Women are all too familiar with the discomfort and pain that come with a urinary tract infection (UTI) or yeast infection. Both infections share similar symptoms, such as burning during urination, itching, and discomfort in the genital area. These symptoms can confuse you, making it difficult to determine which infection you have. In this article, we’ll discuss the differences between UTIs and yeast infections and how to prevent and treat them.
UTI: What Is It?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that affects any part of your urinary system, including your bladder, kidneys, and urethra. Women are more likely to experience UTIs than men because of their shorter urethra, which makes it easier for bacteria to enter the bladder.
If you have a urinary tract infection (UTI), you may experience pain with urination, cloudy or foul-smelling urine, and pelvic discomfort. In severe cases of UTIs, fever, and chills – a sign that medical attention is required – can occur.
UTIs are usually caused by the bacteria E. coli, which is naturally found in the gut. Other bacteria, such as Klebsiella, Proteus, and Staphylococcus can also cause UTIs.
Yeast Infection: What Is It?
A yeast infection is a common fungal infection that affects the vagina. It occurs when there is an overgrowth of the fungus Candida, which is normally present in the vagina in small amounts. Yeast infections are not sexually transmitted and can occur in women of all ages.
The most common symptoms of yeast infections are itching and burning around the vagina and vulva, white discharge that resembles cottage cheese, and pain during sex. In severe cases, the skin around the vulva may crack, causing discomfort and bleeding.
UTI vs. Yeast Infection: How To Tell The Difference
Although UTIs and yeast infections share similar symptoms, there are some key differences to look out for.
UTIs often cause pain or a burning sensation during urination, while yeast infections do not. UTIs also cause cloudy or strong-smelling urine, which is not a symptom of yeast infections.
On the other hand, yeast infections often cause thick, white discharge that resembles cottage cheese, while UTIs do not. Yeast infections also cause itching and burning around the vulva, which is not a symptom of UTIs.
It’s essential to get a proper diagnosis from your healthcare provider if you experience any of these symptoms. They will be able to examine you and perform tests to determine which infection you have.
Preventing UTIs And Yeast Infections
Preventing UTIs and yeast infections can help reduce the risk of developing these uncomfortable infections. Here are some tips to help prevent them:
- Practice good hygiene – To ensure your personal hygiene, remember to always wipe yourself from front to back after using the restroom and wash your genital area with soap and water daily.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing – Tight clothing and underwear can trap moisture, creating a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. Wear loose-fitting clothing and cotton underwear to allow your skin to breathe.
- Stay hydrated – Consuming adequate amounts of water helps to naturally flush dangerous bacteria from your urinary tract.
- Avoid douching – Disrupting the healthy balance of bacteria and fungi in your vagina through douching can leave you more vulnerable to infections.
- Urinate after sexual intercourse – Urinating after sexual intercourse can help flush away any bacteria lingering in your urinary tract.
Treating UTIs And Yeast Infections
If you suspect you have a UTI or yeast infection, it’s essential to see your doctor for a proper diagnosis. Your doctor will be able to prescribe medication to help treat the infection.
For UTI treatment, antibiotics are usually prescribed to kill the bacteria causing the infection. It’s essential to complete the full course of antibiotics, even if you start feeling better, to ensure that the infection is fully cleared.
For yeast infections, antifungal medication is usually prescribed in the form of creams, suppositories, or oral medication. It’s important to follow the instructions given by your doctor or pharmacist and to complete the full course of treatment.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend additional tests or treatment, such as a pelvic exam or surgery, depending on the severity of your infection.
UTIs and yeast infections can cause discomfort and pain, but they are treatable with the right diagnosis and medication. It’s important to be aware of the differences between these two infections and to seek medical attention if you experience any symptoms.
Prevention is also key in reducing the risk of developing UTIs and yeast infections. By practicing good hygiene, wearing loose-fitting clothing, and staying hydrated, you can help reduce your risk of developing these infections.
In summary, knowing the differences between UTIs and yeast infections and taking steps to prevent them can help keep you healthy and comfortable. If you experience any symptoms, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention to get the treatment you need.