[Question #4252] mysterious STD-like symptom

29 months ago

I recently got serious with a girl and we decided to switch to unprotected sex. 

I got tested for everything. Negative all around. Squeaky clean.

She said she had recently seen her gynecologist and had nothing to worry about.

We had unprotected sex over a period of 7-10 days and then... 
I woke up one morning to urinate and felt the fires of hell burning through my urethra. This happened every single time I urinated from then on. 

No other symptoms except an intense stinging sensation while peeing (which was only alleviated by drinking loads of water). No discharge, no blood in the urine, no pain in the tests.

Obviously distressed, I consulted my urologist who conducted a barrage of urine tests. Results came back and showed no STDs and no infection of any sort.

He put my on doxy just to try and clear it up. 

Doxy didn't work.

So he prescribed Bactrim (Sulfa). 

Bingo! It cleared up within 48 hrs and now I am back to normal...


1) What the heck was it?! STD? UTI? 
2) How responsible was the girl in this situation? I know for sure that whatever "it" was, I acquired from having sex with her. This is based on timing and the fact that I wasn't seeing anyone else for months before.
3) I am very uncomfortable having sex with her now because I feel like I might catch this thing again. How can she get rid of it? 

My urologist and I are both dumbfounded because the tests came back completely normal in spite of the VERY noticeable symptoms. I tried looking up Bactrim STDs and coudn't find anything. 

Your thoughts are hugely appreciated!

Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
29 months ago
Welcome to the Forum.  Your situation is unusual.  I congratulate you and your partner on your decisions to test before going unprotected.  Clearly, based on your earlier tests, as well as those which were taken when your symptoms occurred this is not an STI.  So what could it be?  Several possibilities.

1. A kidney stone could do this but if your urinalysis was normal, this seems unlikely.
2. This could be a urinary tract infection.  Just bad luck but seems most likely given the response to bactrim
3.  This could be totally unrelated 

I see no reason not not continue to have unprotected sex with this partner.  Should the symptoms recur, I would go through the entire sequence of testing again...hopefully this will not.  EWH

29 months ago
Thank you Dr Hook.

I too thought of kidney stones but my urologist dismissed that idea very quickly - and indeed the fact that the condition was treated with Bactrim reaffirmed this. Needless to say I never found any evidence of stones in my urine.

When you say UTI... is there any way to get it besides sex? 

It’s just very strange that I had these symptoms right after engaging in sexual intercourse with my partner. It almost seems like she had a “natural” bacteria that did nothing to her but that affected me in a very different way.

In 36 years I’ve never had any UTIs or kidney stones. It’s just so bizarre.

Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
29 months ago
During sex bacteria that are normally in the vagina can be introduced to the urethra to cause a UTI/urethritis.  It is not common but does happen.  If this was the case, it would be still more unusual to occur a second time.  EWH---