Picture it: You’ve been having a lot of sex recently (yay you!), and are loving it. After a week or so of fun with your sex partner, you feel a little discomfort when you pee. Could it be? No, it couldn’t be … but wait, it is! It’s a UTI! You realize you forgot to pee after sex every time, and all the sex recently has caused a urinary tract infection. You’ve had many UTIs before, so you recognize the telltale symptoms and know you need meds ASAP, but don’t want to wait to schedule an appointment with your doctor. You know what it is, you just need some meds to feel better. Enter Wisp telehealth.

What is Wisp telehealth?

Wisp is a website where you can meet with a doctor, get a prescription, and get treated for your sexual wellness needs from the comfort of your own home. Wisp has several doctors partnering with the site, and you would have a telehealth consultation with one of them via webcam to describe your symptoms and receive treatment. 

What treatments can I receive?

Wisp offers birth control, emergency contraception, cold sore treatment, herpes treatment, treatment for bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, UTIs, and medication to delay your period. Although it is a little unclear from their website, it seems you purchase unlimited consultations with “Wispcare,” which is a subscription for $10 a month, or pay a one-time fee of $39 for a single consultation. After choosing the best option for your needs, you then consult with the doctor and get prescribed a treatment. It says that they accept HSA (Health Spending Account) and FSA (Flexible Savings Account) for payment, but it’s unclear without making an order if they accept insurance. 

I looked at the treatments for UTIs, and Wisp telehealth has several options for recurring meds like probiotics to be shipped to you each month, or one-time treatments like antibiotics. You can order your medication to your home, or pick it up later that day at a pharmacy. Although this seems like a great option for getting medication if you already know your symptoms well, I am still a little skeptical. 

What is the cost for Wisp treatments?

When looking to check out for antibiotics for a UTI, there were three or four prompts offering me other medications or products to buy, unrelated to what I needed meds for. It also is $65 for an antibiotic for a UTI, which is pricey. If you were to go to your doctor on insurance, the cost of the medication could be mostly covered with insurance. Again, perhaps they accept insurance, but it’s unclear without making an actual purchase, and there’s no information on their website about payment options other than accepting HSA and FSA. 

This could be a great option if you just want treatment for a condition you’ve had before (like a recurring UTI) without going to the doctor. They also offer a Symptoms Quiz if you are unsure what exactly is bothering you down there. Wisp could be a cheaper option if you don’t have insurance and pay out-of-pocket, as doctor’s visits without insurance can get expensive. I think it could work in a pinch, but I’m not sure if it’s worth it if you have the time and insurance coverage to go to your doctor IRL. 

Urinary tract infections are incredibly common, and many people will have at least one UTI at some point in their life. When a friend asked me why some people get UTIs more frequently than others and I was unable to answer, I realized I didn’t know as much about these pesky infections as I thought. 

How do urinary tract infections work?

Urinary tract infections affect your urinary system, AKA your urethra and bladder. The urethra is the little opening where your pee comes out, and internally, it’s a tube that carries pee from your bladder. There are two types of UTIs: cystitis (infection in the bladder) and urethritis (infection of the urethra). The symptoms and treatment for both types are the same, so if you get a UTI, you probably won’t know the difference, and that’s okay. Both types are treated the same.

Although UTIs are incredibly common and fairly easy to treat, the infection can spread to your kidneys if left untreated. It’s important to know the symptoms and treat your UTI right away so the infection won’t spread. 

What are the common symptoms of UTIs?

The most common symptom of a UTI is feeling like you constantly need to pee, even if you just went. The infection can also cause cramping and pain in your lower abdomen, pain when you pee, cloudy urine, blood in your urine (which is more common in younger patients), smelly urine, or feeling tired, shaky, or weak (which is more common in older patients). If you have a UTI, you might not have all of these symptoms, but these are the most common ones to look out for.

Urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria getting into your urethra or bladder. This bacteria can come from sexual fluids, fecal matter, or bacteria from the anus. People with vulvas get UTIs 30 times more often than someone with a penis because the placement of their urethra opening is in close proximity to the anus. And within that group of people with vulvas, unfortunately, some people get UTIs more frequently due to the placement of their urethra opening. Some people can get as many as two infections in six months or three in a year. If you are one of those people, consult your doctor about options for continual treatment and prevention methods.

How can you prevent UTIs?

To prevent UTIs, you should always pee after having sex or masturbating to flush out any bodily fluids that may have gotten near or in your urethra. If you are putting anything in your anus during sex, either put a new condom on it or thoroughly wash it before penetration of the vagina occurs. Keep that bacteria out of there! If you use spermicide or a diaphragm for birth control and get frequent UTIs, talk to your doctor because that might be the culprit.

You should also wipe front to back when going to the bathroom to avoid bringing any bacteria from the anus forward. Avoid holding your pee for too long, and drink plenty of water to continually flush out your body throughout the day. Change out of wet or damp swimsuits and workout clothes ASAP to prevent infection. Additionally, wash your private parts when you shower to keep things clean. And just wash with water—douching or using feminine hygiene products can cause UTIs.

If you think you have a UTI your doctor will test your urine to see if you do. If you have one, you’ll be prescribed antibiotics and should feel better within a few days. Make sure you take your antibiotics until they are gone even if you feel better immediately to make sure the infection is completely gone. If you get UTIs frequently, some people say drinking unsweetened cranberry juice or taking cranberry pills can help. This is because cranberries may help keep bacteria from attaching to the walls of your urinary tract, which would lead to infection.

Although UTIs are painful and inconvenient, they are incredibly common and treatable. If you get a UTI you should never feel ashamed or embarrassed. Do make sure you go to the doctor to treat it right away so it doesn’t develop into a more serious infection. Follow the tips mentioned above to help prevent them and you should be good to go!