Vaginal infection vs Urine infection: What is the difference?

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Vaginal infection, also called candidiasis, and urinary infection, also known as cystitis, are two very common pathologies in women. Although each of them affects a different area of ​​the body and the treatment of one and the other is very different, it is very common for us to confuse them since some of the symptoms they present are very similar.

In the event that you suffer from any of these health problems and you cannot distinguish what exactly it is, it is best that you go to your doctor as soon as possible so that he can carry out the appropriate tests. In the meantime, here are some clues and indications that will help you differentiate a vaginal infection from a urine infectionVery attentive!

Differences between vaginal infection and urine infection

  • First of all, one of the clearest differences between a vaginal infection and a urine infection is the area of ​​the body where it is contracted. While vaginal infection occurs in the vagina and vulva, urine infection occurs in the urinary tract. They also differ by the type of bacteria that causes each one of them.
  • Candidiasis (vaginal infection) is caused by a fungus of the genus “Candida”. Among all the species of Candida that exist, Candida albicans. It is the most common since it represents 90% of the cases. This fungus is naturally present in our biological flora, it is generally found in the mouth and digestive system of up to 50-80% of people. In normal situations, our immune system and the presence of other microorganisms in our fleet prevent Candida from multiplying excessively, keeping the population under control. This means that Candida is an opportunistic germ, that is, a microbe that can live perfectly in our body without causing any type of disease, however, at the slightest sign of weakness in our immune system or in our flora, this fungus can multiply causing the dreaded infection in the vagina.
  • In contrast, cystitis (urine infection) is an acute inflammation of the bladder caused by bacteria. In most cases, the specific bacteria that causes it is Escherichia Coli, which is present in the colon on a regular basis. This bacterium sometimes expands by entering the urinary tract, reaching the bladder and thus causing the infection.
  • Another major difference between a vaginal infection and a urine infection is that the former can be spread through sexual contact while the latter cannot.

Causes of vaginal infection

Usually, there is a misconception about the origin of candidiasis or vaginal infection. Contrary to what many people think, candidiasis is not contracted but arises because the Candida Albicans that already existed in the body found a way to overcome our body’s defenses by multiplying uncontrollably. Among the most common causes that favor the abnormal proliferation of candida, colonizing the woman’s vagina, include:

  • Having a weak immune system(HIV infection, for example).
  • Having low defenses due to stress or anxiety.
  • Have diabetes.
  • Suffering from
  • Being taking antibiotics.
  • Hormonal changes (pregnant women are more likely to suffer from it, for example).
  • Incorrect hygiene of the female genital apparatus.
  • Use tampons on days with little bleeding.
  • Wear very tight underwear or other fabrics that are not cotton.
  • Sexual activity: Vaginal candidiasis is not considered a sexually transmitted disease, however it can be transmitted through sex with a person who has it.

Causes of urine infection 

There are certain risk factors that can increase the chances of suffering from a urinary infection in women: 

  1. Wear tight clothing: The use of very tight clothing can cause an increase in temperature and humidity in the area, thus favoring urinary infections.
  2. Use of tampons or diaphragm.
  3. Lack of hydration: Not drinking water for a long time can lead to cystitis.
  4. Lack of hygiene.
  5. Obstruction of urine output (kidney stones).
  6. Unbalanced diet.
  7. Wear wet swimsuits for several hours.
  8. Weak immune system and general poor health.
  9. Vaginal sex after anal sex: Bacteria from the anus can be spread in the urinary tract during this type of sex.
  10. Have diabetes.
  11. Lack of lubrication.
  12. Hold your urine

Main symptoms of vaginal infection

The most common symptom of a vaginal yeast infection is extreme itching in and around the vagina. Other signs and symptoms include:

  • Irritation of the vagina and the tissues of the vaginal opening (vulva).
  • Burning sensation, especially during sexual intercourse or when urinating.
  • Redness and swelling of the vulva.
  • Vaginal rash.
  • Watery vaginal discharge.
  • Thick, white, foul-smelling vaginal discharge that looks like cottage cheese.

Main symptoms of urine infection 

These are the most common symptoms of a urine infection:

  • Urgent and frequent need to urinate.
  • Itching or burning in the urethra when urinating.
  • Redness of the vulva and vaginal itching.
  • Pain when urinating and during sexual intercourse.
  • Cloudy, milky (thick), or abnormal color of urine.
  • Appearance of blood in the urine.
  • Fever and chills: Fever may indicate that the infection has reached the kidneys.
  • Vomiting and nausea.
  • Pain in the side or back.

Treatment of vaginal infection and urine infection 

Vaginal infection with mild or moderate symptoms is usually treated with antifungal creams and suppositories within three to seven days. These medications contain ingredients such as clotrimazole or miconazole and are usually available over the counter (without a prescription).

For its part, urinary tract infection is treated with antibiotics in a period ranging from one day to one week. The antibiotics used for cystitis usually contain components such as fosfomycin and require a prescription. In addition to this, there are some home remedies that can help reduce symptoms.

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