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?
First, let’s look at the things that can set you up for developing a yeast infection. The Office of Women’s Health and Mayo Clinic say risk factors include:
- 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 Are The Causes Of A Uti
A UTI is mainly caused by bacteria, though fungi and viruses can also be the reason. UTIs can be of two typeslower tract infection involving the urethra and bladder, and upper tract infection involving the ureters and the kidneys.
Any factor that can irritate the urinary tract can cause a UTI:
- Long-term catheter use
Bacterial Vaginosis Vs Yeast Infection Symptoms
Both these forms of vaginitis are typically accompanied by vaginal itching, burning sensations and discomfort, with a few key differences in symptoms. There is one typical, major difference between symptoms of a yeast infection vs BV: discharge color. Beyond that, the other key difference is the odor.
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Yeast Infection
A yeast infection is usually caused by an overgrowth of Candida albicans, a yeast strain, but other Candida strains can cause symptoms too. Itâs important to note that a weakened immune system, antibiotic use, uncontrolled diabetes, PCOS, insulin resistance, pregnancy, and damaged vulva skin make it easier for Candida species to multiply.
Symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection include:
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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Treatments For Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections can thankfully be treated with a course of antibiotics, which should show improvement within the first day of administration. However, make sure you do take the entire course of antibiotics you are prescribed, usually around a week, to completely eliminate bacteria and cure the infection.
Your doctor may also prescribe a medication to combat the pain and discomfort of urinating. If you think you are suffering from recurrent or chronic UTIs, it is important to tell your doctor to ensure you are receiving proper treatment.
In terms of home remedies, make sure you drink plenty of water to not only stay hydrated but also help flush out the bacteria. Use a heating pad on your abdomen and pelvis to relieve pressure. Avoid foods that can irritate your urinary system, including coffee, alcohol, and soda containing caffeine or citrus juice. Many people also turn to cranberry juice, though the efficacy of it is in doubt.
Some studies suggest that the tannins in cranberry juice keep bacteria from clinging to the walls of your urinary tract, but other studies have come up inconclusive.
Overall, theres no harm in drinking cranberry juice if you find it comforting, but you should avoid it if you are taking any blood-thinning medications.
Can I Do Anything To Prevent These Issues From Happening
Making sure to stay hydrated and to urinate after sex are the best ways to prevent a UTI from happening, along with wiping front to back, said Kostov. Some patients who are prone to UTIs may be given an antibiotic that they take specifically on days they have sexual intercourse to prevent the infection, she said.
As for yeast infections, theres really no actions you can take to prevent them from happening and they are common, said Selk.
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If your symptoms dont resolve, or if you are unsure, it is important to see a doctor especially during the pandemic when patients may be more hesitant, Kostov added.
It also could be a sexually-transmitted infection, she said. Some infections, like chlamydia and gonorrhea may mimic many of these symptoms, like pain when urinating, and youd need a doctor to identify those issues, she explained.
Its really important to see or call your family doctor because theres so many different things it could be, she said.
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How Are These Issues Treated
A large percentage of patients will be able to clear yeast infections on their own without additional treatment, said Kostov. If they go see a doctor and describe these symptoms, the doctor may do a test but its likely theyd determine the symptoms are synonymous with a yeast infection, she explained.
Over-the-counter treatments for yeast infections are found in most pharmacies and drug stores, which can help, she said.
For bacterial vaginosis, about half of all cases are asymptomatic where patients dont feel serious symptoms and the infection will go away on its own. The same can happen for people who are experiencing clear symptoms, like unusual discharge, said Kostov.
If its persistent and bothering you, seeing your family doctor would be helpful and the doctor may consider doing a swab to determine what the issue is. Treatment for bacterial vaginosis would be an antibiotic.
Patients that are coming in every one to two months with new symptoms, by that point doctors would have done more tests and examine underlying causes and whether a more rare fungus might be present. That patient may have an immune disorder they dont know about yet that could be causing frequent yeast infections, she said.
As for UTIs, about half of patients find these can resolve on their own, especially if they have a healthy immune system, she explained.
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Can Men Get Bacterial Vaginosis
Men cannot get bacterial vaginosis. A manâs body does not have an equivalent place that provides a friendly ecosystem for organisms and microflora, such as anaerobic bacteria and Lactobacilli, to grow.
If you think you have BV and you have a male sexual partner, there is no need for your partner to get tested or seek medical treatment. If your partner is a woman, however, she may want to consider getting tested for bacterial vaginosis, especially if your own BV is recurring or chronic.
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Symptoms Of Yeast Infection Vs Uti
Only a doctor can tell you for sure whether you’ve got a yeast infection or UTI . But each condition has its own distinctive set of symptoms, which could give you clues about which type of infection you might have.
Karyn Eilber, MD, a urologist who teaches at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles and founder/CEO of lubricant-maker Glissant, explains that if your symptoms are primarily related to urination, you probably have a UTI. That includes UTI symptoms like:
- feeling like you have to pee all the time
- an urgent need to urinate
- a burning sensation when you pee
- pee that’s reddish, pinkish, or cloudy
When you’ve got a yeast infection, you generally experience vaginal irritation all the timenot just when you have to urinate, Dr. Eilber tells Health. The Mayo Clinic says symptoms of a yeast infection include things like:
- vaginal discharge that’s thick and white, almost like cottage cheese
- vulva is swollen and red
- burning sensation, especially when you pee or have sex
- watery vaginal discharge
If your main symptom is burning sensation when you pee, it might be tricky for you to figure out if it’s a yeast infection versus a UTI.
“It’s possible that when a woman who has a yeast infection urinates, the outside skin will burn, and that’s where sometimes the confusion can come in with a UTI,” says Dr. Gersh.
But chances are good that you’ll also experience other symptoms that will help you narrow down the cause.
Prevention: Yeast Infection Vs Urinary Tract Infection
The actions you can take to prevent a yeast infection vs. a urinary tract infection are the same.
- Urinating when you feel the need to go rather than holding it in
- Urinating before and after sex
- Wiping from front to back after a bowel movement
- Changing out of exercise clothes and swimsuits as soon as youre done with the activity
- Changing female sanitary products often
- Avoiding the use of scented feminine hygiene products, vaginal sprays, and douches
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What Is A Bladder Infection
A bladder infection is a type of urinary tract infection, but not all UTIs are bladder infections. Bladder infections are the most common type of UTIs. A bladder infection may also be called cystitis and it is usually caused by bacteria.
Symptoms of a UTI can differ depending on what part of the urinary tract is infected. A bladder infection usually causes symptoms such as:
- Burning when urinating
- The feeling that you need to pee frequently, but when you go to the toilet very little urine comes out
- Pain in the pelvic area just above the pubic bone.
Bladder infections are usually considered simple UTIs and treatment is usually with antibiotics for three to five days. Symptoms usually resolve in a couple of days.
About Dr Kira Schmid Halak:
Dr. Kira Schmid Halak received her doctorate innaturopathic medicine from Bastyr University in Seattle, WA. Dr Halak is Senior manager of global R& D for the AZO and Estroven brands and is passionate about womens health. She was also the scientific director for the integrative medicine textbook, Disease Prevention & Treatment, and she is often heard on national and regional health programs, as well as being a frequent contributor to widely read health and wellness publications.
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Antibiotics Bacterial Vaginosis And Yeast Infections
BV is most often treated with antibiotics, which can often result in a yeast infection. Researchers still arenât sure why this happens but itâs thought that healthy and unhealthy vaginal flora are wiped out by antibiotics â giving way to Candida overgrowth, because of the lack of Lactobacillus strains left though no single study has confirmed this theory.
Plus, a 2019 review on the link between antibiotic use and vaginal yeast infections, found that women with low levels of vaginal lactobacilli werenât more likely to get a yeast infection. Nor were women dealing with recurrent yeast infections, more likely to have lactobacilli deficient vaginal microbiomes. In case you need a refresher, lactobacilli are the local heroes of the vaginal microbiome, ensuring that the vaginal environment is inhospitable for potential pathogens.
The same review suggests that maybe antibiotics donât impact lactobacilli at all. But instead, they trigger a change in the cells of the vaginal wall, which allows a Candida overgrowth to take place. However, more research is also needed to set this theory in stone!
How To Prevent The Occurrence Of Yeast Infection
Except in the cases of pregnancy and hormone therapy, it is possible to control the occurrence of yeast infections. By taking any of the following precautions, you can drastically reduce your chances of infection:
- Always wear neat, clean cotton panties that allow air to pass through
- Avoid tight-fitting clothes like pantyhose, especially during humid weather
- Avoid using scented pads and tampons.
- Avoid unnecessary use of antibiotic
Though they are often lumped together, UTI and vaginal infection are not the same thing. Both infections affect different systems of the body, and should be treated in a different manner. That said, eating a balanced diet and drinking plenty of water keeps you fit and helps you to fight the infections.
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How To Soothe Symptoms Without A Trip To The Doctor
With a slurry of information on the internet, any confusion about your symptoms only makes the situation that more difficult to bear as you sit hunched over in the hopes of protecting your vaginal area from more pain. Just remember, these are all normal issues that affect all folks with vaginas. But you dont have to normalize dealing with them.
If youre struggling with symptoms and havent had a chance to schedule an appointment with your doctor to diagnose your condition, or youre still experiencing recurring vaginal issues even after antibiotics and antifungal creams, know there are various natural homeopathic remedies that can help soothe your symptoms at home.
Momotaro Apotheca products are certified organic plant based treatment options that soothe the of your symptoms without interfering with hormones, pheromones , pH balance, or other medications like birth control.
All products are free from fillers and harsh chemicals that can irritate skin including sulfates, silicone, parabens, phthalates, artificial dyes and fragrance, alcohol, and animal byproducts to ensure that our products are as gentle on your skin as they are for the planet.
Soak in a Tonic infused bath or sitz bath. The jojoba oil base helps protect your skin while Cedar Wood, Sweet Orange, and Oregon Grape are natural antibacterials that stimulate blood flow to your pelvic region so your body can heal itself faster.
Next Time Youre About To Clear The Pharmacy Shelves Of Vaginal Suppositories And Uti Relief Sachets Not So Fast
Weâll go out on a limb and say, most of the time, if you have a full blown UTI, youâll know about it. That burning, bladder-doesnât-feel-quite-empty, even though youâve hit the restroom six times in the last hour, feeling, is almost unmistakable. If youâre not so sure though, donât automatically charge towards the pharmacy shelves, hunting for yeast infection treatment , either .
An itchy, irritated vulva could be caused by a number of things, like dermatitis. While unusual, excessive discharge could be any type of vaginal infection, from a yeast infection, to BV or an STI. Or possibly, a normal shift in discharge consistency as your menstrual cycle goes through the motions.
Referenced in this article:
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Special Care For Pregnant Women
When pregnant, hormonal and anatomical changes can increase the risk for urinary tract infections and yeast infections. Additionally, pregnant ladies and their babies tend to experience complications, even in the case of simple ailments. UTIs and yeast infections during pregnancy increase the risk of preeclampsia, low birth weight and premature labor.
Pregnant women who have symptoms of a UTI or a yeast infection should consult their doctor without delay. Such infections should be treated right away to prevent any severe complications. Your doctor will determine the best and safest treatment for you since some antibiotics and antifungals cannot be taken during pregnancy.
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How Long Does Bacterial Vaginosis Last
Most cases of bacterial vaginosis will go away on its own in a few days to a week. If your symptoms last more than 7 days, it might be time to think about seeing a medical professional for diagnosis and treatment of your BV.
If treated with a 7-day course of antibiotics, a BV infection will generally clear up within 2 to 3 days. It is important to continue taking the full dosage of antibiotics as your doctor prescribed. Other women may consider using a home remedy for a mild infection.
If left untreated, bacterial vaginosis can lead to further risk of complications such as an ovarian infection, fallopian tube infection, uterine infection, or pelvic inflammatory disease .
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Can A Yeast Infection Act Like A Uti
If you never have been diagnosed with a vaginal yeast infection or a UTI, it can be hard to tell the two apart since their symptoms are somewhat similar. Ovarian cysts, interstitial cystitis, bacterial vaginosis, and other conditions can cause symptoms similar to yeast infections and UTIs, making self-diagnosis even more challenging.
Thats why its a good idea to talk with your doctor any time you have significant pain or discomfort in your abdominal or genital area.
Who Is Most Susceptible To A Bladder Infection
UTIs are more common in women than men. This is partly due to their anatomy in women, the urethra is shorter, which makes it easier for bacteria to travel to the bladder and cause an infection.
Other risk factors for bladder infection include:
Any medical condition or injury that prevents you from emptying your bladder completely
Any medical condition that weakens your immune system
Being a woman in or after menopause
Having a UTI in the past
Needing to have a bladder catheter
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent UTIs. These include the following:
Drink plenty of water.
Empty your bladder immediately after sex.
Dont hold it when you feel the need to go.
Think about switching to a different method of birth control if you currently use one with spermicide.
Consider vaginal estrogen if youve gone through menopause.
Some people may benefit from cranberry supplements or antibiotics, especially if recurrent UTIs are a problem. You can learn more here about preventing UTIs.
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