completely fixed it. I remember when she was diagnosed they told me she was lucky she had a big bladder because it would be bad for her to hold in her pee. So please see a doctor!
Posted by snoozn on July 18, 2012 at 10:15 PM · Report this
jenniferjane 19
Everyone on here with all these UTI's and bladder infections taking antibiotics know that you're killing yourself right? Go to whole foods and get the "UVA URSI" tincture right now. Saved my friends life.
Posted by jenniferjane on July 18, 2012 at 10:16 PM · Report this
@16, I know, the stuff is great. I was at my wit's end. Love the boyfriend, love the sex, but how the hell can a girl enjoy sex when *every time* she gets a bladder infection? I just can't believe how well it works.
Posted by iplaywithbugs on July 18, 2012 at 10:30 PM · Report this
rob! 21
@19, while uva-ursi can be beneficial, it is not without some potentially serious side effects:
Herbs... can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a health care provider.

One of the chemicals in uva ursi, hydroquinone, can damage the liver. Uva ursi should be taken only for short periods—no longer than 5 days—under a health care provider's supervision. You shouldn't take a series of doses of uva ursi more than 5 times in 1 year. Do not take more than the recommended doses.

[Other] reported side effects are generally mild and include nausea and vomiting, irritability, and insomnia.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and people with high blood pressure, should not take uva ursi. People who have Crohn's disease, digestive problems, kidney or liver disease, or ulcers should not take uva ursi.…
Posted by rob! on July 18, 2012 at 10:39 PM · Report this
I learn so much from reading the comments in this damn column sometimes.
Posted by floater on July 18, 2012 at 11:04 PM · Report this
Nobody (including Dan) should be giving this woman medical advice, certainly not recommending books and over-the-counter crap. She should go to her doctor; if she's too embarassed to tell the doctor everything, she should find another doctor she can talk frankly to.
Posted by sarah70 on July 18, 2012 at 11:33 PM · Report this
Neptune 24
I don't have anything to add to the letter/answer (except that I couldn't run away from that guy fast enough), but since lots of people in this thread seem pretty knowledgeable about urinary issues, I have a question for anyone reading this.

I have an issue that I have never been able to fully resolve, which is that my urethra starts burning randomly. It hasn't been as bad/often since I started taking the pill - so I'm not sure if that means it's hormonal or it was just a coincidence. But like I'll pee, it will suddenly start burning, and then continue burning for hours. When this first started happening, I was repeatedly tested for UTIs and always came back negative. My gyno even tried testing me for fungal infections and some other stuff, and all that came back negative too. So it was kind of like, "Well, shit, sorry, you must just have sensitive skin or acidic urine or both." Some people tell me "just drink tons of water" but that's not realistic for me because I already pee twice as much as a normal person, so drinking large amounts of liquid results in me about to explode every 10 minutes. (That's kind of a whole other problem...basically my bladder sucks.)

Anyway, that was long, but if anyone else has ever experienced something similar and found a solution, I'd love to hear it! I pretty much gave up on it after it stumped my doctor. (I think I might try that D-mannose 14 mentioned!)
Posted by Neptune on July 18, 2012 at 11:58 PM · Report this
sissoucat 25
In 1990, my godmother died of an urinary infection that went untreated for about 15 days. It's that serious.

To limit UTIs coming from vaginal intercourse, I would add to the others posters' recommandations, to ask the guy to take a shower before sex - you can both take the shower together. And to wash his teeth and tongue before pussy eating - same remark. A good hygiene always helps.
Posted by sissoucat on July 19, 2012 at 12:16 AM · Report this
Can she just learn to fake it? With practice, surely he can suspend his disbelief a little and she can act a little?
Posted by Orsh on July 19, 2012 at 1:16 AM · Report this
Go to your doctor and tell em all about this. I guarantee every gyno and urologist has heard weirder questions. And you may be able to get a handle on those chronic bladder infections, too.

If all else fails, listen to Orsh @26 - maybe you could even incorporate him giving you a ton of water and cranberry juice, and then holding it "as long as you can" in a role-playing sense?

In any case, this is sooooooo not worth risking your health. I've only ever had 1 UTI (kids, don't get right out of the lake, run into your tent and bone for hours) and would honestly do anything to avoid another!
Posted by planned barrenhood on July 19, 2012 at 3:08 AM · Report this
If she is not on a low-dose preventative antibiotic made specifically for UTI's, she should be. I had a problem with UTI's as well that went away after I started taking Macrodantin every time after I had sex. It's a drug that doesn't create a resistant strain (from what I understand it basically makes the bacteria cells explode before they can reproduce) and I have never had a problem with it. ALSO go and see a urologist to make sure that there's not some kind of structural problem causing the UTI's. Just be aware that some bladders are just more "sticky" to foreign bacteria.
Posted by Sunnyhuckle on July 19, 2012 at 6:23 AM · Report this
@24 I'd get thoroughly tested for all STDs if you haven't already done so. You could have gonorrhea, chlamydia, or something else..good luck
Posted by freshnycman on July 19, 2012 at 6:28 AM · Report this
@24, I had a similar problem. Burning pee, my bladder kinda hurt, but everytime I had an doctor appointment, I didn't test for anything. Then one day I had a doctor appointment first thing in the morning, and lo and behold they found my UTI. I had had a low grade UTI for 6 months. My grandma tells me she's the same way, so maybe you are, too. Try getting checked for a UTI using your 1st or 2nd "catch" of the day - that is, 1st or 2nd pee of the day. Often the doctor/nurse will give you a pee sample cup to take home, then you can drop it off later in the day (you have to refrigerate it, though). Good luck!
Posted by iplaywithbugs on July 19, 2012 at 7:55 AM · Report this
#4 - wait, are you saying that regular sounding (with proper sterilization) can actually CURE YOU of UTIs??

Hot damn.
Posted by tule on July 19, 2012 at 8:07 AM · Report this
Arghh... yes, I second getting tested repeatedly - by different agencies - if you have burning sensations or any other UTI symptoms. Took years for mine to be caught, and then it took several rounds of drugs to sort it out. I didn't even realise at first that the drugs hadn't worked, 'cos I'd forgotten what 'normal' felt like. Do not put up with recurring UTI symptoms, there are too many doctors and nurses who shrug their shoulders and hint that it's just something women get.

Once you are absolutely 120% sure that the infection has gone, then you might still get soreness or burning around that area, and might want to pee too often. This may be because the nerves have become hypersensitive from months or years of being jangled by the infection. Then you should up the pelvic floor exercises, and you should indeed hold your pee.

I had an excellent specialist physiotherapist who explained that if you're not infected, you need to 'reset' the muscles and nerves by doing lots of Kegels and only peeing on a full bladder. Bladders work best when they're either completely empty or completely full. So, in the recovery phase, try not to go until it's been at least 2 hours since the last time. Hold on even when you're sitting on the toilet ready to go, so that you're clear that 'you are in control, not your bladder'! Sounds daft but it really does work - once the underlying problem has been sorted out.
Posted by misspiggy on July 19, 2012 at 8:14 AM · Report this
Helix 33
Cranberry extract pills. Seriously. My fiancee swears by them. She's super prone to UTIs but they keep her from getting any.
Posted by Helix on July 19, 2012 at 8:55 AM · Report this
Helix 34
And before someone goes "rawr, holistic bullshit!" it's because cranberries synthesize an anti-adherent that stops bacteria from sticking to your urethra when it comes out in your pee. It basically makes your pee flush the bacteria in your urethra out.

It may not work 100% for people who are super duper prone, but it's definitely helpful and can cut down on frequency, and they're pretty cheap.
Posted by Helix on July 19, 2012 at 8:57 AM · Report this
It finally happened. I finally disagree with Dan Savage's advice. As someone with frequent UTIs my whole life, the idea of letting someone "hold it" like this makes my bladder ache with sympathy. As others have mentioned, this isn't just an issue of discomfort. Recurrent UTI can lead to antibiotic resistance, kidney problems, etc. This kink is not wort the endangerment for someone with this specific problem.
Posted by JSilver on July 19, 2012 at 9:50 AM · Report this
Not everyone who has that burning "UTI" feeling has a UTI. Google interstitial cystitis and see a urinary specialist to determine what exactly your problem is.
I kept going back to several different doctors and kept testing negative. I was also tested for every STI on the planet. Finally, after much googling myself, I asked one doctor about interstitial cystitis. She sent me to a urinary specialist who determined I really had interstitial cystitis.
Diet plays a lot in controlling it, but it's so worth it. I've been totally free from urinary pain for 2 years now.
Posted by no more urinary pain on July 19, 2012 at 10:02 AM · Report this
Corylea 37
Dan, I usually love your advice, but you're way off on this one. I used to get UTI's all the time, and not only are they really miserable, but they can be medically dangerous -- it's a real infection, and you can die from it.

LW, if I were you, I'd reconsider a relationship with someone who wanted me to endanger my health for him.

Posted by Corylea on July 19, 2012 at 10:09 AM · Report this
Even a person who isn't prone to UTIs should not necessarily be holding it in with a full bladder for fun. Mythbusters did a test of driving with a full bladder vs. driving drunk (having to pee was actually more hazardous), and they had a physician at the track doing frequent ultrasounds to make sure the driver wasn't in danger.
Posted by Phyllistine on July 19, 2012 at 10:29 AM · Report this
Just a comment.. might not be a dominance thing.. My BF's kink is for me to pee down his balls during sex. Being a good Dan Savage reader I'm GGG about indulging this occasionally (plus it allows me to feel dominant which is fun ;0) ) If we try to indulge this during regular sex the flow is disappointing and I find it difficult to let go so I've been known to drink extra and hold it in to wait for him to get home (this tends to be the result of some serious dirty texting over a day) so I literally burst on him. That said, it's quite a rare indulgence not an every day (or even every month) thing and he knows that if I get so desperate I think a UTI is a risk (I'm quite prone too, I'll nearly always get one of I don;t pee within 1/2 hour or so of sex) and he's not back yet then tough on him, he has to miss out that day.
Posted by UK girlie on July 19, 2012 at 11:10 AM · Report this
The peeing after sex trick is a lifesaver. After a trip to the ER when I was 17 and peeing blood, I talked to my doctor about causes and she taught it to me. I haven't had one since, more than 10 years later. To the LW, I would explain to your boyfriend exactly what the risks involved are and that his kinks are going to make things worse (in this particular case). If he can't get past it, DTMFA!
Posted by Cherry on July 19, 2012 at 11:20 AM · Report this
This is at least the second time I've read/heard Dan being dangerously casual about UTIs, and I think it's a shame that he's not taking people's health issues seriously enough to, say, consult someone who actually knows something about them - Dr. Internet doesn't count. It's questionable, too, the way he keeps characterising the piss play as something "erotic for [them] both" and "a thing [they] both enjoy" when the asker specifically says it doesn't turn her on and she's just aroused by his excitement, which is not the same thing. That's not just being recklessly reassuring to a genuine enthusiast, it's talking her into something.

MVS should know that it would be perfectly fair to choose not being miserable constantly, with terrible pain during a frequent, basic physical function; not dealing with the effects and after-effects of repeated courses of potent antibiotics; and not potentially putting major organs in unnecessary danger over this one thing her boyfriend wants - and that the right thing to do would be to try and work out something that isn't so risky, even if it means compromise on the part of the boyfriend. Perhaps by faking it, as Orsh suggested. Perhaps by finding a cure for her proneness to infections in the first place, as many others have said. Or perhaps by her boyfriend simply getting his priorities in order. But just going on in essentially the same way is not only unfair to her (and it really reflects badly on the bf, IMO that he would be OK with this), it's dangerous to her in a way that deserves to be taken much more seriously than this answer does.
Posted by hatless on July 19, 2012 at 11:27 AM · Report this
This is at least the second time I've read/heard Dan being dangerously casual about UTIs, and I think it's a shame that he's not taking people's health issues seriously enough to, say, consult someone who actually knows something about them - Dr. Internet doesn't count. It's not great, either, the way he keeps characterising the piss play as something "erotic for [them] both", "a thing [they] both enjoy", and a kink she's "grown to love" as much as she loves her partner, when the asker specifically says it doesn't turn her on and she's just happy about his arousal, which is not the same thing. It's more than just being recklessly reassuring to a genuine enthusiast, it's talking someone into something it's not clear she's particularly excited about in the first place.

MVS should know that it would be perfectly fair and decent to choose not being miserable constantly and dealing with terrible pain during a frequent, basic physical function; not suffering the effects and after-effects of repeated courses of potent antibiotics (they can fuck you right up); and not potentially putting major organs in unnecessary danger over this one thing her boyfriend wants - and that the right thing to do would be to try and work something out that isn't so risky, even if it means actual compromise on the part of the boyfriend. Perhaps by faking it, as Orsh suggested. Perhaps by finding a cure for her proneness to infections in the first place. Or perhaps by her boyfriend simply getting his priorities in order - and it really reflects badly on him, btw, if he's OK with her facing all this over his kink with no consequences to himself. But just going on in essentially the same way is not only unfair, it's dangerous to the asker in a way that deserves to be taken much more seriously than Dan just has.
Posted by hatless on July 19, 2012 at 11:30 AM · Report this
@24 Sometimes my urethra burns when I pee after eating very spicy food. It's not intense, but not comfortable, either.
Posted by LiveAndLet on July 19, 2012 at 12:44 PM · Report this
To prevent UTIs, I would suggest using a bidet to wash the genitals before and again after using the toilet or having sex. If a bidet is too expensive, there is also a gadget that looks like a giant water-pik and is sold as a diaper rinser. It attaches to the toilet's water line. FWIW, Google returns a lot of articles on the benefits of the bidet, including studies on reducing UTIs. There don't seem to be any articles that say otherwise.
Posted by Keef on July 19, 2012 at 12:59 PM · Report this
I just want to chime in: Yes, listen to all this very good advice about reoccurring bladder infections. Yes, see a doc, not one that says "oh, this happens to women"; find one who wants to HELP.
BUT, I thought I had reoccurring bladder infections for YEARS. Nothing ever showed up on a culture. My docs were baffled, but prescribed antibiotics anyway. Three days later, the symptoms went away. I would get the symptoms after sex, after masturbating, after my period, it stopped making sense. After much searching, and now hormone therapy, the symptoms were being caused by my vulvodynia - it hurts for me to get aroused, to have sex - and the pain, once triggered, could last for days and can feel identical to a bladder infection. I have since found treatment, and so far, no more mysterious "bladder infections".
So, listen to all the above advice, BUT if you have vaginal/vulva pain otherwise, find someone to treat that too.
Posted by ChrissyinMA on July 19, 2012 at 1:40 PM · Report this
I have to add my voice to those who normally agree with Dan but do not in this situation.

While I don't have a problem with UTIs, I do have serious digestive problems (Crohn's) and if my lover wanted me to hold my bowels until he said it was OK, just for his own pleasure, I would DMTF! It's just too damn painful and dangerous.

Even without having a propensity for the UTIs, it is dangerous to hold your urine, or fecal matter, for long periods of time. It can cause serious damage to your organs (and in men it can cause erectile issues).

I'm all for kink and play, but anything that could seriously harm me or my partner is going too far.
Posted by SherBee on July 19, 2012 at 4:02 PM · Report this
Estrogen is responsible for keeping your vagina and urinary tract healthy. Are you on the low dose pill? (Lo-estren, ortho-tri-cyclen lo, ect.) If so, switch to the higher dose one and see if the problem clears up. I tried that myself after noticing that I didn't have any UTI's while pregnant, but they came back immediately afterwards.
Posted by AlliMike on July 19, 2012 at 4:30 PM · Report this
bladder infections do not have to rule out vaginal intercourse. lf you have multiple bladder infection brought on by vaginal intercourse, it is actually advisable to take a dose of antibiotics on the days you have sex because bladder infections respond to very small quantities of antibiotics and one dose can prevent infection (ask your dr). Holding it is a terrible terrible idea. Not only can it cause a bladder infection, it can cause urine to reflux back into the kidneys and causing kidney infections. And of course, always try to pee after sex.
Posted by aleena on July 19, 2012 at 6:32 PM · Report this
Letter writer: please do not take medical advice given on the internet by someone who is not a doctor.

Dan: please do not give medical advice, as you are unqualified and may be endangering the health or even life of the advisee. It is surprisingly easy for urinary tract infections to lead to sepsis (bacteria in the blood), which can cause death (even if treated).
Posted by Thisbe on July 19, 2012 at 6:39 PM · Report this
Yes, google interstitial cystitis (IC), which is a chronic condition where basically your bladder wall sucks. Though it is a somewhat specific condition, it's also often used as the catch-all classification for people (almost exclusively women) with problem bladders. It won't specifically explain the problem with your urethra, though people with problem bladders often have problem urethras. There's also a "condition" called female urethral syndrome, but that's not really an actual condition so much as a diagnostic label for people with urethral problems without an identified cause. It's worth googling both. There's an entire population of people out there with much the same story... they thought they got a UTI, but no bacteria was found, and the infection-like symptoms never went away. There are several steps and tests a urologist would go through with you, but people with these chronic conditions mostly have to help themselves and just experiment with what works because the truth is, medical science has NO IDEA what is going on with any of this stuff. I would recommend this website: This is the largest collection of people with bladder problems I've found on the net, and the discussions are very active and helpful.

I personally have similar symptoms as you, and the burning after urination (assuming you've ruled out STIs) does indicate there's probably a problem with your urethra as well as your bladder... people with just bladder issues feel the best right after they've peed. I have polyps in my urethra which I'm sure are part of the problem. My symptoms are much better when I'm on the pill as well, which is not the case for everybody, but makes me assume that in my case it's ultimately related to hormones somehow. The IC diet didn't personally help me much, but if you haven't tried it yet, it's worth a try. It's really just about cutting out acidic foods that irritate your bladder.

Hope this helps.

Posted by mysticstarling on July 19, 2012 at 7:07 PM · Report this
@49, Thisbe,please do not give advice to people on the Internet, since you are woefully unqualified to give it. On second thought--do whateverthehell you want, it's a free country. And we'll all take or reject advice,whether given by internet someones or real live doctors, using our very own brains to evaluate said advice.
People get bad advice from doctors every day, especially with regard to antibiotics. We should all be doing our own research and questioning everything doctors tell us to do. They used to fucking bleed us when they were out of answers, do you really thing they know everything? There's a reason there are Superbugs today. Doctors prescribe antibiotics for UTIs,and everyfuckingthingelse, and that's that... most don't give a rat's ass about herbal remedies, which DO work.
I have a child who gets frequent UTIs.. or did, until I stopped giving him everything doctors told me to. We've been UTI-free ever since I took charge and stopped wiping out his immune system with antibiotics.
Here's the thing... each UTI may have a different bacteria causing the problem. Here are the things I've found that really helped.
Cranberry pills are a preventative, but if you're suffering it may be too late for that. One cranberry based drink we used while he was having one was UTI-Stat, which also has D-Mannose in it, some asparagus... good stuff. Cleared up overnight. There's a similar formula at Fred Meyer's Health Food department, Uri-Active. It's great too.
D-Mannose is fantastic, but mostly against e-coli, which 90% of UTIs are. It's a powder you mix with a drink. Most women who get UTIs after sex are getting this one. Sorry. You boys should scrub yer filthy wieners. If I were a woman suffering from chronic post-coital UTIs, I'd keep this on hand and dose up on the cranberry. Having the powdered form of D-Mannose on hand, which is simply a sugar and not harmful, could save you a world of hurt.

Uva Ursi is great against Psuedomonas aeruginosa, which a doctor told me could only be cured by IV antibiotics administered twice a day for 10 days. He wanted to give my kid Gentamicin, an incredibly toxic drug that can cause liver damage--and even affect hearing. This is when I put my foot down and took the reigns. The active ingredient in Uva Ursi is Berberine sulfate, also found in Oregon Grape and Golden Seal. We used a tincture of Uva Ursi (found at Whole Foods) and cleared it up in a couple of days. You have to be careful not to take this when you're pregnant, or for extended periods of time. It also requires alkaline urine, so don't take it with cranberry or anything else acidic.
There's a helpful pdf of a study of all these natural approaches and more at Thorne Research under alt medicine. I'll try to post the link here. But if it doesn't work google "Thorne Natural Approaches to Prevention and Treatment of Infections of theLower Urinary Tract."…
Posted by portland scribe on July 19, 2012 at 7:49 PM · Report this
@21: You do realize you're explaining things to a NaturalNews-reading snake-oil believer, right? That site is a hive of quackery.
Posted by newagers find instacures for everything on July 19, 2012 at 8:38 PM · Report this
mtnlion 53
I fucking love how everyone's a medical expert in this arena. This entire thread looks like Sloggers are a bunch of urethra-infected know-it-alls, and I mean that in a good way.
Posted by mtnlion on July 19, 2012 at 8:51 PM · Report this
shurenka 54
Not all risks are the same. The risk of UTIs brought on by sex can be minimized by good hygiene. It can be brought very low. The risk of holding your bladder you can't really bring down. I'm really surprised Dan didn't suggest exploring other types of domination (or piss play) with the boyfriend.

Maybe you could pretend to be holding it really badly but then "have an accident" as part of a roleplaying scenario. Slightly different kink, but maybe up your boyfriend's alley? And far less dangerous to your bladder.
Posted by shurenka on July 19, 2012 at 8:53 PM · Report this
Neptune 55
Thanks to everyone who answered me!

@29 Yes, gyno tested for STDs too, to rule them out. All negative. I should've mentioned that in my original comment.

@30 That's a really intereseting idea. Cool that it helped you solve your problem! I wonder if at-home UTI tests are available anywhere?

@43 I have tried to notice patterns or triggers for the burning, but it seems fairly unpredictable. It is more likely to happen when I'm dehydrated, though. I do remember one time when I was a kid, drinking orange juice made my pee burn, so maybe we're just sensitive-urethra-havers?
Posted by Neptune on July 19, 2012 at 9:42 PM · Report this
Oh, he should just make her pee with him present, not force her to control it. That way the power play is a kind of thing about embarrassment or a mild form of shame, and still physically healthy. He could even make her pee while giving him a blowjob or something.

I hate to admit it, but most dominants probably aren't that creative, though.
Posted by feminist perv on July 19, 2012 at 10:43 PM · Report this
Oh, yeah one more thing nobody has mentioned- candidia. It's a systemic fungal infection that can cause all kinds of weird symptoms. This book outlines the diet, which I tried. It didn't help me, see comment above, but I did lose about 10 lbs.…
Posted by AlliMike on July 20, 2012 at 7:06 AM · Report this
Candida, that is.
Posted by AlliMike on July 20, 2012 at 7:08 AM · Report this
Just read this re: Candida. I've not tried this, but this is a study done by naturpathic (sp?) doctor for Thorne research. I'd never heard of citrate salts, but it's worth looking up.

Citrate salts can also be of benefit for urinary
candidiasis, a condition associated with indwelling
catheters. In a study of hospitalized patients with
catheter-associated urinary Candida infection, 16 of
18 experienced significant increase in urinary pH and
disappearance of Candida after oral potassium-sodiumhydrogen-
citrate for two days to one month (average
seven days.)
Posted by portland scribe on July 20, 2012 at 10:44 AM · Report this
@Neptune- another very belated suggestion: if you think being dehydrated is causing it, maybe try setting a timer at regular intervals during the day and maybe once in the middle of the night to make sure you don't become dehydrated, rather than simply increasing your intake of water? And also limiting the amount of salty stuff you eat.
Posted by alsodehydrated on July 20, 2012 at 12:24 PM · Report this
@11 and others: EXACTLY. Dan doesn't have this one right--she and her partner need to find another thing to do because this ain't to be fucked with. Haven't had the UTIs, but have had a kidney transplant, and have a friend whose UTI got so bad in about 3 hours she was pissing clots of blood. That risk AIN'T WORTH IT!!
Posted by snowbird on July 20, 2012 at 4:16 PM · Report this
thecheesegirl 62
I used to get UTIs all. The. Fucking. Time. I would call the gyno and she'd have a script for Macrobid waiting for me when I got in. Turns out, I was just allergic to latex, and I didn't realize because a) I had sex, with condoms, nearly every day; and b) it would take about a day (sometimes more, sometimes less) for the infection to set in. I started using Skyn condoms and I haven't had a UTI in the past four years. So maybe try switching to non-latex condoms (Skyn are my favorite) and/or using a different kind of lube. Couldn't hurt!
Posted by thecheesegirl on July 20, 2012 at 10:30 PM · Report this
second vote for baking soda after @5. i've stopped about two dozen uti's in their tracks over the last decade using nothing more than 1/4 t of baking soda in a glass of water at the first sign of it.
Posted by Shannon Murphy on July 20, 2012 at 11:53 PM · Report this
he's not worth it!
Posted by kiki reina on July 21, 2012 at 9:17 PM · Report this
Clever_Innuendo 65
Man, I would NOT do that. I'm open-minded and all, but with this, It would be flat out NO.

When I was a kid, I had a serious bladder/kidney infection that put me in the hospital for a week. Since then, I have some mild incontinence when I cough/sneeze/orgasm and my bladder doesn't completely expel. So if I gotta go, I'm going to go. Fortunately, I've only had a couple of UTIs as an adult. They tend to be worse when I have a lot of sex in a short period of time and also drink too many sugary things, like soda. The really miserable part is that if it ever gets bad enough that I need an antibiotic, then the antibiotics cause me to have a yeast infection *every time* I take them. Had an ear infection last year and got a yeast infection from the antibiotics throwing off my natural chemistry and whatnot. So the whole scenario just wouldn't be worth it to me, with the ensuing UTI/antibiotics/yeast infection.
Posted by Clever_Innuendo on July 22, 2012 at 12:50 AM · Report this
Cranberry juice is a natural remedy for UTIs. She should drink a bottle of unsweetened, 100% cranberry juice instead of water when they do piss play. It must be unsweetened, because bacteria loves sugar. Without sugar, the juice will taste very bitter. But that might tie in nicely to the whole domination thing.
Posted by ocean spray on July 22, 2012 at 8:47 PM · Report this
Had exactly the same experience as 62, most lubes burn also. I suspect this might be quite common.
Posted by Cantbebotheredregistering on July 22, 2012 at 11:44 PM · Report this
Seriously bad advice there, Dan. Losing a kidney or two is not an acceptable price for being GGG.

You really need to grasp that a quick google is not an adequate substitute for 10 years of medical training...
Posted by dice on July 25, 2012 at 6:10 AM · Report this
Not so sure this is a great guy...too controlling.
But, an excellent treatment for bladder infections:

Now Foods, D-Mannose, 500 mg, 120 Capsules

great source
use coupon code $5.00 off
Good luck to you!
Posted by vita-chick on July 26, 2012 at 7:06 AM · Report this

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