Urinary tract infection (UTI) and vaginal yeast infection are two conditions that commonly strike women. Even though they both may share similar symptoms, they are vastly different conditions that require different treatment in order for the condition to go away.
A vaginal yeast infection – also referred to as candidiasis – is caused by the fungus candida, which triggers itchiness, swelling, and irritation. After experiencing one yeast infection, your risk of developing future ones becomes higher. The Mayo Clinic reports that three in every four women will experience at least one vaginal yeast infection in their lifetime.
Although vaginal yeast infection can spread through sexual intercourse, it is are considered a sexually transmitted disease. Other causes of vaginal yeast infection include antibiotics use, pregnancy, uncontrolled diabetes, weak immune system, poor eating habits, hormonal imbalances, stress, and lack of sleep.
A urinary tract infection is commonly caused by bacteria and affects any part of the urinary tract including the bladder and kidneys. Women are at a higher risk for a UTI, because they have a shorter urethra than men, allowing bacteria to enter quicker.
Urinary tract infection vs. yeast infection characteristics
|Urinary tract infection||Vaginal yeast infection|
|Description||Infection found in any part of the urinary tract||Yeast infections can affect any part in the body, including mouth, skin, and vagina|
|Cause||Mainly caused by E.coli, but other bacteria and fungus may cause a UTI as well||Candida albicans|
|Risk factors||Sexual activity using a diaphragm, menopause, uncontrolled diabetes, enlarged prostate, congenital urinary genital abnormalities, use of a catheter, urinary surgery||Immunosuppressive drugs, chemotherapy, diabetes, pregnancy, taking oral contraceptives, use of douches or perfumed vaginal hygiene products, sexual intercourse with an infected partner|
|Symptoms||Burning when urinating, frequent urination, no white discharge, fever, nausea, vomiting, pain||Itching and soreness of the vagina, pain and burning when urinating, white discharge with abnormal odor|
|Medications||Antibiotics||Antifungals – oral and topical|
Tips to prevent simultaneous UTI and yeast infection
In some cases, a urinary tract infection and yeast infection can occur simultaneously. Especially if you have been on antibiotics trying to fight the UTI, this can actually increase your risk of a vaginal yeast infection. Here are some tips to ensure that both conditions don’t occur at the same time.
- Stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids to flush your system out.
- Eat probiotic-rich foods like Sauerkraut, yogurt, and kimchi – if you’re on antibiotics, ensure to up your dosages of probiotics as well.
- Avoid wearing tight underwear or skinny, tight jeans.
- Cut down on sugar as it feeds bacteria and fungus alike.
- Eat a well-balanced diet.
- Reduce stress and exercise.
- Insert a tampon with three percent potassium sorbate and water and leave in overnight.
UTI and yeast infection treatment options
To treat a urinary tract infection, your doctor will first prescribe general antibiotics until the results of your urine test comes back outlining the specific bacteria that caused the UTI. Then, your doctor may change your antibiotics to specifically target that strain of bacteria.
Other treatment options include drinking pure cranberry juice – not the sugary kind – or consuming cranberry extract.
Vaginal yeast infection is commonly treated with antifungal medications or topical creams. Generally, this will work if the infection is caught early and is mild, but if it is severe then treatment may have to extend for a few weeks as opposed to days. Long-term treatment may involve the use of one or more medications combined and your doctor may give you a maintenance plan in order to reduce your risk of future vaginal yeast infection.
UTI and yeast infection home remedies and prevention
Here are some tips to prevent UTIs and yeast infections using home remedies.
Urinary tract infection
- Don’t hold in your urine, always empty your bladder when you feel the need to go.
- Wipe front to back.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Take a shower instead of a bath.
- Avoid scented feminine hygiene products.
- Clean your genitals prior to and after sex.
- Urinate after sexual intercourse.
- Consider switching your birth control methods from a diaphragm to oral contraceptives.
- Wear cotton underwear and avoid tight underwear and jeans.
Vaginal yeast infection
- Eat a healthy diet, minimize sugars.
- Control diabetes.
- Avoid unnecessary antibiotics.
- Practice good hygiene – avoid scented products, wipe front to back, wear cotton underwear.
- Avoid tight-fitting clothing.
- Change out of wet clothing or swimsuits immediately.
- Change pads or tampons often.
- Don’t douche or use deodorant wipes.
By following these home remedy prevention tips, you can have greater success in preventing a future UTI or vagina yeast infection.
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