UTI vs Yeast Infection: Know The Difference

UTIs and yeast infections are common ailments that affect many women. Knowing the differences between the two can help with proper diagnosis, preventive measures and treatment.

By Simran
22 Feb 2023

UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) and yeast infections are two common medical conditions that affect many individuals. Both of these conditions can cause discomfort and may have similar symptoms, but they are entirely different and require different treatment approaches. It is important to know the difference between UTI and yeast infections to ensure appropriate treatment.


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What is a UTI?

A UTI is an infection that occurs in any part of the urinary system, which includes the bladder, urethra, kidneys, and ureters. UTIs are caused by bacteria entering the urinary tract, and the symptoms can vary depending on which part of the urinary tract is affected. Common symptoms of UTI include:


Related Story: Can Holding In Pee Cause A UTI


UTIs can affect people of all ages and genders, but they are more common in women. This is because women have a shorter urethra, which makes it easier for bacteria to enter the urinary tract.

​​The most common cause of a UTI is the presence of bacteria, such as Escherichia coli (E. coli), in the urinary tract. Bacteria can enter the urinary tract through the urethra and travel up into the bladder or kidneys, where they can cause infection.


Several factors can increase the risk of developing a UTI, including:

1. Sexual activity: Sexual activity can introduce bacteria into the urinary tract, increasing the risk of infection.

2. Pregnancy: Changes in hormones and pressure on the bladder during pregnancy can increase the risk of UTIs.

3. Menopause: Changes in hormonal levels during menopause can increase the risk of UTIs.

4. Urinary tract abnormalities: Abnormalities in the urinary tract, such as blockages or narrow urethras, can increase the risk of UTIs.

5. Catheter use: People who use catheters to drain their bladders are more susceptible to UTIs.

6. Immune system problems: Conditions that weaken the immune system, such as diabetes or HIV/AIDS, can increase the risk of UTIs.

7. Bowel incontinence: People who experience bowel incontinence are more susceptible to UTIs due to bacteria from the bowel being introduced into the urinary tract.


Related Story: What Your Urologist Wants You To Know


What is a yeast infection?

A yeast infection, on the other hand, is a type of fungal infection that affects the genital area. Yeast infections are caused by the overgrowth of a type of yeast called Candida, which is normally present in small amounts in the body but can grow out of control under certain conditions. The symptoms of yeast infection can include:

Yeast infections are more common in women than in men, and they can also affect men. Yeast infections in men can cause itching and a rash on the penis.


There are several factors that can contribute to the development of a yeast infection, including:

1. Antibiotics: Antibiotics can kill off the bacteria that normally keep the growth of yeast in check, allowing yeast to overgrow and cause an infection.

2. Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes during pregnancy, menstrual cycle, or menopause can alter the balance of yeast in the body and increase the risk of infection.

3. Diabetes: People with poorly controlled diabetes are more susceptible to yeast infections because high blood sugar levels create a favourable environment for yeast growth.

4. Weakened immune system: People with weakened immune systems due to conditions such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, or organ transplantation are more vulnerable to yeast infections.

5. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs): Some STIs, such as trichomoniasis or chlamydia, can mimic the symptoms of a yeast infection.

6. Tight-fitting or damp clothing: Wearing tight-fitting or damp clothing, especially in the genital area, can create a warm and moist environment that encourages yeast growth.

7. Personal hygiene: Poor personal hygiene practices, such as not washing the genital area properly or using scented products, can disrupt the natural balance of yeast in the body and increase the risk of infection.


Related Story: Your No-nonsense Guide To Vulvar And Vaginal Care


How to tell the difference between UTI and yeast infection?

While UTIs and yeast infections can have some similar symptoms, there are some key differences that can help you distinguish between the two. The main difference is that UTIs typically cause pain or burning during urination, while yeast infections do not. Yeast infections, on the other hand, can cause itching and a thick, white discharge from the vagina.

If you are experiencing symptoms of either UTI or yeast infection, it is important to consult a healthcare provider to get an accurate diagnosis. Your healthcare provider may recommend a urine test or a vaginal swab to diagnose the infection.


Treatment for UTI and yeast infection

Both UTI and yeast infections require different treatments. UTIs are typically treated with antibiotics to kill the bacteria causing the infection. Yeast infections, on the other hand, are treated with antifungal medication, which can be administered orally or as a cream.

It is important to complete the full course of antibiotics or antifungal medication as prescribed by your healthcare provider to ensure that the infection is fully treated.


Related Story: Understanding Vaginal Discharge: What’s Normal, What’s Not


Prevention of UTIs and yeast infections

There are several steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing UTIs and yeast infections:

  • Drink plenty of water to flush out bacteria from the urinary tract.
  • Urinate frequently, don’t hold it in.
  • Wipe from front to back after using the toilet to prevent bacteria from the rectum from entering the urethra.
  • Wear cotton underwear and avoid tight-fitting clothes that can trap moisture.
  • Avoid douching, as it can disrupt the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina.

If you are experiencing symptoms of either UTI or yeast infection, it is important to consult a healthcare provider to get an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. By following the prevention tips, you can reduce your risk of developing these infections


Related Story: The Lowdowns on UTIs


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