MedSpring Viewpoints

Difference between a Yeast vs. Bladder Infection vs. UTI vs. Kidney Infection?

“What’s the difference between a yeast infection and a bladder infection?” or “What is the difference between a UTI and a kidney infection?”

We get questions like these a lot!  While similar in some regards, there are some big differences between vaginal and urinary tract infections.  And, it’s important for you to know because some of these infections can cause serious illness left untreated.

difference between kidney infection, uti, yeast infection image

Become a medical whiz with this quick summary of the major differences between these infections.

Vaginal Yeast Infection AKA “Vaginal Candidiasis”

What causes a vaginal yeast infection? A vaginal yeast infection is caused by an overgrowth of a common type of yeast called candida.  This can occur for a variety of reasons but one of the most common is antibiotic use.

How common is it? Nearly 75% of women will experience a yeast infection at some point in their lifetime.

What are the symptoms of a yeast infection? Symptoms include vaginal itching or irritation, pain or burning during urination or sex, and may include an odorless, white discharge.

What is the typical treatment for a yeast infection? For mild to moderate yeast infections, treatment includes vaginal creams or oral medication.

UTI AKA Bladder Infection or “Cystitis”

What is a UTI? A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the urinary tract.  UTIs are commonly referred to as bladder infections.

What causes a UTI? A UTI is caused by bacteria that enter the bladder through the urethra.

How common is it? More than 50% of women will experience a UTI at least once in their lifetime.

What are the symptoms of a UTI? Symptoms include burning when urinating, frequent urge to urinate, passing small amounts of urine, and cloudy or malodorous urine.

How do you treat a UTI? Most UTIs will clear up with antibiotic treatment, which is why people choose to visit the doctor promptly when experiencing one.

Kidney Infection AKA “Pyelonephritis”

What is a kidney infection? A kidney infection occurs when bacteria travel up to your kidneys from the bladder.  Bacteria that cause a bladder infection can escape the bladder and travel up to the kidneys where it can cause a more serious infection.

How common are kidney infections? They’re less common than bladder or yeast infections.  About 1.6% of people will experience this type of infection in their lifetime.

What are the symptoms of a kidney infection? Symptoms are similar to a bladder infection, including painful, urgent and frequent urination.  Additionally, symptoms typically include fever or chills, back pain, nausea, or confusion.  Should these occur, see the doctor promptly!

How do you treat a kidney infection? A kidney infection can spread to your bloodstream, which can result in a serious illness; therefore, immediate medical treatment is recommended.  The good news is most kidney infections respond quickly to antibiotics!

Additional resources / sources:

If you need medical treatment for vaginal or urinary tract infection, MedSpring Urgent Care is open daily from 8am until 8pm with centers across Austin, Dallas and Houston, Texas; and Chicago, Illinois.

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