Yeast Infection and Urinary Tract Infection: Know the Difference

Vaginal Problem

Story at-a-glance -

  • UTI results from incorrectly wiping after urination
  • If left untreated, UTI can cause a condition known as pyelonephritis, or severe kidney damage

Apart from yeast infection, urinary tract infection (UTI) is another common vaginal problem. They have similar symptoms, but there are indicators unique for each disease to help you distinguish one from the other. UTI occurs when E. coli bacteria infect your urethra, the tube where urine exits your bladder. Normally, UTI results from incorrectly wiping after urination. If you wipe from back to front, bacteria from the anus can quickly transfer to the urethra.1

E. coli are covered with fimbriae, which are tiny, finger-like appendages that slowly climb up the walls of your urinary tract. Fimbriae are made of lectins, proteins that bond perfectly with mannose — cells that line your urinary tract — making bacteria hard to wash out. Symptoms of a UTI include:2

A burning feeling during urination (similar to yeast infection)

Frequent urge to urinate, even if little comes out every time you do

Cloudy and bloody urine

Pain in your lower back or abdomen (this means the bacteria are slowly traveling up your urinary tract)3

If left untreated, UTI can cause a condition known as pyelonephritis, or severe kidney damage. Symptoms of this condition include fever, malaise, nausea, vomiting and blood in the urine.4 Should you experience any of these symptoms, head to your doctor right away as the bacteria may have already reached your kidneys.

Treatment for a UTI typically involves antibiotics. However, a natural remedy like unsweetened cranberry juice is a good alternative because it has D-mannose, a compound known for healing the urinary tract. Moderate consumption is advised, however, because the oxalic acid of cranberries can enhance the anticoagulant capacity of certain medications. The fruit also contains sugar, and too much of it can negatively impact your health.

Another alternative is pure D-mannose, which is derived from peaches, apples and, of course, cranberries. Amazingly, it is 10 to 50 times stronger than cranberry juice, without any adverse effects at all. Rashes are not a symptom of a UTI, so if they appear, it means that you may have a yeast infection. Both diseases however, may cause a burning sensation when urinating. Should you experience rash as a symptom, visit your doctor immediately.

UTI Can Lead to Yeast Infection

Typically, antibiotics are used to flush out bacteria in the urinary tract; however, they also have the side effect of reducing your probiotics, allowing fungi to spread freely. If you're undergoing treatment for a UTI, it's best to anticipate the symptoms of yeast infection. Consuming fermented foods can help replace good bacteria lost to antibiotics, which may help lower your chances of getting a yeast infection.

Preventive Measures for Your Urinary Tract Health

To lower your chances of getting a UTI, there are several practices you can adopt:5,6

Drink filtered water regularly: Regularly urinating can help flush out bacteria instead of leaving them to grow in your urinary tract.

Eat cranberry: Research suggests that cranberries are rich in antioxidants that may promote a healthy urethra. However, limit your consumption as these fruits contain sugar.

Wipe from front to back: This maneuver can help reduce the chances of bacteria from reaching your urethra.

Avoid irritating feminine products: Hygiene products that irritate your vaginal area can increase your chances of developing a UTI.

Wash your genitals before and after sexual intercourse: Keeping your genitals clean can help prevent transfer of bacteria to and from your partner.

Take showers instead of baths: Showering can reduce the chances of getting a UTI as the bacteria doesn’t linger in the water.

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