Maybe the only thing worse than having a urinary tract infection (UTI) is having a UTI and a doctor who’s like, “idk do you pee after sex *shrugs forever*”. This is such a common problem that some people have taken to Twitter to call out doctors who don’t take their UTIs seriously. Like most things on the internet, it started with a meme.
Your Twitter feed has likely been flooded with the “We Need a Disney Princess Who” meme. While the internet has already blessed us with iterations of Disney princesses as hot dogs, Disney princesses with periods, even Disney princesses as cement mixers, some are still left singing, “I want moooooooore.”
Cue the tweet that started it all: “We need a Disney princess with a yeast infection.”
It’s hilarious. It’s weird. It’s somehow exactly the opposite of a Disney princess which makes it so perfect. This inspired Twitter to create their own relatably weird Disney princesses, like one with student loans and one who doesn’t text back.
It also inspired Twitter user @floozyesq to create a Disney princess with a common medical problem of her own: a UTI. But not just your run-of-the-mill UTI.
“We need a disney princess with chronic UTIs,” she tweeted, telling the 280-character story of a Disney princess whose doctor’s only prescription for remedying her UTIs is to “always pee after sex” even though the hypothetical princess is already doing that.
Needless to say, it struck a chord.
The replies to the tweet are filled with gratitude.gifs and people sharing their own experiences with doctors giving no other advice than “pee after sex.”
UTIs occur when bacteria gets into the bladder or the urethra. While not peeing after sex can lead UTI, according to the NHS, it is not the sole cause. In addition to sexual activity, things like certain types of birth control and menopause can also increase your risk of developing a UTI.
Another risk factor for chronic UTIs? Having a vagina. According to Mayo Clinic, because women typically have a shorter urethra than men, it makes it easier for women to develop a UTI.
So, while there are certainly ways to prevent a UTI or lower your risk of getting one, some risk factors are unpreventable altogether (i.e. having a vagina).
Untreated UTIs aren’t to be taken lightly either. In addition to pain and discomfort, they can lead to more serious conditions which, in some cases, can be life threatening. As the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) states, an untreated UTI can potentially lead to a kidney infection. “A kidney infection that becomes chronic, or long lasting, can cause permanent damage to your kidneys,” NIDDK’s website also states.
Kidney infections not only worsens UTI symptoms, like painful urination, they can also lead to sepsis, if untreated. Sepsis is a serious condition which can cause fever, problems related to your heart and breathing, and can be fatal. An estimate from the University of Michigan found that between one-and-eight and one-and-four patients with sepsis dies during hospitalization.
So, an untreated UTI isn’t something to be treated lightly. Additionally, people with chronic UTIs probably want medical advice on how to prevent them that extends beyond “cranberry juice and pee after sex.”
Last year, the World Health Organization found that some UTIs were becoming resistant to antibiotics and very difficult to treat. E. Coli is the bacteria to blame, as it’s also one of the most common bacterias that cause UTIs. Doctors have started testing treatments via IV injection. However, some strains of E. Coli are already showing resistance to that antibiotic. You know, just in case you wanted something else to panic about.
For most of us, UTIs aren’t entirely inevitable. Some ways to prevent UTIs are drinking plenty of water, wiping front to back, and yes, peeing after sex. However, that advice probably isn’t super helpful when you’re, you know, at the doctor’s office trying to treat an already existing UTI.
For whatever it’s worth, perhaps in some far away place, there is a Disney princess who completely understands your pain.