Row of toilets to represent burning when you pee after sex

Why Does it Burn When I Pee After Sex?

Medically reviewed on Aug 7, 2023 by Jillian Foglesong Stabile, MD, FAAFP. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

Table of contents

Whether or not you’re sexually active, you may have heard that peeing after sex can help flush germs from your urethra—the tube from which urine moves from the bladder and out of your body. [1]

Generally, this practice helps prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs), in which bacteria can travel through the urethra to the bladder and kidneys. This type of urinary tract infection can cause a frequent need to urinate and a burning sensation while peeing. [2]

That said, UTIs aren’t the only cause of painful urination, also called dysuria. This uncomfortable condition may also arise as a result of a sexually transmitted infection (STI), poor lubrication, or even an allergic reaction.

Reasons For Painful Urination After Sex

Both vaginal and penile burning can occur following unprotected sex. That said, the causes aren’t always universal. A variety of factors and bacteria can impact the reproductive and urinary systems during sex, which include the urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys.

To that end, let’s explore five common reasons you may experience a burning sensation when you pee after sex.

1. Urinary Tract Infection

A UTI is an overarching term that can refer to bacterial infection of the urethra, bladder, or kidneys. [2] Most often, this type of infection is caused by fecal bacteria, such as E. coli, which can spread from the anus to the urethra.

If left untreated, the bacteria will continue to work its way up through the urinary tract and may cause a bladder infection. People with a bladder infection may experience [2] :

  • Burning while peeing
  • Frequent urination or need to urinate
  • Bloody urine
  • Lower abdominal cramping

If the infection works its way to the kidneys to cause a kidney infection, one might experience more severe symptoms, such as [2]:

  • Fever and chills
  • Lower back pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

While engaging in sexual activity or sexual intercourse can increase your risk of contracting a UTI, you can also develop a UTI outside of sexual activity. For example, pregnancy, poor hygiene, and an enlarged prostate may all contribute to a UTI and, thus, symptoms of painful urination. [2]

Fortunately, UTIs are treatable. If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, visit a healthcare provider. During your appointment, they’ll likely administer a urine test to identify bacteria within your urinary system. When/if diagnosed, your healthcare provider will likely prescribe an antibiotic to treat the infection. [2]

To prevent UTIs, always [2]:

  • Pee after sex
  • Hydrate well
  • Avoid baths

2. Sexually Transmitted Infection

Several STIs can cause a burning sensation when peeing since these infections can often lead to irritation and inflammation of the genital tissues and urinary tract. These STIs include:

  • Chlamydia – Chlamydia can infect people assigned female at birth (AFAB) and people assigned male at birth (AMAB), although symptoms are more likely to present in people AFAB. Like a UTI, chlamydia is caused by the infection of a bacteria (Chlamydia trachomatis), which causes an inflammatory response. Oftentimes, chlamydia is asymptomatic. If left untreated, the bacteria can significantly impact the reproductive system and may affect fertility and sexual health. It can cause a much more difficult to treat infection such as pelvic inflammatory disease. People who do have symptoms may experience abnormal penile and vaginal discharge, as well as a burning sensation when peeing. [3,4]
  • Gonorrhea – The N. gonorrhoeae bacterium can infect the mucous membranes of the reproductive tract, causing gonorrhea. In people AFAB, this includes the cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, and urethra. In people AMAB, the bacteria primarily impacts the urethra. In addition to dysuria, people infected with gonorrhea may also experience unusually colored discharge and testicular pain (if AMAB). Most often, people AFAB are asymptomatic or experience very mild symptoms that are commonly mistaken as UTIs. Like chlamydia, gonorrhea can negatively impact the reproductive system if left untreated. [5]
  • Trichomoniasis – This type of STI is caused by a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. While trich is more common in people AFAB (impacting the vulva, vagina, cervix, or urethra), people AMAB can contract the parasite, too (impacting the urethra). Symptoms include a burning sensation while peeing or ejaculating, as well as severe genital itching, unusual discharge, and discomfort during sexual intercourse. [6]
  • Genital herpes – Genital herpes is caused by the HSV-1 or HSV-2 virus. The STI manifests as sores or blisters around the genital area, although symptoms are often mild or absent altogether. In addition to painful sores, those with genital herpes may also experience painful urination, unusual discharge, and flu-like symptoms. [7,8]

Since many STI symptoms go unnoticed, it’s critical to undergo regular healthcare screenings, particularly if you’re experiencing symptoms such as painful urination. Typically, STIs are treated with antibiotic, antiviral, or antiparasitic medications.

3. Lack Of Lubrication

Vaginal dryness, also called vaginal atrophy, is most common in people who are postmenopausal, meaning they’ve already undergone the hormonal changes that occur during menopause. However, symptoms can arise as early as perimenopause. [9]

During this time, estrogen levels decrease and the vaginal lining can become thin and dry, which may cause itching, burning, and painful sex. Estrogen levels can also decrease following cancer treatment or an ovary removal procedure. Birth control, certain medications, immune disorders, breastfeeding, and smoking cigarettes can also play a role in low estrogen levels. [9]

That said, vaginal atrophy is more recently characterized as what’s called genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) to account for the urinary symptoms that often accompany low estrogen levels and vaginal dryness.9 In addition to a burning feeling when urinating, people with this condition may also experience [9]:

  • Frequent UTIs
  • Incontinence
  • Frequent urination
  • Bloody urination
  • Vaginal itching or burning
  • Unusual discharge
  • Painful sex
  • Spotting or bleeding during sex

A healthcare provider can diagnose the condition using a pelvic exam or tests, such as [9] :

  • Pap smear
  • Ultrasound
  • Urine sample
  • Vaginal acidity test
  • Vaginal infection test

If diagnosed, your healthcare provider will likely prescribe a hormonal treatment plan, be it topical estrogen or hormone replacement therapy. That said, using lubricants during protected or unprotected sex may help reduce friction and prevent more painful symptoms related to vaginal atrophy.

4. Allergic Reaction

Allergic reactions or irritations can occur in response to various products commonly used during sexual activity, including condoms, lubricants, and spermicides. As a result, people may experience discomfort or a burning sensation upon exposure to the allergen and following sex:

  • Condoms – Often made from latex or alternative materials, condoms contain proteins that can trigger allergic responses in susceptible individuals. Latex allergies can manifest as itching, redness, swelling, and in severe cases, a rash or burning sensation. Non-latex condoms made from polyurethane or polyisoprene are alternatives for those with latex sensitivities. [10]
  • Lubricants – Frequently used to enhance comfort during intercourse, lubricants may contain additives or fragrances that some people are allergic to. These substances can induce irritation and burning in sensitive genital tissues. Opting for hypoallergenic, fragrance-free lubricants can help mitigate such reactions. [11]
  • Spermicides – Utilized for contraception and often found in combination with other barrier methods, spermicides can also provoke allergic reactions. The active ingredient in many spermicides, nonoxynol-9, might lead to irritation, dryness, and a burning sensation. If you’re prone to such reactions, you may want to explore alternative contraceptive options. [12]

If symptoms persist for more than two days, or if they worsen, consult a healthcare professional for guidance. They can help identify the cause and explore appropriate solutions to help reduce painful or uncomfortable symptoms.

Private STD consultations

5. Trauma Or Injury

The genital tissues are naturally designed to accommodate various levels of physical contact. That said, excessive force, pressure, or friction can cause pain or discomfort, usually in the form of friction blisters, inflammation, and even microtears. [13]

These microtears, although often small and not visibly apparent, can disrupt the protective barrier of the skin and mucous membranes, rendering the affected area more susceptible to irritation and inflammation. This can cause discomfort and burning, particularly when urine comes into contact with the compromised tissue. [14]

The burning sensation experienced during urination after such activities can be likened to the sensation felt when applying antiseptic to a wound. The urine, which is usually sterile, may temporarily exacerbate the irritation caused by the microtears or abrasions in the genital area. Additionally, the increased blood flow to the region during sexual activity can amplify the sensitivity of the tissues, making them more responsive to any form of irritation. [15]

Fortunately, these symptoms typically subside as the body's natural healing processes take effect. To further promote the healing process, you can:

  • Ensure you get adequate rest
  • Maintain good hygiene
  • Avoid abrasive activity

If the discomfort persists, worsens, or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms like bleeding, severe pain, or visible signs of infection, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Note: It's important to prioritize open communication and mutual consent with your partner to ensure a safe and comfortable sexual experience. Lubrication and gradual escalation of intensity can help reduce the risk of trauma or injury. Should such incidents occur, giving the body time to recover is crucial to prevent long-term complications and ensure healthy sexual well-being.

Understand Your Body Well With Everlywell

Wondering, why does it burn when I pee after sex? While the cause may be directly related to sexual activity—such as vaginal dryness, rough sex, or the use of potential allergens—painful urination can also arise as a result of UTIs and STIs. You might be asking, “Can I take an STD test at home?”

To help you stay on top of your sexual health, Everlywell offers convenient and affordable at-home STD tests which check for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis, among others.

Looking for more one-on-one support? Set up a telehealth appointment with a licensed clinician to discuss symptoms and possible treatment plans from the comfort of your home.

No matter what you’re looking for, we’re here to help you feel well again.

STDs That Cause Frequent Urination

8 STI Symptoms You Should Never Ignore

What STD Causes Painful Urination?


  1. Is peeing after sex important? Cleveland Clinic. Published February 1, 2022. URL. Accessed August 4, 2023.
  2. Urinary tract infection. CDC. Published October 6, 2021. URL. Accessed August 4, 2023.
  3. Redgrove K, McLaughlin E. The Role of the Immune Response in Chlamydia trachomatis Infection of the Male Genital Tract: A Double-Edged Sword. Front Immunol. Published October 2014. URL. Accessed August 4, 2023.
  4. Chlamydia – CDC Basic Fact Sheet. CDC. Published April 12, 2022. URL. Accessed August 4, 2023.
  5. Gonorrhea – CDC Detailed Fact Sheet. CDC. Published April 11, 2023. URL. Accessed August 4, 2023.
  6. Trichomoniasis – CDC Basic Fact Sheet. CDC. Published April 25, 2022. URL. Accessed August 4, 2023.
  7. Genital Herpes – CDC Basic Fact Sheet. CDC. Published January 3, 2022. URL. Accessed August 4, 2023.
  8. Genital Herpes. Mayo Clinic. Published November 22, 2022. URL. Accessed August 4, 2023.
  9. Vaginal Atrophy. Cleveland Clinic. URL. Accessed August 5, 2023.
  10. Latex Allergy. Cleveland Clinic. URL. Accessed August 5, 2023.
  11. Adriaens R, Remon J. Mucosal irritation potential of personal lubricants relates to product osmolality as detected by the slug mucosal irritation assay. URL. Accessed August 5, 2023.
  12. Spermicide (Vaginal Route). Mayo Clinic. Published July 1, 2023. URL. Accessed August 5, 2023.
  13. Genital friction blister - or something else, like herpes or an allergic or fungal rash?. STD Center. Published October 2, 2022. URL. Accessed August 5, 2023.
  14. Sloin M, Karimian M, Ilbeigi P. Nonobstetric lacerations of the vagina. doi: 106(5):271-3. URL. Accessed August 5, 2023.
  15. Woodard T, Diamond M. Physiologic Measures of Sexual Function in Women: A Review. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2008.04.041. URL. Accessed August 5, 2023.
Everlywell makes lab testing easy and convenient with at-home collection and digital results in days. Learn More