How Doxycycline Saved My Sex Life

Earlier this year I wrote a post about UTIs and how to avoid them. In it, I repeated much of the standard stuff about wiping front to back and drinking plenty of water. I should have also mentioned wearing cotton underwear and not putting yogurt on your vagina if you’re prone to such infections, but I digress. What I want to talk about in this post is my experience I had with chronic UTIs. And I mean chronic in the sense that almost every time after PiV I would pee straight after intercourse and still get a UTI. Had it not been for my NP, I might’ve just thought I was condemned to a life of filling this or that prescription for different courses of Macrobid or Bactrim. But my NP wanted to get to the bottom of my burning problems, so she had me tested for something I’ve never heard of: ureaplasma.

These were my constant bedside buddies. They saw heavy use while I was thrown from UTI to UTI.

What is ureaplasma? According to my doctor, they’re part of a group of organisms called mycoplasmas, which are bacteria without cell walls. The ureaplasma in particular usually inhabit the vagina, cervix, and occasionally the urethra of the penis. This bacteria generally doesn’t cause problems, but on some rare incidences, the presence of ureaplasma in the urethra of a vulva can cause chronic UTIs. But how does this happen? The ureaplasma is not the bacteria of the infection, instead, it makes the colonization of infectious bacteria much easier. Ureaplasma is passed sexually, though it isn’t commonly listed as an STI because of its presence in healthy individuals who don’t experience any symptoms. This means that if one partner has an issue with the bacteria, both partners need to be treated to avoid passing the infection back and forth.

Testing for the ureaplasma was a bit difficult for me. I’m more than used to providing samples for urinalysis, but one of the tests for ureaplasma is the ‘clean catch’ test. This test involves collecting the urine sample mid-stream so that you can get a good look at the sample without any interference from the vaginal flora. To further this aim, the doctor provided me with some antibacterial wipes so that there would be as little interference from my vaginal flora as possible. Well, this kind of test required me to have impeccable timing and sadly I did botch it. Luckily, after I washed my hands, the second test was a vaginal swab and I was able to do that no problem. After I turned in my samples, I was given a stop gap prescription of Macrobid in the event that it wasn’t ureaplasma.

About four days later, the doctor confirmed that I did indeed have ureaplasma and was told to discontinue use of the Macrobid. I was prescribed a two week course of doxycycline, which some people know from using it as an anti-malarial. This medication had to be taken twice a day and I was barred from sexual intercourse, which wasn’t an issue since my partner was away for the summer.The medication was rough on my body, and there was one instance of it making me so ill that I vomited and had to call in sick from work. But I persevered and completed the medication course. But because of the nature of the bacteria, my partner also needed to take a round of medication or else he’d risk re-infecting me when we had sex. I cannot tell you what a blessing my partner is. When I was anxious about asking him to go in for this testing, he reassured me that he was more than happy to do this since he had been worried about hurting me and was glad there was a solution.

After the summer, he was finally able to convince the doctor to give him a swab test and a prescription. The swab test indeed confirmed he had the ureaplasma and he was given the go ahead to start his medication. He took doxycycline twice a day, though the nausea that I had experienced was notably absent. During this time, we refrained from what we termed ‘a touching reunion’ for a full month, waiting for the medication. It felt like an eternity waiting for him to finish the medication. But once we had both completed the medication, the satisfaction of being able to be sexually intimate with my partner again sans the persistent fear of infection was absolutely worth it.

Now that we’re nearly a month out from the medication, I’ve been pain and infection free despite having several PiV encounters with my partner. I’m keeping up with my prevention techniques by making sure I’m adequately hydrated and I’ve ditched all my thongs, but I feel noticeably improved. I’m sharing this story in the hopes that it reaches the people who are in a similar chronic UTI situation. While this may not be the case for everyone who has chronic UTIs, it’s something I’ve not seen talked about very often as a possible cause behind chronic infection. I believe that this lack of conversation around it has people buying every cranberry pill, taking lots of unnecessary medication which is contributing to antibiotic resistance and generally feeling broken because of their constant infection.  If you’re suffering from chronic UTIs, I would urge you to ask your doctor to test you for this. Insist if you have to, because sometimes getting your best healthcare requires self-advocating. Doxycycline quite literally saved my sex life and it might save yours too.


The Fire Down Below: UTIs

Do you have a vulva? Are you sexually active? Then you’ve likely had a UTI or a Urinary Tract Infection. I am someone who falls into the category of people that have UTIs chronically. For the better part of my sexually active life, I’ve been dealing with one infection after another. I’d feel that tell-tale burning in my vagina and sigh. I’d schedule a doctor’s appointment for the following day and wait up all night, enduring the burning of my urethra as I waited for it to be time to head out to the doctor. This burning followed a number of sexual encounters, such that it made my partner concerned that sex was hurting me. Luckily, this wasn’t the case and we found out the underlying issue, which I’ll talk about in a later post. For now, I’m going to give you some tricks and tips on dealing with your first or your 101st UTI.


The best treatment is prevention and I stand by that. If you can avoid having an infection that’s the most optimal case. I’ve seen a few tips posted all over so I’m going to share a few here for you.

  • Stay hydrated, pee when you need to: If you’re dehydrated and/or not going when you need to, you’re more susceptible to infection. Regularly staying hydrated will make harder for bacteria to hang out inside you!
  • D-Mannose: This is a powder that when taken orally makes it difficult for the bacteria to hang out in you as well. It sort of…coats your insides so that bacteria can’t hold onto the walls of your body.
  • Cranberry: This is what everyone claims works, but I’m honestly a little skeptical. If you do want to try cranberry, it’s unlikely to hurt you, but make sure you get something without sugar. If the juice is too tart for you to stomach (it was for me) then cranberry pills are a viable option.
  • Wipe front to back: This one is to prevent fecal matter from getting into your urethra and causing issue there.
  • Pee after sex, every time: This is to clear out whatever might’ve been pushed into your urethra from just about any form of sex, though it’s most common that people with vulvas get UTIs after penetrative sex.
  • Making sure both you and your partner have showered or freshened up: A) this is nice because they’ll smell nice and fresh and B) it’ll help prevent UTIs if you’re rinsed off before hand.

Following all of these is not a guarantee of preventing a UTI of course. You could be the most hydrated, cranberry-swilling, D-Mannose-swallowing babe out there and still come down with a UTI. However, these are the most common tips to avoid getting one.


So what happens when you do get one? I do have some tips for those in the grip of an infection as well. These will make your infection suck less and will help you heal, as well as get a little pain relief.

  • Go to a doctor: The most important thing is that you get medication as quick as you can. While UTIs aren’t terribly dangerous at first, they can get worse, spreading to your bladder and kidneys. I’m not saying you’re immediately going to your kidneys, but this is something you should only ever sit on for a few days at most. Schedule an appointment as soon as you can so you can get better faster.
  • Hydrate: Drink lots of water. Find the biggest water bottle you have. Fill it and drink all of it. Then do it again. This will help flush your system and make getting over your infection easier.
  • AZO is your friend: These are over the counter drugs that are painkillers and will make your life more manageable as you wait to see the doctor. I recommend that every person with a vulva and every person who is dating a person with a vulva have something like this in the house along with Monistat. UTIs can cause some serious pain, and if you absolutely have to do things before going to the doctor, this will make your life much easier while you do it. But absolutely this is no substitute for going to the doctor.
  • Ice: For a little relief, you can fill a Ziploc with ice, wrap a washcloth around it and sit on it. Make sure there’s a barrier between the ice and your vulva, otherwise it could cause more pain!
  • Avoid sugar and caffeine: Sugar will make your body more inviting to bacteria, which you don’t want. Caffeine is a bladder irritant, and may make your pain worse. As sucky as it is, you might have to go decaf for a week so that you can heal.
  • Don’t have sex: Listen, the medication you’re going to take is likely going to make you feel better in 24-36 hours. You are not better yet. Take all of your medication and then wait until seven days have past before going for penetration again. Otherwise, you can make your infection worse or end up having a ‘partially treated’ UTI that necessitates another round of medication. It sucks, don’t do it.

With these tips in mind, you should start feeling better. Take the advice of your doctor and make sure that you’re hydrated and you should be well on your way to getting over a UTI in about a week. Take care y’all!