Urinary tract infections/ UTIs and yeast infections are common women’s health issues. These are two different infections, but the overlapping symptoms can be confusing. UTI usually causes pain while urinating, while a yeast infection presents with vaginal discharge and itching. Do you know the difference between UTI and yeast infection? Read the article to clear up your confusion.
Difference Between UTI vs Yeast Infection
Did you know that UTIs are the second most common infection? There are over eight million visits to the doctor per year due to UTIs.
Know the difference between yeast infection symptoms vs UTI for better overall health and to prevent chronic health issues down the road.
Causes: UTI vs Yeast Infection
- UTI Causes: The most common cause of a UTI is an excessive amount of bacteria in the urinary tract.
- Yeast Infection Causes: Yeast infections are commonly caused by Candida albicans fungus, and 75 percent of women will get at least one yeast infection in a lifetime.
|UTI Causes||Yeast Infection Causes|
|Bacteria such as E Coli||Candida albicans fungus|
|Use of spermicides||Use of birth control and antibiotics|
|Poorly managed diabetes||Stress, illness, pregnancy|
|Intercourse or exposure to STDs||Wearing tight clothes that trap in moisture|
Symptoms: UTI vs Yeast Infection
- UTI Symptoms: UTI symptoms are the most challenging when it comes to the difference between UTI and yeast infection. Frequent urge to urinate, burning sensation when urinating, and dark cloudy urine are all common symptoms. If your kidneys have already been affected, you may experience fever, chills, nausea, and blood in your urine.
- Yeast Infection Symptoms: Like in the case of a UTI, you may experience painful urination if you have a yeast infection. Making it essential to know the difference between UTI and yeast infection. Itchiness, burning, or soreness around the vaginal area is another common symptom. You may even have redness or swelling of the vulva. These symptoms can be associated with thick vaginal discharge that is mostly odorless.
The table summaries the similarities and differences:
|Symptoms of UTI||Symptoms of yeast infection|
|Pain and burning while urinating||Pain can occur when urinating or during intercourse|
|Feeling the urge to urinate frequently||Vaginal or vulvar itching|
|Not associated with swelling||swelling of the vagina or vulva|
|Discolored or cloudy urine that may be red or pink from blood||Pain in the affected area|
|Foul-smelling urine or cloudy urine||Mostly odorless thick and white vaginal discharge|
|Can be associated with fever or chills, vomiting, or nausea in case of a severe infection||–|
|Lower abdominal pressure or pain in the back, and sides||Mild pelvic pain|
Diagnosis: UTI vs Yeast Infection
- UTI Diagnosis: The diagnosis involves a urine analysis that can be done at your doctor’s office. A urine sample is collected to test it for the presence of bacteria.
- Yeast Infection Diagnosis: A physical exam and a vaginal swab are done in order to diagnose a yeast infection. Although, symptoms are self-explanatory and sufficient to start treatment.
Treatment Options: UTI vs Yeast Infection
- UTI Treatment: Antibiotics are a standard treatment for UTIs.
- Yeast Infection Treatment: An over-the-counter medication or antifungal cream can treat a yeast infection. There are several other treatments as well.
Preventions: UTI vs Yeast Infection
- UTI Prevention: Hydration is an easy prevention factor for a UTI. It is also good not to hold your urine. If you feel the urge, take care of your bathroom business. Urinating after sex is also a recommended prevention measure. Another reason to know the difference between UTI and yeast infection
- Yeast Infection Prevention: The first step to preventing a yeast infection is to alter your wardrobe choices. The following prevention tip is wearing cotton underwear and not wearing tight-fitting jeans or pants. Another way to prevent yeast infections is to change out of those sweaty workout clothes as soon as possible.
Did you know that eating yogurt could prevent yeast infections? This is due to the live cultures of lactobacillus acidophilus or probiotics. However, yeast infections can also be present in other parts of your body, besides the vagina, like the mouth.
Risk Factors of Getting a Yeast Infection vs Bladder Infection
UTIs and yeast infections are prevalent in women as compared to men. Studies indicate the percentage to be 23.3% in women and 6.8% in men, respectively.
According to studies, 75 out of 100 women get a yeast infection at least once in their lifetime.
Risk factors for yeast infections include:
- weak immune system
- excessive use of antibiotics
- being pregnant
- having uncontrolled diabetes
- use of hormonal birth control containing high levels of estrogen
- douching or using vaginal sprays
- wearing tight underwear/ clothes that provide a moist environment
Risk factors for a UTI can include:
- using diaphragms or spermicide as contraceptive methods
- having sex
- wiping from back to front after a bowel movement
- kidney stones
- urinating without completely emptying the bladder
- having a urinary catheter
|Risk factors for UTI||Risk factors for a Yeast Infection|
|Being sexually active||Douching|
|Weak immune system||Low immunity|
|Having kidney stones||Use of hormonal birth control and antibiotics|
Females are more prone to developing UTIs as compared to males because the female urethra is shorter, providing easy access to the bladder and allowing bacteria near the vagina to enter it more easily.
Other Conditions that Cause Similar Symptoms
Another possibility that can occur is having UTI and yeast infection at the same time. If that is the case, you may be experiencing vaginal pain, burning sensation and UTI discharge in females and may be confused about what type of infection you may have. This often results from taking antibiotics to treat a urinary tract infection and ending up having a yeast infection as well. Treatment for both is required if such is the case.
Although UTIs and yeast infections are common, their similarity in the presenting symptoms is confusing. Additionally, symptoms overlap with other conditions or infections as well and can cause people to mistake one condition for another.
Conditions causing symptoms similar to those of yeast infections and UTIs include:
- Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a bladder condition that leads to frequent urination and chronic pain in the bladder region.
- Bacterial vaginosis causes painful urination, itching, and a foul odor. An overgrowth of bacteria in/around the vagina leads to bacterial vaginosis.
- Ovarian cysts: are growths that develop on the ovaries. Ovarian cysts can cause abdominal discomfort, a frequent urge to urinate, bloating, and pain in the lower back.
- Sexually transmitted infections include chlamydia, gonorrhea, and mycoplasma.
When to Consult a Doctor
Identify and treat the right infection to stay as healthy, happy, and comfortable as possible. And knowing the difference between UTI and yeast infection will help you do that.
If you have questions about UTIs and yeast infections, talk to a doctor online and get the answers and treatment you require. It is vital to treat these infections as soon as detected.
Related: How to Get Rid of a UTI Faster
FAQs About UTIs and Yeast Infection Answered by Your Doctors Online Team
Itching is not a common symptom of a UTI, but vaginal itching is commonly associated with a yeast infection. A complicated urinary tract infection may result in a rare condition called sepsis. Sepsis is a result of bacteria entering the blood circulation. This can cause symptoms such as a fever, skin rash, hypotension, nausea etc.
Yes, you need to consult a doctor if you have a yeast infection or UTI symptoms. However, it is best to seek treatment to prevent any complications. Complications of an untreated UTI include frequent infections, permanent kidney damage or sepsis.
Yeast infections do not cause UTIs, but it is possible to have both conditions simultaneously. Taking antibiotics to treat a UTI can trigger a yeast infection.
Urinary tract infection can cause cloudy urine or blood in the urine. Urethritis(inflammation of the urethra) can lead to a urinary tract infection in men.
No, a yeast infection is caused by candida and is a fungal infection presenting with vaginal soreness, itching and thick white discharge. Bacteria usually cause a urinary tract infection.
A urinary tract infection does not convert into a yeast infection but taking antibiotics to treat a UTI can trigger a yeast infection. Antibiotics can mess up normal vaginal flora causing a yeast infection to occur.
Some symptoms of a UTI and yeast infection overlap. Vaginal discomfort, soreness, abdominal discomfort and pain when urinating are some symptoms that overlap in the case of both infections.
A mild infection can go away on its own or with home remedies or over-the-counter treatment. However, severe symptoms that do not resolve require proper treatment.
Yes, it is possible to have both infections at the same time. Women taking antibiotics to treat a urinary tract infection often report having a yeast infection during or after the treatment.
Chronic medical conditions such as diabetes or a weak immune system may make you more prone to developing such infections.
Medicated creams or an antifungal pill are the fastest way to cure yeast infections. These creams and the oral pill, such as fluconazole, cure the infection in most cases. In case of a UTI, antibiotics help resolve the infection quickly.
A UTI can be cured in a few days with treatment. However, complicated infections can take longer to resolve. Yeast infection can last from a few days to months.