There's an unspoken "golden" rule amongst the sexually active, particularly vulva owners, to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs)—always get up and pee after sex, no matter how tired and satiated you are. After all that grinding and thrusting, bacteria (be it your own or your partner's) near the anus and vaginal openings can wiggle its way up through the urethra and wreak havoc on the urinary tract. Urinating can help flush it out, keeping your bits n' pieces happy and healthy.
But there's another rule we should be following in the bedroom to prevent UTIs—use lots of lube, particularly if you're prone to the painful, burning infections. "If the vagina is dry during intercourse, the friction can cause micro-trauma and may actually increase the chance of bacteria getting into the urethra and causing an infection," says Jill Purdie, MD, OB/GYN, a gynecologist and medical director for Pediatrix Medical Group in Atlanta.
That's where the best lubes for people prone to UTIs come in. Dr. Purdie says lubing up can help, ahem, things glide more easily, especially during penetrative sex, which in turn, prevents bacteria from getting where it shouldn't. Ahead, find Dr. Purdie's tips for choosing a lube that works best for you, plus some of her favorites to keep in your nightstand.
How to choose the best lubes for people prone to UTIs
When it comes to choosing the type of lube, Dr. Purdie says to opt for silicone-based or water-based lubricants. "Silicone-based lubricants are generally longer lasting, do not damage normal vaginal bacteria, or cause any micro-trauma to the vagina," she explains.
Since the pH of water-based lubricants are similar to the vaginal pH, they make great options, too, and don't run the risk of infection. Just note, water-based lubricants may not grease the vagina as long as other lubes, so some people may prefer silicone-based lube for its longer-lasting properties.
Keep an eye on the other ingredients, too. Some lubricants contain ingredients that disrupt or damage the natural vaginal flora or pH levels, which can increase the risk of infection. One ingredient that Dr. Purdie recommends avoiding is chlorhexidine gluconate "as one study showed it killed off all the good vaginal bacteria." Additionally, steer clear of lubricants that label themselves as warming, as those can "actually dry out the vagina, which can increase friction," adds Dr. Purdie.
Originally $36, now $20
Dr Purdie love’s Überlube’s Silicone Lubricant for its long-lasting texture and sensitive-skin friendly formula. Unscented, flavorless, and free of parabens, this lube is less likely to irritate UTI-prone people and won’t disrupt natural pH levels. What’s more, it’s not sticky, won’t stain, and is infused with vitamin E to leave your parts more hydrated during sexy time.
Head to Amazon and you’ll find five-star review after five-star review, totaling nearly 28,000 reviews. One reviewer said: “We won’t use anything else! No sticky fingers or body parts, no smell, no taste, not greasy, and never stains! It’s super effective at enhancing pleasure!” Yes, please.
- Infused with vitamin E
- Free of parabens, scents, and flavors
This best-selling lube by Adam & Eve is a popular choice for its slippery, dolphin-smooth texture that feels amazing on skin and is so easy to clean up. Its glide-y feel is so silky, it can even be used underwater, so if you’re getting hot in the hot tub or steaming up the shower, you won’t have to worry about it rinsing away. Shoppers love it for masturbation, partnered sex, and especially anal sex; one names it their “go-to lube” for “backyard sex.” Another writes, “it feels so silky smooth. We have found that it is amazing for sex, whether she is getting a little dry or if we are doing anal.”
If you’re using toys, keep it to glass, steel, or rubber as the oil can degrade silicone over time.
- Great value
- Not sticky or hard to clean up
- Slippery even under water
- Can’t be used with silicone toys
The Honey Pot Company was founded by someone who battled bacterial vaginosis (another uncomfortable bacterial infection) for eight months and was tired of the suspect feminine care products available to consumers. The business now makes lubes, washes, menstrual products, and more, powered by plants.
Enter, this silky soft hybrid lube that features a silicone-water base, so you get the best of both worlds. It’s formulated for extra slip, minus anything that might irritate your vagina.
- Silicone- and water-based
- Can’t be used with silicone toys
Maude gets the vibes right with this Shine Organic Lube, which is as gentle as they come. This silicone-based lubricant stays moist all night long and is totally hypoallergenic in the sense that it has no fragrance, parabens, dyes, or nasty chemicals that might cause discomfort. Not to mention, the formulation is non-sticky and glides on effortlessly. In addition to being friendly to the vaginal flora, Shine Silicone can be used underwater and with condoms (woohoo). Just be careful with your silicone toys—as with any silicone-based lubes, the oils can break down vibrators and dildos over time.
- Can be used underwater and with condoms
- Free from chemicals, fragrance, and parabens
- Can’t be used with silicone toys
Originally $26, now $18
If you’re looking to get wet n’ wild with a water-based lube, Dr. Purdie recommends Sliquid’s H20. This slippery lubricant not only enhances your pleasure points but is free of likely irritants like gluten, glycerin, glycol, and parabens. And since it’s a water-based lube, it’s safe to use on latex, rubber, plastic, and silicone toys. *Adds to cart.*
- Free of gluten, glycerin, glycol, and parabens
- Safe to use on condoms and silicone toys
- Not as long-lasting as silicone
- Expensive when not on sale
Another great option for slippery stuff is, well, this lube from Slippery Stuff. This gel doesn’t leave a sticky residue and is free of odors, which helps UTIs at bay. Don’t believe us? One reviewer called it the “best lube ever” and said it’s, “the only one that doesn’t increase my chances of a UTI! It’s awesome.” Noted.
- Doesn’t leave a sticky residue
- May not be as long-lasting
Good Clean Love is beloved by many gynecologists for its organic formulas. This one includes organic aloe, which may help to reduce inflammation. It’s free of petrochemicals, parabens, and glycerin to prevent a disruption to your vaginal flora while offering hydrating and moisturizing benefits and without damaging condoms or toys. One reviewer notes, “other lubes turn into a sticky mess. This stuff doesn’t. It feels way more natural and is easier to clean up. Also, it has a very nice smell… kind of reminds me of whipped cream for some reason.” A little dab of this will go a long way. Pleasure island, here we come (pun intended).
- Has aloe
- Free of petrochemicals, parabens, and glycerin
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