Expert Answers Factual Answers to Your Sexual Health Questions
I’ve only had sex once, but now I have a burning sensation when I pee. Did I catch an STD from my girlfriend?
I’ve only had sex once with my current girlfriend who has no symptoms of any STDs. I wore a condom and the sex was really brief. But now I have a burning sensation when I pee. I’ve been tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia, and both came back negative. Could my partner have given me something else?
Lisa Oldson, MD on September 14, 2011
Thanks for sharing your concern. First, you’re doing the right thing by observing changes in your body and in how you feel. I’ll do my best provide you some helpful information.
Since you used protection, the risk of STD transmission between you and your girlfriend is low. But you’re right: chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause painful urination...so you were smart to get tested for these STDs.
Another common cause of a burning sensation when you pee is a urinary tract infection (UTI). Most of the time, UTIs are caused by a bacteria called E. coli that lives in the digestive tract, including the anus. If any E. coli bacteria enters the urethra (the opening at the tip of your penis that carries urine and semen out of your body), then you’re at risk for a UTI.
Once the bacteria is in the urethra, it can travel into the bladder or even the kidneys...so, if you have a UTI, it’s best to get treated.
To find out if you have a UTI, see your doctor who will take a sample of your urine to look for inflammation-causing bacteria. And if it turns out that a UTI is the cause of your discomfort, your doctor can prescribe antibiotics to clear up the infection.
If you don’t have a UTI, your doctor will probably ask you some other questions and further examine you to determine the root of your symptom.
One more thing...have you talked to your girlfriend about STDs? I ask, because doing so is an important step in keeping each other healthy. I would encourage you to discuss what STDs you’ve both been tested for in an open and honest conversation. You might even find that it makes you feel more intimate.
Ask if she’s been tested for STDs before...and make sure to ask specifically about chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV and syphilis. If one or both of you haven’t been tested recently, it might make sense to do so. We recommend annual testing to help maintain your sexual health. You can learn more about STD prevention and testing our Expert Guide to STD Basics.
Thanks again for your question, and I wish you and your girlfriend good health.
- National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Urinary Tract Infections in Adults
Dr. Oldson is Medical Director of the Analyte Physicians Group. She is on staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, as well as Clinical Instructor at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. Her areas of expertise include STDs (with a particular clinical emphasis on herpes), women's health, preventive medicine, diabetes, obesity and weight management, and mood and anxiety disorders. Dr. Oldson was educated at Rush Medical College and completed her residency at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, IL.