Blog/Do I have a UTI or Yeast Infection?
5/1/2023 | 3 min read

Do I have a UTI or Yeast Infection?

Know their symptoms and learn how to tell the difference

A young woman on a virtual using her phone, who is holding her lower abdomen with a look of pain her on her face

Do you feel the urge to pee all…the..time or is there a persistent itch coming from…down there? Depending on your symptoms, you could have a UTI or yeast infection.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) and yeast infections are two common health conditions that affect women mostly. Although both of them can cause discomfort and pain in the genital area, they are two distinct conditions that require different treatments. We’re here to help you understand the key differences between UTIs and yeast infections and how to identify and treat them.

What is a UTI?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that affects any part of the urinary system, which includes the kidneys, bladder, ureters and urethra. The most common type of UTI is a bladder infection, which is caused by bacteria entering the urinary system through the urethra and multiplying in the bladder. Thanks to a smaller urethra, UTIs are more common in women than men because it’s easier for bacteria to enter the bladder.

The symptoms of a UTI can vary, but common symptoms include:

  • A strong, persistent urge to urinate

  • Burning or pain during urination

  • Passing small amounts of urine frequently

  • Cloudy or strong-smelling urine

  • Pain in the lower abdomen or back

  • Fever and chills (in more severe cases)

If left untreated, UTIs can spread to the kidneys and cause more serious health problems. Therefore, it's important to see a healthcare provider if you suspect you have a UTI.

What is a yeast infection?

A yeast infection is a type of fungal infection that affects the vagina and vulva. It is caused by an overgrowth of Candida, a type of yeast that is normally present in small amounts in the vagina. Yeast infections are more common in women who are pregnant, have diabetes or take antibiotics.

The symptoms of a yeast infection include:

  • Itching and irritation in the vagina and vulva

  • Redness and swelling of the vulva

  • Pain and burning during urination or sex

  • Thick, white discharge that resembles cottage cheese

Yeast infections are not usually serious, but they can be uncomfortable and irritating. If you suspect you have a yeast infection, it's important to see a healthcare provider to confirm the diagnosis and receive appropriate treatment. Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is another condition with similar symptoms that requires proper diagnosis.

Differences between UTIs and yeast infections

The main difference between UTIs and yeast infections is their cause. UTIs are caused by bacteria, while yeast infections are caused by a type of fungus. Additionally, the symptoms of UTIs and yeast infections can be different.

While both UTIs and yeast infections can cause pain or burning during urination, UTIs are more likely to cause a frequent urge to urinate and pain in the lower abdomen or back. Yeast infections, on the other hand, are more likely to cause itching and irritation in the vagina and vulva.

The discharge associated with UTIs is usually cloudy or strong-smelling, while the discharge associated with yeast infections is thick and white. Additionally, yeast infections can be accompanied by redness and swelling of the vulva, while UTIs are not.

Treatment for UTIs and yeast infections

The treatment offered for UTIs and yeast infections is different because they’re caused by different types of organisms (bacteria and fungus). UTIs are typically treated with antibiotics, which are prescribed by a healthcare provider. It's important to take the full course of antibiotics as prescribed, even if your symptoms improve before the medication is finished. This is to ensure that all the problem bacteria have been dealt with and to decrease the chances of the infection returning.

Yeast infections, on the other hand, are typically treated with antifungal medications, which are available over-the-counter (OTC) or by prescription. Over-the-counter treatments for yeast infections include creams, ointments and suppositories that are inserted into the vagina. It's important to follow the instructions on the package or those provided by your healthcare provider when using these treatments.

Common medications:

  • Fluconazole 150 mg 

  • Miconazole 2% vaginal cream

  • Miconazole 100 mg suppository

  • Miconazole 2% vaginal cream

Preventing UTIs and yeast infections

While UTIs and yeast infections are not always preventable, there are some tips that may help prevent that next one.

UTI prevention:

  • Drink plenty of fluids

  • Pee after sexual intercourse

  • Wipe front to back after using the bathroom (never back to front)

  • Urinate at least every four hours

  • Avoid using scented products around your vaginal area (they can mess with natural Ph balance!)

  • Take probiotics to promote healthy bacteria

  • Consume cranberries or 100% cranberry juice (NOT concentrate)

Yeast Infection prevention:

  • Wear breathable underwear (take a break from the thong!)

  • Keep it loose (alternate between loose and snug fitting pants)

  • Wipe front to back after using the bathroom

  • Change out of those sweaty clothes (extra moisture is NOT your friend)

  • Change tampons and pads frequently when menstruating

  • Eat foods like yogurt that contain active cultures

How can Agile help with common conditions?

At Agile, we believe everyone should have access to excellent healthcare, regardless of where you are or when you need it. We offer convenient, virtual care across the U.S. for your most common medical conditions. Our network of providers are ready to address your unique concerns to deliver effective, personalized treatment in a timely manner. 

To tap into fast, cost-effective care now, schedule a consultation with one of our licensed clinicians!