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PEE FOR Protection

Void before and after sex to prevent bacteria buildup.

Q: I'm a newlywed, and my sexual activity had increased enormously, to at least twice a day, which was great, but now we've stopped completely because I developed a bladder infection. Any hints on how to speed the healing process so we can get back to business? Could excess sex cause the infection?

A: Something very similar happened to me on my honeymoon (many moons ago). I wish someone had given me the following information beforehand: 'Pee before and after sex!' That would have saved me much pain and anguish'and I could have gotten much more sand in my navel rather than sitting around in my hotel room pathetically watching reruns of 'What's Happening!!'

Urinating before and after sex is a key element in keeping the urinary tract free of Escherichia coli, a bacterium normally found in the intestines, which causes 85 percent of the bladder infections in men and women. Bladder infections occur more often in women, though, because of the close proximity of the anus, vagina and urethra. During an eventful session of bumping and grinding, bacteria can be pushed inside the urinary tract opening. Voiding before sex helps to ensure that there is little bacteria to begin with between your legs, and voiding afterward gets rid of any bacteria that may have transferred from your partner. And, please, if you engage in anal sex, never reinsert the penis into the vagina unless you change condoms or wash the penis thoroughly. These measures aren't completely foolproof, but you'll find they usually do the job at keeping those pesky bladder infections at bay.

If you find that you're still prone to urinary infections, even when you meticulously urinate before and after coital relations, you may consider drinking cranberry juice. Doctors say the reason cranberry juice works in preventing urinary tract infections is because it adds acidity to your urine, which inhibits bacterial growth; however, the main reason cranberry juice works is because of a specific molecule in it called the Tamms-Horsfall molecule. The shape of the molecule resembles the sun, a circle with rays extending from it. Bacteria become trapped in between the rays and are passed on through in the urine. When shopping for cranberry juice, be sure to buy the pure, unsweetened juice. Forget the high-fructose corn syrup, tutti-frutti tropical fruit blends. If you can't tolerate the pure cranberry juice, there are cranberry capsules available in health food stores.

Other things to do when you have a bladder infection include:

'Drink plenty of steam-distilled water'at least eight ounces per hour.

'Include celery, parsley and watermelon in your diet, as they're natural diuretics and cleansers.

'Avoid citrus fruits; they make your urine too alkaline and will encourage bacterial growth.

'Avoid alcohol, caffeine, carbonated beverages, chocolate and simple sugars.

'If you take antibiotics to treat the infection, be sure to take two teaspoons of whey powder or two acidophilus capsules with each meal.

'Avoid taking excess zinc and iron supplements. Taking over 100 milligrams of zinc per day can suppress the immune system, and bacteria require iron to grow.

Remember, if left untreated, a bladder infection can lead to a kidney infection, which will take much longer to clear up. You should stay off your feet until you're 100 percent better'that means no training, heavy lifting and, sorry, but you and your hubby should really resort to other means than vaginal or anal intercourse to satisfy each other sexually until the infection goes completely away. I feel your pain! All my best wishes to the newlyweds! IM

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