Urinary tract infections and yeast infections may present with similar symptoms in the early stages of the disease. Both may present with lower abdominal pain and painful micturition. Despite similar presentations, there are many differences between the two, which is discussed below in detail while highlighting the clinical features, symptoms, causes, investigation and diagnosis, prognosis, and the course of treatment of urinary tract infection and yeast infection individually.
Yeast is a fungus called candida. There are a large number of species of candida. Candida albicans is the most common yeast that infects humans. Yeast infection is also known as thrush because all candida infections in humans cause a characteristic white discharge. Yeast infection is commonly seen in immunocompromised, elderly and pregnant individuals. Candida occurs in earnest, in HIV patients and ICU patients. In the ICU, prolonged ventilation, urinate catheterization, intravenous lines, regular use of broad spectrum antibiotics, and IV nutrition are known risk factors for introducing yeast infections to the system. Yeast lives without causing any harm on skin, throat and vagina. However, Candida may infect the same sites if the opportunity arises. Oral thrush, esophageal thrush and vaginal thrush are the commonest yeast infections encountered in humans.
Oral thrush presents as white deposits on the tongue, sides of the oral cavity, and bad breath. These whitish patches are hard to remove and bleed if scraped. Esophageal thrush presents as painful and difficult swallowing. Vaginal candidiasis presents as whitish creamy vaginal discharge associated with vulval itching. It can also cause superficial pain during intercourse. When it causes pelvic inflammation, it can cause lower abdominal pain.
Candidiasis responds well to antifungal treatment. Vaginal inserts containing antifungals, oral drugs, and intravenous drugs are effective against candidiasis. In case of pelvic inflammation, the patient complains of deep pain during intercourse, vaginal discharge, heightened lower abdominal pain during periods.
Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary tract infections can be fungal, bacterial or viral infection, but it is most commonly bacterial. Viral and fungal urinary tract infections are almost exclusively seen in immune-compromised individuals. Gram negative bacterial like Enterobacteria and E coli are the most common causes for urinary tract infections.
Urinary tract infections present with painful urination, cloudy urine, lower abdominal pain, frequent micturition, fever, loin pain, bleeding with urine, purulent urine and general features of infections such as lethargy, malaise and weakness. In elderly individuals, urinary tract infections present atypically. Acute confusion back pain and hip pain are some of the atypical presentations. Urine full report may show cloudy urine, low pH, white cells, red blood cells, platelets and epithelial cells. Culture of a urine sample may yield a positive growth of a causative microorganism. Collection of a mid-stream urine sample for culture is difficult. False positives are common in urine cultures because of the incorrect technique in collecting the sample. Simple urinary tract infections can be treated by drinking plenty of fluids, anti-pyretics and antibiotics.
What is the difference between Urinary Tract Infection and Yeast Infection?
• Urinary tract infections can be bacterial, viral or fungal while Yeast is a fungal infection.
• Yeast infection is a genital tract infection, as opposed to urinary tract infections.
• Urinary tract infections do not cause thick creamy vaginal discharge while yeast does.
• Urinary tract infections can affect kidneys while Yeast infections rarely do.
• Urinary tract infections need culture and antibiotic sensitivity testing for diagnosis and treatment while Yeast infection can be diagnosed clinically.
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