Uti Or Yeast Infection: Whats The Difference
Urinary tract infections and yeast infections are two distinct yet common conditions among women that may present with similar symptoms. This can make it tricky to determine which infection is present when symptoms appear, making self-diagnosis not always accurate. Hector Chapa, MD, a Texas A& M College of Medicine OB-GYN, weighs in on the common confusion between the two and how you can help tell the difference.
Seeing A Doctor For Dysuria
After a history and physical exam, your doctor may request lab tests to help diagnose the cause of your dysuria symptoms. Then you can begin targeted treatment.
To help determine the cause, the doctor may ask whether your painful urination:
- Started suddenly or gradually
- Occurred once or many times
- Is felt at the onset of urination
The doctor may also ask if your painful urination is accompanied by symptoms such as:
- Abnormal discharge
The doctor may also want to know if the painful urination is accompanied by changes in urine flow, such as:
- Difficulty initiating flow
- Increased frequency or need to urinate
And you may also be asked by your doctor if there are changes in urine character along with painful urination. These include changes in urine such as:
What Is A Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary tract infections occur when bacteria invade the urinary tract, usually working their way from the outside in towards the bladder, or worse, into the kidneys. Often, the bacterium responsible for this type of infection is a common resident of the large intestines, such as E. coli. While typically harmless in the intestinal tract, these bacteria can cause significant trouble if theyre unintentionally introduced into the urinary tract. If you have a history of previous UTIs, you should know that you are more likely to experience a recurrence.
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When Should You Seek Help At Physicianone Urgent Care
If you are experiencing sudden, debilitating pain in the pelvic area, you should go to the emergency room right away. For any other concerns related to possible UTIs or yeast infections, the professionals at PhysicianOne Urgent Care can help.
PhysicianOne Urgent Care is here 7 days per week for high-quality, convenient walk-in urgent care. Contact us at 1.855.349.2828, or stop in today for a convenient, walk-in visit. If youre looking to save time, find a location near you and check in online, today!
Why Do I Feel Burning After Urination
The burning feeling can often be attributed to an infection. Infections can occur in any part of the urinary tract. Often, it begins in one place but rapidly spreads to other structures if the condition is left untreated. Different structures such as urethra, bladder, ureters and kidneys can be involved.Experiencing a burning feeling after urination can be due to the following reasons:
1. Urinary Tract Infection
This is one of the most common reasons. These urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria that gain access to the urinary tract and connected structures further up in the body through the urethra. Other symptoms that may indicate a lower urinary tract infection that accompany a burning feeling after urination are:
- Abdominal pain or pain during urination
- Urine that is tinged pink or red may appear cloudy and be stronger-than-normal smelling
- Increased urge to urinate even though the bladder is empty and urinary incontinence
- Back ache and a general sense of feeling sick
- Discomfort around the pelvic region
If the infection has occurred further up the urinary tract, like in the kidneys, symptoms become more generalized, like fever, pain in the back, side or pelvic region that can range from moderate to severe, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The factors that can predispose you to a urinary infection are:
- Older individuals
- Men who have an enlarged prostrate gland, which is common in older people
- Having a condition that requires you to have a urinary catheter in place
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Utis And Yeast Infections Are Both Relatively Common Fyi
Both of these issues suck all-around, but we hope shame isnt part of your discomfort. Every year there are an estimated 1.4 million outpatient visits for yeast infections in the United States, the CDC says, . The Mayo Clinic estimates that 75% of women have had a yeast infection at some point in their lives.
UTIs are also pretty run-of-the-mill, with about 40 to 60% of women experiencing one in their lifetime, according to the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases .
All this means that if you have either of these infections, youre not alone. Whats more, you have treatment options.
What Are The Treatment Options For This Infection
One of the ways to treat this infection is with antibiotics.
These antibiotics will kill off the infection in the short term but will not treat the infection itself.
Instead, there are natural remedies that you can use to cure this infection.
One of the best natural remedies for curing the infection is tea tree oil.
This remedy contains anti-fungal properties that are very effective.
Also, garlic capsules that you can buy at your local pharmacy should also help cure the infection.
Another natural treatment for this infection is apple cider vinegar.
This natural remedy is effective at killing the bacteria that have infected the area.
You should make sure you get enough Vitamin C, and zinc in your diet as well.
You should also try to avoid douching since the chlorine in the water will kill the good bacteria that help the yeast infections.
Also, dont drink alcohol because it will kill all the good bacteria that will help you fight off the bad bacteria, and thus, your infection will spread.
So drink plenty of water throughout the day, and eat yogurt to help replenish your body with the nutrients that it needs to keep fighting off these yeast infections.
Eat healthily and eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible.
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Urinary Tract Infection Causes & Risk Factors
Your urinary tract can usually protect itself from infection, but certain factors increase your risk of developing a UTI.
- Menopause and post-menopause, which cause the lining of the urethra to get thinner as estrogen levels decrease.
- Diabetes and other chronic illnesses or medications that affect your immune system and make it harder for your body to fight infections.
- Conditions that make it difficult to completely empty your bladder, such as enlarged prostate and bladder and kidney stones.
- Long-term use of catheters
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Uti Treatment And Prevention
Treatment to clear a UTI requires antibiotics prescribed by your health care provider.
To help reduce your risk for a UTI, take these steps:
- Drink cranberry juice. Although studies have not been conclusive that cranberry juice can prevent UTIs, it can’t hurt to add this to your diet if you are prone to UTIs, says Barajas
- Drink lots of water. Drinking lots of water will help flush out bacteria from your urinary tract to prevent infections from setting in
- Urinate after intercourse to help flush out bacteria that may have entered the urinary tract during intercourse
- Avoid douching, scented soaps and deodorant sprays. These can interfere with the good bacteria that help keep bad bacteria from growing
- Evaluate your birth control method. Birth control such as diaphragms and unlubricated or spermicide-treated condoms can facilitate bacterial growth
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Causes Of Yeast Infection Vs Uti
OK, so an overgrowth of fungus causes yeast infections, and an unwelcome colony of bacteria in the urinary tract causes UTIs. But what makes those things happen?
- taking antibiotics
- using high-dose estrogen birth control
- being on estrogen hormone therapy
- you have abnormalities in your urinary tract
- you have kidney stones or another blockage
- you use a catheter
- you recently had a urinary tract exam or operation
These situations can cause a UTI by either introducing unwanted bacteria into the urethra or lowering your body’s natural defense mechanisms against pathogens.
What Women Should Know
When it comes to self-diagnosis, Chapa advises women to be smart and use discretion. Many women are familiar with the symptoms of UTIs and yeast infections, but if you are unsure, you should contact your health care provider to determine the cause of your symptoms.
Additionally, although these two particular conditions are not sexually transmitted, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that all sexually active men and women under the age of 26 should be screened for sexually transmitted infections at least once a year.
At the very least, visiting your physician can help put your mind at ease. Its human nature to jump to worst-case scenario conclusions, Chapa said, but these infections are very common and treatable. The best course of action to relieve uncomfortable symptoms from each of these infections is to seek treatment as soon as symptoms arise.
Article written by Ava English
UTIs and yeast infections often are mentioned in the same sentence, and understandably so. Theyre both uncomfortable infections, but are they the same thing?
No, they arent, and our AFC Urgent Care Farragut team provides some helpful information on both of these topics below.
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Urinary Tract Infection Prevention
You can reduce your risk of developing urinary tract infections with these steps.
- Drink plenty of water
- Urinate when you first get the urge. Holding urine can increases bacteria growth in your bladder.
- After sex, urinate and drink a glass of water to help flush bacteria that may have been pushed into the urethra during intercourse
- Avoid genital cleansing products such as douches and deodorants. These remove your bodys natural protective secretions and oils
- Take showers instead of baths
- Wear cotton underwear
Does Cranberry Juice Help Prevent Utis
Youve probably heard cranberry is an effective way to ward off a UTI. Though cranberry is a popular home remedy, scientific evidence does not currently support that it helps prevent UTIs.
Mann says if you want to try it, opt for cranberry tablets rather than sugary cranberry juice. Before taking any supplements, talk to your health care practitioner. These tablets may interact with other medications you are taking, such as blood thinners.
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Urinary Tract Infections And Yeast Infections
The symptoms of a urinary tract infection are easy to distinguish from a yeast infection, but they do affect similar systems and can often occur together. Antibiotics can sometimes cause the natural, healthy bacteria in your body to die, which weakens your defenses against other microbes. The result is often a yeast infection.
Yeast infections cause an itching or burning sensation in the vaginal or penile tissue. This may be coupled with discharge or a foul smell. When coupled with the symptoms of a urinary tract infection, a yeast infection can be unbearable.
What Is Bacterial Vaginosis
Bacterial vaginosis names the condition in which there is an overgrowth of certain bacteria in the vaginal microbiome. As the name suggests, BV is a condition that only affects those with vaginas.
Similar to yeast infections, anything that upsets the vaginal microbiome can result in BV. However, things like douching, having sex with someone new, using fragrant washes and detergents, and smoking can all increase the risk.
Common symptoms include:
- Fishy or foul smelling odor
- Thin or loose discharge
- Vaginal or vulvar itching
- Burning while peeing
Bacterial vaginosis can be diagnosed through a pelvic exam, vaginal secretion or vaginal pH test. To treat bacterial vaginosis, your healthcare provider may prescribe an oral or intravaginal cream that should clear up the infection within a few days.
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Urinary Tract Infection Diagnosis
If you think you might have a UTI, dont worry. Diagnosing one requires a simple urinalysis. You urinate into a cup, and your clinician examines the urine for signs of infection. The standard course of treatment is three to five days of antibiotics.
In some cases, especially if your infections keep coming back, your practitioner may order a urine culture, a specific test for UTIs. A culture identifies the bacteria causing your infection so your clinician can choose the most effective antibiotic to treat it. The results of a urine culture are typically not available for two to four days.
How To Treat Burning After Urination
Urinary tract infections are usually treated with antibiotics. You need to consult your medical practitioner for a prescription for the correct antibiotic and also to eliminate any other cause for the burning sensation. Frequent infections will have to be further investigated and treated. If the symptoms are not very severe, you can attempt some home remedies like:
- Drink copious amounts of water to help flush out the infection.
- Urinate whenever the urge strikes. Holding in your urine will not help the symptoms.
- Take alkaline granules as directed on the bottle. Make your own alkaline granules by mixing 1 teaspoon of baking soda to 8 ounces of clean water. Do not exceed for longer than one week.
- Parsley water acts like a diuretic which helps you flush out the infection. Make parsley tea by infusing 1 cup of fresh parsley in 1-2 cups of hot water.
- Eat cucumbers. They are high in water and will help you hydrate.
- Cranberry juice is believed to interfere with the bacterial structure, making it hard for the bacteria to multiply. It is often recommended to people who struggle with recurrent infections.
- Blueberries are rich in antioxidants that can help you eliminate the bacteria and help the infection heal. Like cranberries, it interferes with bacterial structure.
- Horseradish acts as a strong antimicrobial, killing off bacterial cells by damaging the cell walls. Grate about one teaspoon of horseradish. Eat this approximately three times per day with some water or milk.
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You Have A Sexually Transmitted Infection
Often, people with an STI confuse the condition with a UTI, as both can cause burning at the tip of the urethra after urinating, so they don’t get the proper treatment they need to resolve the issue, Dr. Horton says. In addition to burning pee, keep an eye out for other common STI symptoms such as unusual discharge, abnormal bleeding, pelvic pain or sores, she says.
âFix it:â If you notice any of these signs, see your doctor as soon as possible. He or she will be able to properly examine and diagnose you, and prescribe the necessary medication.
Diagnosing A Yeast Infection
An experienced doctor can often diagnose a yeast infection based on the history and symptoms you discuss. If you are seeing a provider in person, your doctor will examine you to evaluate the discharge and take a sample of vaginal fluid with a cotton swab to send to the lab. These lab tests can also be used to identify other causes of discharge, such as STIs.
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How Are These Infections Different From Stis
The main difference is how the infections are classified. Yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, and UTIs are not classified as STIs.
While sex can increase risk of yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis, and UTIs, they are not considered sexually transmitted infections because they are not infections transmitted from one person to another. All sexually transmitted infections are strictly transmitted from an STI-positive person, to someone who is not positive for that STI through direct skin-to-skin contact or through exchange of bodily fluid exchange.
Another difference is that all of the infections mentioned here are totally curable with adequate treatment. While some STIs are curable , there are also some viral STIs that can be treated, but cannot be cured.
However, all genitals infections can be asymptomatic. Or, result in similar symptoms like itching, burning, or pain during sex or while urinating.
How Long Does It Take To Recover
Both UTIs and yeast infections should clear up after taking medications within days or a few weeks. You must make sure to take prescribed or over-the-counter medication as directed for the entire recommended length of time to prevent the infection from returning.
You may be able to prevent both UTIs and yeast infections by practicing good hygiene and making changes to your wardrobe. Here are some prevention tips:
- Wipe from front to back after a bowel movement.
- Avoid tight-fitting clothing around your genital area, such as pantyhose and restrictive pants.
- Change out of wet swimsuits quickly.
- Avoid scented feminine hygiene products.
Further prevention of UTIs include:
- using the bathroom frequently
- regularly drinking lots of fluid
- urinating before and after sex
Its also possible that drinking cranberry juice can prevent UTIs. The research results are mixed. Make sure to choose a sugar-free version. If the juice is too tart, you can water it down to make the juice more palatable.
You may also be able to reduce your chances of contracting a yeast infection if you:
- avoid hot baths and hot tubs
- change your feminine products often
- control your blood sugar if you have diabetes
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