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.
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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. 
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. 
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.
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.
A UTI is an overarching term that can refer to bacterial infection of the urethra, bladder, or kidneys.  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  :
If the infection works its way to the kidneys to cause a kidney infection, one might experience more severe symptoms, such as :
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. 
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. 
To prevent UTIs, always :
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:
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.
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. 
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. 
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 :
A healthcare provider can diagnose the condition using a pelvic exam or tests, such as  :
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.
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:
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.
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. 
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. 
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. 
Fortunately, these symptoms typically subside as the body's natural healing processes take effect. To further promote the healing process, you can:
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.
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.