Birth Control and UTIs: Understanding the Connection

Dinesh Patel
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

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Birth control and UTIs

Women are at higher risk to contract Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) than men. 

According to a 2013 article in NCBI, around 50%-60% of women will get UTI in their lifetime. 

While many factors can increase the risk of UTIs, one lesser-known contributor is the choice of birth control methods. 

Mainly non-hormonal form of birth control methods are known to cause UTIs in women. 

Let’s delve into the link between certain types of birth control and UTIs and which birth control options are less likely to raise this risk.

Birth control and UTIs

The vagina naturally contains beneficial bacteria like Lactobacillus that help maintain vaginal health and pH balance. 

However, certain birth control products can disrupt this balance by destroying these beneficial bacteria. 

Consequently, this disruption can lead to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the vagina, increasing the risk of a UTI.

However, it is important to note that not all forms of birth control are associated with an increased risk of developing UTIs. 

Specific types of birth control methods may potentially elevate this risk. 

These include:


Reusable silicone cupsSource: zadveri_from_Getty_Images
Reusable silicone cups

Diaphragms are reusable silicone cups inserted into the vagina to create a barrier between the uterus and sperm.

They can exert pressure on the urethra, potentially impeding the complete emptying of the bladder. 

When urine remains in the bladder, it creates an environment prone to bacterial growth and infection.


Spermicides are available in various forms like creams, gels, foams, or suppositories and work by killing sperm and blocking the cervix. 

They can be used alone or with diaphragms, cervical caps, or condoms.

Spermicides often contain surfactant chemicals, such as Nonoxynol-9.

These surfactants can disrupt the normal balance of microorganisms and the beneficial bacteria in the vaginal environment. 

When used frequently, spermicides can damage or reduce the populations of these beneficial bacteria, leading to UTIs. 

Nonoxynol-9 (N-9) is a chemical compound that disrupts the cell membranes of sperm, rendering them immobile and thus preventing fertilization. While N-9 can be an effective contraceptive method, it does not protect against STIs like condoms do.

Cervical caps

Similar to diaphragms, cervical caps are smaller and fit more tightly over the cervix to prevent sperm from entering the uterus.

The cervical cap, like the diaphragm, can pose a potential risk of Urinary Tract Infections due to its use in combination with spermicide. 

Spermicide can affect the usually balanced pH and increase the vulnerability to the overgrowth of harmful pathogens. 

This disruption can increase the risk of UTIs.

Cervical caps have been used in Europe for a long time, but it was only approved in the USA in 1988. It comes in three different sizes and can be left in the vagina for upto 48 hours. 

Spermicide condoms

Some condoms are coated with spermicide as an additional layer of protection.

Spermicide-coated condoms might enhance the adherence of bacteria to the vaginal mucosa. 

This means harmful bacteria, including S saprophyticus, may be more likely to stick to the vaginal walls, making it easier for them to enter the urinary tract and cause an infection.

Do birth control pills increase UTI risk

Contrary to some birth control methods, studies have demonstrated that birth control pills do not elevate the risk of UTIs. 

While some women on birth control pills have reported more UTIs than those without oral contraceptives, this correlation may be attributed to other factors. 

Women on birth control pills may engage in more sexual activity, which generally increases the risk of UTIs because sexual intercourse can introduce bacteria into the urinary tract.

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Safe birth control options

Interaction with latex condomsSource: rattanakun
Condoms (without spermicide)

Consult with your healthcare provider if you are concerned about developing a UTI due to your birth control method.

The following birth control options are less likely to increase your UTI risk:

  • Condoms (without spermicide)
  • Intrauterine device (IUD)
  • Depo-Provera shot
  • Contraceptive implant
  • NuvaRing (vaginal ring)
  • Birth control patch
  • Tubal ligation or vasectomy


Some birth control methods make women prone to Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs). 

Some birth control methods, such as diaphragms, cervical caps, spermicides, and spermicide-coated condoms, have been associated with an increased risk of UTIs. 

However, it’s important to note that not all forms of birth control pose this risk. 

Birth control pills, for instance, have not been shown to elevate UTI risk. 

Additionally, there are alternative birth control options that are less likely to increase the likelihood of UTIs.

These include condoms without spermicide, intrauterine devices (IUDs), the Depo-Provera shot, contraceptive implants, NuvaRing, and birth control patches. 

Furthermore, permanent sterilization methods like tubal ligation or vasectomy do not pose a threat for developing UTI. 

In case you have concerns about developing a UTI related to your birth control method, discussing your options with a healthcare provider is advisable. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I reduce my risk of UTIs while using birth control?

You can reduce your risk of getting UTIs by choosing birth control methods that are less likely to disrupt the vaginal flora. Condoms without spermicide, intrauterine devices (IUDs), and other non-hormonal options like the Depo-Provera shot or contraceptive implant are less likely to increase your risk of UTIs.

Why do some birth control methods increase the risk of UTIs?

Certain birth control methods, such as diaphragms, cervical caps, spermicides, and spermicide-coated condoms, can disrupt the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina. This disruption can create an environment favorable for harmful bacteria to overgrow, potentially leading to UTIs.

Are birth control pills safe when it comes to UTIs?

Birth control pills have been found to be safe regarding UTI risk. While some women on birth control pills may report more UTIs, this is often due to factors unrelated to the pills, such as increased sexual activity. Birth control pills themselves do not increase the risk of UTIs.

Can using a lubricant with condoms increase the risk of UTIs?

While lubricants can enhance sexual comfort, certain types may contain chemicals that disrupt the natural vaginal flora and potentially increase UTI risk. Consider using water-based or hypoallergenic lubricants to minimize this risk.

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