Carefree M.D. Blog

UTI vs. Yeast Infection: Differences and Similarities

Carefree MD

June 26, 2021 | Blog

UTIs and yeast infections are both uncomfortable infections in the genital area. While they’re very similar in some symptoms and causes, they’re completely different infections. Find out why they’re easy to mix up, and how to tell the difference between UTI and a yeast infection.

What Is a UTI?

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are bacterial infections of the bladder, kidneys, and the tubes connected to them. They’re more common among women, but men can also have UTIs. 40% of women and 12% of men experience a UTI in their lifetime.

Certain conditions can make you more susceptible to catching a UTI:

  • Being sexually active
  • Being pregnant
  • Using or having used antibiotics recently
  • Obesity
  • Menopause
  • Having had multiple children
  • Diabetes
  • Having a kidney stone or another blockage in your urinary tract
  • Weakened immune system

What Is a Yeast Infection?

Yeast infections happen when a fungus called Candida builds up on your skin, and your body responds with an infection. Just like UTIs, yeast infections affect both women and men. 

However, it affects women more commonly than men. 75% of women will get a yeast infection at least once in their life. 
Since moist areas are more susceptible for Candida yeast to overgrow, the genital area is where yeast infections most commonly develop.

However, moisture around the breasts can also be enough for an infection. While a vaginal yeast infection isn’t sexually transmitted, in rare cases, it can pass to a partner during sex. 

Certain conditions can make you more susceptible to developing a yeast infection:

  • Being the age between puberty and menopause
  • Pregnancy
  • Using hormonal birth control
  • Diabetes
  • Using or having used antibiotics recently
  • Using vaginal douches
  • Compromised immune system

Symptoms of a UTI vs. Yeast Infection

Knowing what symptoms UTIs and yeast infections have doesn’t just help you diagnose yourself. It also helps you understand the difference between them.

Common Symptoms of Both UTIs and Yeast Infections 

Symptoms both UTis and yeast infections have, making them easy to confuse:

  • Pain and burning when urinating
  • Pain in the affected area

Symptoms Unique to UTIs

  • Feeling the need to urinate more often
  • Often not urinating much despite feeling otherwise
  • Discolored and cloudy urine
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Pain or feeling of pressure in your lower abdomen, back, and sides
  • Fever or chills, vomiting, or nausea (in serious cases)

Symptoms Unique to Yeast Infections

  • Itchiness
  • Swelling
  • Thick and milky looking vaginal discharge

What Causes UTIs and Yeast Infections?

When bacteria gets into your urinary system (urethra, bladder, ureters, kidney), you can develop a UTI. 
Common causes of UTIs are:

  • Contact with stool
  • Sex
  • Exposure to STIs
  • Spermicide and diaphragms during sex
  • Delaying urination often

Unlike UTIs, yeast infections happen on your skin. A buildup of Candida fungus in moist areas of the body triggers an immune response. Vaginal yeast infections are the most common kind, which makes it easy to confuse with a UTI.

Common causes of vaginal yeast infections are: 

  • Changes to your immune system caused by stress, illness, pregnancy, and other factors
  • Medications (such as birth control, antibiotics, and steroids)
  • Hormones
  • High blood sugar
  • Wearing tight or restrictive underwear and pants

How to Treat UTIs and Yeast Infections?

If you suspect that you have a UTI or a yeast infection, turn to a doctor. It’s important to talk to a professional, as both UTIs and yeast infections can easily get worse as infections spread. They can evaluate your symptoms, diagnose you, and recommend treatment options.

Usually, doctors diagnose UTIs with a urine sample and yeast infections with a swab.

Luckily, both a UTI and a yeast infection are easy to treat.

Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics for a UTI. Even if your symptoms disappear within a few days, make sure you complete your antibiotic treatment for successful recovery. 

Yeast infections on the other hand are usually treated with antifungal medication. You can either get a prescription or find over-the-counter antifungal treatments.

If you get recurring UTIs or yeast infections in a short period of time, your doctor will advise on a more aggressive treatment plan for you.

UTI vs. Yeast Infection Prevention

Can you prevent UTIs and yeast infections? 

Although you often can’t completely avoid them, there are definitely effective preventive measures you can take to lower your risk of these infections:

  • Wipe from front to back after using the toilet
  • Wear cotton underwear
  • Avoid tight-fitting underwear and pants
  • Change out of wet swimsuits quickly
  • Don’t douche or use vaginal sprays
  • Use fragrance-free feminine hygiene products
  • Urinate after sex

Drinking cranberry juice is also said to help. Washing regularly, drinking plenty of fluids, and controlling your sugar intake won’t just keep you healthy, it can also prevent a UTI or yeast infection.

Talk to a Doctor about Your UTI or Yeast Infection

Although both UTIs and yeast infections are common and easy to treat, you can’t disregard them. Infections like these can quickly spread.

However, going to the doctor when you’re in pain is often hard to manage. Today, you can speak to a doctor about your UTI or yeast infection symptoms from the comfort of your home with Carefree MD

Just activate your card to talk to a state-licensed physician about your symptoms, get prescriptions sent to your local pharmacy when medically necessary, and receive personalized advice on treatment options. All this for just $17.95 a month. 

Get the relief you need by signing up for a Carefree MD membership today!


The Carefree MD blog is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The text and pictures within the content are intended for information purposes only. Readers should consult with a licensed doctor or healthcare professional before seeking treatment.

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