Yeast infection vs UTI: Similarities, Differences, Causes, Treatment

Table of Contents

Share Post

Yeast and urinary tract infections (UTIs) are women’s two most prevalent and bothersome ailments. Though both conditions can exhibit comparable symptoms like genital itching and burning sensations, it is crucial to recognize that they are distinct conditions arising from varied bacterial sources. Understanding the differences between these ailments is crucial to receive appropriate treatment and prevent discomfort. This article highlights the primary distinctions between yeast infection vs UTI, including their causes, symptoms, and treatments.

Causes of a UTI vs Yeast Infection

UTIs and yeast infections are prevalent conditions that can influence the urinary and genital areas; however, they have distinct origins.

Causes of UTI

Bacterial Infestation: Urinary tract infections (UTIs) mainly stem from bacteria like Escherichia coli (E. coli) in the urethra. These organisms can penetrate the urethra and advance to the bladder, leading to an infection.

Intimate Relations: Engaging in intimate acts can elevate UTI risks in females because of the urethra’s closeness to the rectum, which facilitates bacterial migration from the anal area to the urethra.

Blockage: Elements hindering urine flow, like renal stones or a swollen prostate, can promote UTI onset.

Compromised Immunity: Individuals with diminished immune defenses due to conditions like diabetes, HIV/AIDS, or specific illnesses face a heightened UTI vulnerability.

Need help with Yeast Infection?

Get access to a licensed medical professional.

Causes of Yeast Infection

Candida Overgrowth: Yeast infections predominantly stem from excessive growth of the fungus Candida, particularly Candida albicans, within the vaginal region.

Hormonal Shifts: Fluctuations in hormones during pregnancy, menopause, or when using hormonal birth control can modify the vaginal milieu, amplifying the likelihood of yeast proliferation.

Antibacterials: Consuming wide-ranging antibiotics can imbalance the body’s microbial harmony, including the helpful bacteria that regulate yeast concentrations, culminating in a fungal ailment.

Diminished Immunity: A compromised immune response from issues like diabetes, HIV/AIDS, or certain drugs can heighten the propensity for fungal infections.

Symptoms of Yeast Infections

Candidiasis, also termed yeast infections, is formed when there’s a surplus buildup of the fungus Candida. These infections can manifest in multiple body parts, although they typically appear in the mouth, throat, gut, and vagina. The following are the indications or symptoms associated with yeast infections in these parts of the body:

1. Vaginal Yeast Infections (Vulvovaginal Candidiasis)

  • Itching in the vaginal and vulvar areas
  • Burning sensation, especially during sex or urination
  • Redness and swelling of the vulva
  • Pain and soreness in the vaginal region
  • Vaginal rash
  • Thick, white, odor-free vaginal discharge with a consistency similar to cottage cheese
  • Sometimes, watery vaginal discharge

2. Oral Thrush (Oropharyngeal Candidiasis)

This presents as white patches or plaques in the mouth, on the tongue, cheeks, roof of the mouth, and even on the back of the throat. These can be painful and might bleed if scraped.

  • Redness or soreness inside the mouth and throat
  • Cracks and inflammation at the corners of the mouth (angular cheilitis)
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • An unpleasant taste in the mouth

3. Male Yeast Overgrowth Infection

Though less common, men can also get yeast overgrowth infections, especially in the foreskin of an uncircumcised penis.

Here are some symptoms of male yeast overgrowth infection:

  • Penile itching or burning
  • Redness, dryness, or flaking of the penis skin
  • White, lumpy discharge under the foreskin or other areas of the penis
  • Unpleasant odor
  • Difficulty pulling back the foreskin (phimosis)

What are the Signs and Symptoms of UTI?

A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), also referred to as a urinary system infection, refers to an infection occurring in any section of the urinary system, typically including the kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra.

While bacteria are the common cause of most UTIs, viruses or fungi can also cause UTIs. The symptoms of UTIs may differ depending on the specific part of the urinary system affected.

Here are the common UTI signs and symptoms include:

1. Lower Urinary Tract (Bladder)

  • A strong, persistent urge to urinate
  • A burning sensation when urinating
  • Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
  • Cloudy, dark, bloody, or strong-smelling urine
  • A feeling of incomplete bladder emptying
  • Pain or pressure in the lower abdomen or pelvis
  • Feeling tired or shaky
  • Low-grade fever

2. Upper Urinary Tract (Kidney infection)

  • Higher fever and chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain in the upper back and sides
  • Shaking or night sweats

3. Urethra – Urethritis

  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • Discharge from the urethra

Read also: Everything You Should Know About Yeast Infection Skin Rash

Yeast Infection Treatment

If you suspect a yeast overgrowth infection, seeing a healthcare professional is advisable to get an accurate diagnosis. Once diagnosed, several treatments can be used to manage your condition, especially when it’s located in the vagina. Here are common treatments for vaginal yeast infections:

1. Over-the-counter (OTC) Treatments

You can buy a yeast treatment medication from your local pharmacy. The treatment may include:

Antifungal Creams, Ointments, and Suppositories: These include Clotrimazole (e.g., Gyne-Lotrimin, Canesten), Miconazole (e.g., Monistat), Tioconazole (e.g., Vagistat-1).

Antifungal Tablets: Such as: Fluconazole

2. Prescription Treatments

A healthcare provider might prescribe stronger antifungal medications if OTC treatments are ineffective or the infection is more severe or recurrent.

These can include:

Topical Antifungals: Such as terconazole (e.g., Terazol) or nystatin.

Oral Antifungals: Such as fluconazole (Diflucan) or itraconazole. These are especially useful for women who suffer from recurrent candidiasis.

UTI Treatment

Here’s a breakdown of standard treatments and preventive measures for normal UTIs and Recurrent UTIs:

1. Normal Infection

You can use antibiotics to treat UTIs. The choice of antibiotic and the duration of therapy depends on the patient’s history and the type of bacteria causing the infection. Some commonly prescribed antibiotics include:

  • Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra, others)
  • Nitrofurantoin (Macrodantin, Furadantin, Macrobid)
  • Fosfomycin (Monurol)
  • Cephalexin (Keflex)
  • Ceftriaxone

UTI symptoms usually begin to improve within a day or two of treatment. However, it’s crucial to take the entire course of antibiotics, even if symptoms disappear, to eradicate all bacteria.

2. Recurrent UTIs

For recurrent UTIs, treatment options include:

Low-dose Antibiotics: Initially, for six months but sometimes longer.

Single Dose of Antibiotic after Sexual Activity: If the recurrent infections are related to sexual activity.

Vaginal Estrogen Therapy: For postmenopausal women.

A Personalized Treatment Plan: This involves a tailored regimen based on the specific type of bacteria causing the recurrent infections.

Yeast Infection vs UTI: Prevention

Prevention of yeast infection vs UTIs involves different strategies. Here are some prevention tips:

Yeast Infections- Prevention

Maintain proper hygiene: Always keep your genital area clean and dry. Avoid harsh soaps or douches, as they can alter the natural balance of yeast and bacteria in the vagina.

Wear breathable underwear: Choose natural, breathable fabrics like cotton, which can help prevent moisture buildup that promotes yeast growth.

Avoid irritants: Steer clear of scented feminine products, as they may irritate the vaginal area and increase the risk of candidiasis.

Practice safe sex: Endeavor to use condoms to reduce the risk of STIs that can lead to yeast infections.

Avoid tight-fitting clothing: Wearing tight-fitting pants or underwear can create a warm, moist environment that boosts yeast overgrowth. Opt for loose-fitting clothing instead.

UTIs- Prevention

Stay hydrated: Taking plenty of fluid can help flush bacteria out of the urinary tract.

Urinate before and after sexual activity: Emptying your bladder before and after sex can help wash out any bacteria that may have entered the urethra.

Wipe from front to back: After using the restroom, always clean from front to back to stop bacteria from the anal area from entering the urethra.

Avoid holding urine: Empty your bladder regularly to prevent bacteria buildup.

Practice good genital hygiene: Clean the genital area thoroughly and gently, avoiding harsh soaps or douches that can distort the natural balance of bacteria.

Yeast Infection vs UTI: Differences

Yeast and urinary tract infections (UTIs) have distinct symptoms and causes. Here are the notable differences:

Yeast Infection

A fungal ailment, often termed candidiasis, results from an excessive proliferation of the Candida fungus, particularly Candida albicans. While it predominantly targets the female vaginal region, it can manifest in men and other body parts.


A UTI is a bacterial ailment in any part of the urinary structure, including the urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys. UTIs are mainly instigated by bacteria, especially Escherichia coli (E. coli), originating from the digestive system.

differences between yeast infection vs UTI

Yeast Infection vs UTI: Risk Factor

The causes and risk factors of candidiasis differ from those of UTIs. Here are some of the ways they differ:

  • Vaginal fungal infections, often termed vaginal candidiasis, primarily stem from an overgrowth of the fungus Candida, typically identified as Candida albicans. Changes in the vaginal milieu can pave the way for these infections.
  • Such shifts might include declining protective vaginal bacteria, hormonal variances (like those during pregnancy or from hormonal birth control), certain drugs (such as antibiotics), bacterial vaginosis, unregulated diabetes, weakened immune defenses, and intimate encounters.
  • Factors intensifying the susceptibility to these infections include wearing tight or damp attire, using fragranced personal hygiene items, having multiple intimate partners, and having a previous occurrence of such infections.
  • UTI bacteria penetrate the urinary system through the urethra and can climb upwards, causing infections in the bladder (known as cystitis) or kidneys (referred to as pyelonephritis).
  • Elements increasing UTI risk include the female’s anatomical structure (given their shorter urethra, which simplifies bacterial migration to the bladder), intimate relations (particularly in women more susceptible to UTIs), use of specific birth control methods (like diaphragms or spermicides), postmenopausal phase (owing to hormonal shifts), abnormalities in the urinary passage, employment of urinary catheters, and a weakened immune defense.

Are UTIs and Yeast Overgrowth Infections Contagious?

UTIs and candidiasis are common ailments affecting the urinary and genital regions.

UTIs are not considered contagious. However, sexual activity can introduce bacteria that cause UTIs into the body, increasing infection risk.

Due to Candida overgrowth, candida infections are not classified as sexually transmitted infections, but there’s a slight chance of transmission during intimate contact.

Yeast Infections vs UTIs: Homes Remedies

You can buy treatments from your local pharmacy or prepare home remedies for yeast infections and UTIs.

Treatments for Candidiasis

Probiotics: Representing beneficial bacteria residing within our system, consuming probiotics, like Lactobacillus acidophilus, aids in rebalancing the microbial environment in the vaginal region, curbing excessive yeast. Probiotics can be ingested or introduced into the vagina via inserts or devices.

Boric acid: This antifungal agent can address persistent yeast overgrowth. Obtainable as suppositories, they can be placed in the vagina during nighttime for multiple days.

Treatments for UTIs

OTC pain relievers like ibuprofen can help soothe the pain and discomfort caused by a UTI.

Home Remedies for Yeast Infections


Consuming probiotics can aid in reestablishing the microbial equilibrium in the body, deterring excessive yeast growth. Probiotics can be ingested or introduced vaginally via inserts or devices.


With its antifungal attributes, garlic can assist in combating yeast infections. It can be integrated into meals or taken as a supplement.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is a natural therapy for yeast afflictions because it possesses antifungal and antibacterial qualities. It can be administered to the impacted region with a base oil, like coconut oil.

Home Remedies for UTIs

Drinking ample fluids. Keeping well-hydrated aids in expelling bacteria from the system, thwarting UTIs. Endeavor to consume a minimum of 8 cups of water daily.

Cranberry extracts or pills

Taking cranberry liquid or using cranberry capsules might assist in fending off UTIs by stopping bacteria from latching onto the bladder lining.


Probiotics can sustain a beneficial microbial equilibrium in the body, deterring UTIs.

What Is the Prognosis and Duration of a UTI Compared to candidiasis?

UTIs and yeast overgrowth, though distinct conditions, often present similar discomforts. UTIs, commonly caused by bacteria, typically resolve within a few days to two weeks with appropriate antibiotics. However, if untreated, they might escalate, posing severe health risks.

On the other hand, with proper antifungal treatment, yeast infection symptoms usually improve within a week. Over-the-counter remedies should be enough to alleviate yeast overgrowth infections, but recurrent cases may need stronger medications.

Both conditions usually have good prognoses with timely treatment. However, recurring or severe instances warrant medical attention to rule out underlying issues.

Can You Prevent UTIs and Candidiasis?

You can take preventive actions to mitigate the risk of UTIs and yeast infections. Here are some tips:

Preventing UTIs

Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids flushes out bacteria from the urinary tract.

Urinate frequently: Regularly emptying your bladder helps prevent the buildup of bacteria. Don’t hold urine for long periods.

Clean from front to rear: Post-toilet use, consistently clean from the front, moving backward, to deter bacteria from the anal area from approaching the urethra.

Empty bladder pre and post-intimacy: This action aids in rinsing out any microbes that might have infiltrated the urinary passage during the intimate act.

Opt for airy undergarments: Select cotton briefs and steer clear of snug attire to ensure proper airflow and hinder moisture accumulation, potentially providing a conducive setting for bacterial proliferation.

Preventing Yeast Infections

Practice good hygiene: Keep the genital area dry and clean, but steer clear of harsh soaps that can distort the natural balance of bacteria.

Avoid excessive moisture: Change out of damp clothing or sweaty gym clothes as soon as possible and keep the genital area dry to prevent yeast infections.

Choose relaxed attire: Prefer air-permeable materials such as cotton and steer clear of constrictive garments that can retain dampness and warmth, which fosters a suitable setting for yeast proliferation.

Refrain from douching: Given the vagina’s self-purifying nature, douching might upset its inherent microbial equilibrium, elevating infection susceptibility.

Minimize sugar consumption: Yeast flourishes in sugary environments; reducing sugar can thwart excessive yeast development. Ensure a well-rounded diet enriched with ample fruits, greens, and whole cereals.

How Do Doctors Diagnose Candidiasis and UTI?

To diagnose a UTI, doctors typically require a urine sample to detect bacteria, white blood cells, and red blood cells. Urinalysis can provide immediate results, while urine cultures grown in a lab identify specific bacteria causing the infection.

For yeast overgrowth, diagnosis is primarily based on symptoms. However, to confirm, doctors may take a sample of vaginal discharge, examining it under a microscope to detect overgrowth of yeast. In recurrent or severe cases, a vaginal culture may be used to identify the specific type of yeast. Both tests help ensure appropriate and targeted treatment.

When To See A Doctor

Pursuing medical guidance in certain situations is vital for UTIs and fungal infections. Visit a physician for a UTI if you note increased urination, a stinging sensation during urination, murky or blood-tinted urine, or abdominal distress. If symptoms persist or are paired with elevated temperature or vomiting, it might signify a renal ailment, necessitating prompt intervention.

For fungal infections, approach a medical professional if you experience unusual vaginal unease, dense whitish secretion or if common remedies prove ineffective. Repeated fungal infections or UTIs require a health assessment to discern root issues and find fitting treatments.

Read also: Yeast Infection Discharge Color and What It Means

Frequently Asked Questions

A UTI, caused by bacteria, affects the urinary tract with symptoms like painful urination. A yeast infection, which occurs due to fungal overgrowth, impacts the vagina, causing itching and a thick discharge.

Yeast infections primarily cause itching and discharge. While they can increase the urge to urinate, frequent urination is more characteristic of a UTI than a yeast overgrowth infection.

For simultaneous UTI and candidiasis, antibiotics target the UTI, while antifungal medications address the yeast overgrowth. Always consult a healthcare expert for proper diagnosis and treatment recommendations.

Yeast infection cream could contaminate a urine sample, affecting its accuracy. Always inform the healthcare provider of any medications or creams before giving a urine sample.

Some mild yeast infections may resolve independently, but most require antifungal treatment. It’s essential to consult a healthcare expert for persistent or recurrent symptoms.

A yeast infection is diagnosed based on symptoms and physical examination. Often, a sample of vaginal discharge is examined under a microscope for the presence of Candida fungus.

A yeast infection primarily affects the vagina. While it can cause discomfort, bladder pressure/urgency is more typical of a UTI. However, infections can sometimes coexist, so consult a healthcare provider.

The content on Doctor Alexa’s blog is reviewed by Advanced practice registered nurses or pharmacist and is intended for educational purposes only. This information should not be relied upon as professional medical counsel. Be sure to always consult with your physician about the dangers and benefits of any medication, treatment or procedure.

You shouldn’t wait to see the doctor for simple health needs.