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UTI vs yeast infection: How can you tell the difference?

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There’s nothing worse than feeling pain and discomfort in your genital area. It can be quite scary, especially when you are not sure what it is that’s causing it. Your mind would probably think about a yeast infection or a UTI (urinary tract infection). Quite often, these are the two conditions that lead to discomfort and pain down there! While you may know about them, you may not know the differences between the two infections.

Although the types of infections are similar, the symptoms and causes could be different. So, HealthShots asked Dr Payal Narang, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Lulla Nagar, Pune, to understand the differences between a UTI and yeast infection.

UTI vs yeast infection

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) or yeast infections are common occurrences in women. Women who are diagnosed with either of these conditions experience discomfort and pain in the vaginal area.

UTI vs yeast infection
UTI vs yeast infection: Know the difference. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Dr Narang explains, “A UTI occurs when the bacteria from one’s skin or rectum enter the urethra and tend to infect the urinary tract, including the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.

A yeast infection is a fungal infection that leads to signs such as irritation, discharge, and intense itching of the vagina and the vulva. These two conditions are different from each other. Women should immediately consult a doctor when they notice any symptoms.”

Also Read: Beware of these 6 common causes of vaginal yeast infection

Symptoms you should know

The signs and symptoms of both these conditions are quite different. Dr Narang shares the following symptoms of the disease.

As far as UTI symptoms go, women suffering from the condition will experience symptoms such as painful urination, frequent urination, cloudy urine, pelvic pain, and abdominal distress. Whereas, the signs and symptoms of a yeast infection are painful intercourse, vaginal discharge, swelling of the vagina, itching, redness, and a burning sensation down there.

Causes of UTI

Dr Narang shares that a UTI occurs due to contact with stool, which contains bacteria, such as E. Coli, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and urinary retention. UTI occurs mainly in pregnant women, obese, menopausal and those with weakened immune systems.

uti vs yeast infection
Know the causes of a UTI and yeast infection. Image Courtesy: Freepik

Causes of yeast infection

A yeast infection can occur due to Candida that builds up in a moist area of the skin, causing an infection, certain medications, wearing tight undergarments, hormonal changes, and unmanaged diabetes. A yeast infection is also seen in pregnant women, having compromised immunity, ones using antibiotics, and those using hormonal birth control pills, explains the expert.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis and the treatment also vary with both conditions. A UTI is diagnosed with a urine sample, whereas, yeast infection is detected by taking a swab test. Depending on the condition, the doctor would suggest appropriate medication.

How to prevent a UTI and a yeast infection?

The gynaecologist suggests the following ways to prevent a UTI and yeast infection:

  • Make sure to wipe your vagina from front to back
  • Keep your blood sugar levels in check
  • Wear cotton undergarments
  • Avoid wearing tight clothes
  • Do not wear wet clothes
  • Say no to chemical-laden products and douching down there
  • Do not hold the urine for a longer time
  • Drink enough water
  • Avoid taking hot baths

Don’t forget to check with your doctor to know the condition you’re suffering from and what you can do to treat or prevent it.

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