UTI From A Vibrator: How It Happens — And How To Avoid It

While you can contract a urinary tract infection (UTI) after using a vibrator, the bacteria on its surface is to blame — not the vibrator itself.
Photograph Of Upset Woman Holding Her Head In Her Hands While Sitting On The Toilet, Discomfort From UTI Concept

Using a vibrator can lead to a urinary tract infection if you’re not careful but it’s important to note that the vibrator itself is not the culprit.

Here’s why:

  • Urinary tract infections are most commonly caused by bacteria found in fecal matter. The urethra is in close proximity to both the vagina and anus, making it easy for those bacteria to make their way inside.
  • The urethra is short, with minimal distance between its opening and the bladder. For this reason, bacteria can reach the bladder fairly quickly, causing a urinary tract infection.
  • UTIs are caused by bacteria that enter through the urethra and the best way to ensure that your vibrator is free from bacteria (or fungi that can cause yeast infections during vibrator use) is to keep it immaculately clean and use a vibrator made from nonporous material like silicone or ABS plastic.

Taking the proper precautions regarding cleaning and maintenance will mitigate the risk of urinary tract infections so you can enjoy your favorite vibrators — safely.

Things To Know
Can You Get A UTI From A Vibrator

Can You Get A UTI From A Vibrator?

Two-Panel Collage Displaying Sex Toys And Magnified Bacteria

Yes, you can get a urinary tract infection (UTI) or even a yeast infection from a vibrator, but they are easily avoidable if you know how they happen and understand the best ways to avoid them during vibrator use.

If you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection (UTI) before, you’ll take every precaution to not suffer through another one.

Ever.

Understandably, you might become apprehensive about using your vibrator out of fear that it could cause a UTI — and your concerns are entirely justified.

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How It Happens

How Can A Vibrator Cause A UTI?

Whether you’re having sex, masturbating, or using a vibrator, there is always the chance that fecal matter or related bacteria can be transferred to the urethra, increasing your risk for a UTI.

The urethra, which is connected to your bladder, is where your urine is expelled.

The problem is that the urethra is close to your vagina and anus, the latter being a common source of UTI-causing bacteria.

The urethra itself has a very short passageway between its entrance and the bladder; when bacteria make their way inside, they arrive at the bladder easily, causing an infection in the process.

A vibrator is likely to make contact with the urethra, especially if it is designed for vaginal penetration, transferring the bacteria on its surface during use.

If you don’t practice proper vibrator care and cleaning, you increase your risk of a UTI.

Additionally, if your vibrator is made from porous material like PVC, rubber or jelly rubber, Cyberskin, or TPR/TPE blends, its surface can harbor bacteria — even if you’ve cleaned it.

Bacteria can become trapped within tiny, microscopic “pores” along the vibrator’s surface.

Porous sex toy materials are difficult to clean and just about impossible to sanitize, so it’s best to avoid them entirely.

Instead, select a toy with a nonporous material like silicone or ABS plastic, which have surfaces that cannot be permeated.

They’re much easier to clean thoroughly and sanitize, and they won’t harbor any germs along their surface afterward.

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How To Avoid It

How To Avoid UTIs From Vibrator Use

The easiest way to avoid getting a urinary tract infection after using a vibrator is to make sure that your vibrator is clean before it makes contact with your body, but there is a bit more to it.

To avoid getting a UTI from your vibrator, you should:

  • Make sure your vibrator is crafted from nonporous material – such as silicone or ABS plastic
  • Clean your vibrator before every use and during use if it is being shared between partners
  • Clean your vibrator between orifices if you’re using it vaginally and anally
  • Use a pH-balanced lubricant that is safe for your vibrator’s material
  • Avoid most oil-based lubricants, as they not only increase the risk of vaginal infections, they can also degrade latex and rubber vibrators or latex and polyurethane condoms used to cover vibrators
  • Urinate after using your vibrator to help flush bacteria from your urethra

The most important part of UTI avoidance during vibrator use is to clean it properly before it ever makes contact with your genital skin and when switching between partners.

Vibrators made from nonporous materials such as silicone or ABS plastic are not only easier to clean thoroughly, but they’re also better for your body overall.

Additionally, if your vibrator can be used vaginally and anally and you intend to do so, always clean your vibrator between orifices.

If you’re covering your vibrator with a condom during use, change condoms between orifices.

Urinary tract infections can be caused by fecal bacteria that make their way into the urethra.

Never place a vibrator (or any sex toy) in your vagina after it’s been in your anus without cleaning it first.

Especially if you’re prone to UTIs already, it’s best to avoid any vibrator contact with your anus — even if just externally, or briefly.

We cannot stress the importance of keeping fecal bacteria away from your urethra.

If your vibrator is well-lubed and “slips” past your perineum (the area located between your vagina and anus), stop what you’re doing and clean it — just as an extra precaution.

On the subject of lube, you’ll want to select one that is pH-balanced and safe for your toy’s material.

A pH-balanced lubricant helps to maintain optimal vaginal health, lowering the risk of infection in the process.

Most oil-based lubricants are notorious for increasing the risk of vaginal infections and although they may not affect UTIs specifically, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Finally, any lubricant that you use with your vibrator should be compatible with its material to avoid degradation.

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Cleaning Your Vibrator

How To Clean A Vibrator To Avoid A UTI

Cleaning a vibrator is relatively easy and doesn’t require much in the way of time.

Just a few simple steps will keep your vibrator clean as a whistle. Watch below:


Supplies Needed For Cleaning A Vibrator:

Steps For Cleaning A Vibrator:

  1. Check your sex toy’s material and select the right cleaner
  2. Spray or wipe it with your favorite sex toy cleaner OR use a clean cloth with warm water and soap
  3. Rinse with water or use a clean damp cloth to remove soap or cleaner residue
  4. Let it air dry
  5. Store it in a cool, dry place or clean, lint-free pouch

Special Considerations: Vibrators have motors, so be sure to take out any batteries if they are removable. Do not submerge the vibrator in water unless it is 100% waterproof, and make sure the toy’s material is compatible with the cleaner you are using.

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If You Get A UTI After Using A Vibrator

What To Do If You Get A UTI After Using A Vibrator

If you find yourself with a urinary tract infection after using your vibrator — or think you might have one — it’s important to understand what a UTI is, the symptoms associated with one, and when to see your doctor.

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What Is A UTI

What Is A UTI?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a bacterial infection (most often E.coli although not always) that occurs anywhere along your urinary system, which includes your kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra.

In healthy people, most UTIs affect the lower urinary tract — namely the urethra and bladder.

If you’re pregnant or going through menopause, you may be more susceptible to UTIs due to fluctuating hormones.

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Symptoms Of UTI

Symptoms Of UTI

You will likely know if you have a UTI because you will usually feel the sensations associated with one.

Symptoms of a urinary tract infection include:

  • A strong, persistent urge to urinate
  • A strong, persistent urge to urinate at night (nocturia)
  • A burning sensation when urinating, although not always
  • Cramping or “spasms” in the low abdomen during urination
  • Not feeling as though you’re “done” urinating after doing so
  • Frequently passing small amounts of urine
  • Urine that appears cloudy
  • Urine that looks red, bright pink, or dark-colored — a sign of blood in the urine
  • Traces of pink on toilet paper when wiping — another sign of blood in the urine
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Pelvic pain in women
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What Does A UTI Feel Like

What Does A UTI Feel Like?

A urinary tract infection can feel differently depending on the time of onset and the duration and severity of the symptoms, but it does not feel good, to say the least.

If you have one, you will most likely suspect it.

Our editor-in-chief explained that her frequent UTIs vary in terms of the symptoms and sensations associated with one.

“I rarely experience burning during urination,” she said. “My first symptoms typically involve the strong urge to pee, not feeling like I’m done after I do, and bladder spasms that are often intense and painful.”

“A recent UTI was largely asymptomatic at first,” she continued. “I felt very slightly ‘off’ and under the weather, and suddenly the toilet paper was tinged pink after I wiped. It came on quickly and seemingly without warning.”

It’s important to note that you may not experience every possible symptom of a UTI so if you think you might have one, take steps to receive the proper care.

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When To See Your Doctor

When To See Your Doctor

If you’re experiencing any symptoms of a UTI,  call your doctor as soon as possible.

You don’t want to wait because the infection can spread to your kidneys, putting your health at grave risk.

Your doctor will perform a urine test to look for common markers associated with a urinary tract infection and set you on the path to wellness — likely through the use of antibiotics.

You’ll also be instructed to drink plenty of water, as frequent urination will help to flush bacteria from the bladder.

You can also purchase an over-the-counter (OTC) urine test from a local pharmacy if you need to know right now or if you want to be certain before you call your doctor.

Just be aware that OTC urine tests are not 100% accurate.

Finally, it’s important to note that while some UTIs will go away on their own, proper treatment is important to avoid recurrence or complications, especially if your immune system is compromised in any way.

When To Seek Immediate Care

If you become exceedingly lethargic, feel achy all over, develop a fever, or feel pain in your lower back or the lower sides of your back, call your doctor immediately or head to an urgent care facility, as these can be signs of an advanced UTI or kidney infection and require immediate care.

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Conclusion

In Conclusion

Although you can contract a urinary tract infection after using a vibrator, the bacteria on its surface is to blame — not the vibrator itself.

If you keep your vibrator squeaky clean and follow our guidance, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy your favorite vibrating toy with confidence.

Editor’s Note: This article is part of our Complete Guide To Vibrators and Everything Vibrators hub, in-depth and evolving resources that comprehensively explore all aspects of vibrators from the different types and how to use them, to materials and safety — created to help you achieve the sexual pleasure you deserve.

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