Urinary tract infections (UTI) and yeast infections are often thought to be one and the same, because they share a lot of the same symptoms. It is important for anyone experiencing any of the following symptoms to see a doctor, because while yeast infections are uncomfortable and painful, they are relatively harmless. UTIs, on the other hand, can have very serious, long term complications if left untreated.
What is a UTI?
UTIs are infections that affect any part of the urinary tract (ureters, urethra and even the bladder and kidneys). Telltale symptoms include a burning sensation when urinating, pain in the back and/or abdomen, the increasingly frequent need to urinate (even if very little urine is passed), bloody, cloudy or foul smelling urine as well as fever and chills. UTIs can affect both males and females. If left untreated a UTI can cause permanent kidney damage, sepsis, and in severe cases, even death. Curing a UTI requires antibiotics.
What is a Yeast Infection?
A yeast infection is a vaginal infection caused by a fungus called Candida Albicans. The most common symptoms include painful urination and sexual penetration, intense itching of the vagina and labia, swollen and red vulva and thick, sour smelling vaginal discharge. Yeast infections are rare in men and are usually the result of a man having sexual intercourse with a woman who has a yeast infection. The treatment for yeast infections can be purchased over the counter in most pharmacies and consists of a vaginal suppository or cream.
Tips to Prevent UTIs and Yeast Infections
• Don’t hold it in. When you have to urinate, do so without delay. Urine that remains in the bladder for an extended period of time is conducive to growing bacteria.
• Always urinate after intercourse to help flush bacteria that might have been pushed up your urethra.
• Wear clean, white lined cotton underwear and avoid tight closed. This helps keep the urethra and vagina dry and free of bacteria.
• Do not use vaginal douches, sprays or perfumed liners or toilet paper.
• If you have had repeat UTIs or yeast infections, avoid taking baths, as the water can carry bacteria up your urethra or vagina and cause further infections.