Difference Between a UTI and a Yeast Infection
Updated: Sep 21
Both urinary tract infections (UTIs) and yeast infections can be painful. They both create discomfort in the genital area that can cause a burning sensation every time you go to the bathroom.
Although you may be tempted to hurry up and treat the problem, it’s important to know whether you have a UTI or a yeast infection before you begin treatment, as each of these conditions is treated differently.
Differences in Symptoms of a UTI and a Yeast Infection
Although both UTIs and yeast infections share some similarities in symptoms, they also have distinct symptoms that can help you determine which one you’re experiencing.
The unique symptoms of a UTI include:
The frequent urge to urinate
Pain or tenderness of the lower abdomen, sides, or back
Cloudy, discolored, or bloody urine
Urine with a pungent smell
In some cases of severe UTIs, you may also experience fever, chills, nausea and vomiting.
The unique symptoms of a yeast infection include:
Itching and irritation of the vagina and vulva
Burning sensation during intercourse
Redness and swelling of the vulva
Vaginal pain and soreness
Thick, white vaginal discharge that doesn't have an odor
Differences in Treatment for a UTI and a Yeast Infection
Although UTIs and yeast infections sometimes go away on their own, that isn’t always the case. Treating your condition can make your symptoms go away faster and prevent you from developing potential complications.
There are some home remedies available to ease the symptoms of UTIs, such as drinking cranberry juice and taking probiotics, but they aren’t guaranteed to work. Urinary tract infections are best treated with antibiotics that are prescribed by a medical professional.
Antifungal medications are a common way to treat yeast infections. They are available as creams, ointments, tablets, and suppositories. Some of these are available over the counter to treat minor infections, while others are only available with a prescription. Single-dose oral medications are also available, with additional doses for those experiencing severe symptoms.
Preventing UTIs and Yeast Infections
Many of the tips for preventing UTIs and yeast infections are the same. They include things like:
Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water
Wiping from front to back after a bowel movement
Urinating before and after sex
Changing out of swimsuits and exercise clothing quickly
Changing female sanitary products regularly
Some tips are specific to UTIs. For example, probiotics and cranberry products can help prevent future UTIs, while not douching and not using scented feminine products can help prevent future yeast infections.
You will also want to pay close attention to your hygiene habits if you are taking an antibiotic. Women commonly develop yeast infections during or after taking an antibiotic because they are designed to kill bacteria, which includes the healthy bacteria in the vagina.
Not sure if you have a UTI or a yeast infection? Start a telehealth visit. A licensed medical professional will go over your symptoms and determine which condition you are experiencing. They can even fill a prescription at a local pharmacy so you can start feeling relief from your symptoms right away.