Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 595–599

Sexual Intercourse and Risk of Symptomatic Urinary Tract Infection in Post-Menopausal Women

  • Elya E. Moore
  • Stephen E. Hawes
  • Delia Scholes
  • Edward J. Boyko
  • James P. Hughes
  • Stephan D. Fihn
Original Article



Sexual intercourse increases the risk of symptomatic urinary tract infections (UTI) in young women, but its role among post-menopausal women is unclear.


To determine whether recent sexual intercourse, as documented by daily diaries, is associated with an increased risk of symptomatic UTI in post-menopausal women.


A 2-year prospective cohort study conducted from 1998 to 2002.


One thousand and seventeen randomly selected post-menopausal women enrolled at Group Health Cooperative (GHC), a Washington State HMO.

Measurements and Main Results

Women were asked to enter daily diary information on vaginal intercourse, medication use, and genito-urinary symptoms. The outcome of interest, symptomatic UTI, was defined as a positive urine culture ≥105 CFU/mL of a uropathogen and the presence of ≥2 acute urinary symptoms. Nine hundred thirteen women returned diaries and were included in this study. Seventy-eight women experienced 108 symptomatic UTIs, and 361 (40%) reported sexual intercourse in their diaries. There was an increased hazard for UTI 2 calendar days after the reporting of sexual intercourse in the diaries (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 3.42, 95% CI 1.49–7.80), while there was no evidence for an increased hazard associated with intercourse at other times. When the UTI criterion was relaxed from ≥105 CFU/mL to ≥104 CFU/mL, adding 9 UTI events to the analysis, the HR for UTI 2 days after intercourse changed slightly to 3.26 (95% CI 1.43–7.43).


Our data suggest that, as with younger women, recent sexual intercourse is strongly associated with incident UTI in generally healthy post-menopausal women.


coitus diaries postmenopause urinary tract infections 


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elya E. Moore
    • 1
    • 2
    • 7
  • Stephen E. Hawes
    • 1
  • Delia Scholes
    • 1
    • 3
  • Edward J. Boyko
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  • James P. Hughes
    • 6
  • Stephan D. Fihn
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of EpidemiologyUniversity of Washington School of Public Health and Community MedicineSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Health Services Research & Development Center of ExcellenceVA Puget Sound Health Care SystemSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Center for Health StudiesGroup Health CooperativeSeattleUSA
  4. 4.Department of MedicineUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  5. 5.Seattle Epidemiologic Research and Information CenterVA Puget Sound Health Care SystemSeattleUSA
  6. 6.Department of BiostatisticsUniversity of Washington School of Public Health and Community MedicineSeattleUSA
  7. 7.Murdoch Childrens Research InstituteRoyal Children’s HospitalVictoriaAustralia

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