from the National Kidney Foundation shows that one in five women will
experience a UTI (urinary tract infection) at least once in their
life. And, the number of people being diagnosed with an STI (sexually
transmitted infection) like chlamydia, gonorrhea or syphilis) is
to how common these infections are and how close the urinary tract
and bladder are to the reproductive organs, trying to determine if
you’re suffering from a UTI or STI can be tricky.
Dr. Shelia Loanzon said STIs have a similar feeling as a UTI, as they
both cause burning and pain during urination as well as pelvic pain.
Still, some minor differences let you know if you have an STI or UTI.
to clinical professor Dr. Lauren F. Streicher, while it’s possible
to have an STI and no symptoms, the painful, burning sensations
associated with UTI are not out of character. She said herpes is the
most common STI to show UTI symptoms. Nearly 60 percent of people in
their first herpes outbreak experience painful, burning urination as
well as a low-grade fever, blisters and swollen lymph nodes.
Sores are usually the dead giveaway that you have an STI infection and not a UTI one. However, diagnosing gonorrhea and chlamydia tend to be a bit more difficult to do.
Zeina Saliba with Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of
Obstetrics and Gynecology said an STI like chlamydia and gonorrhea
could infect the urogenital tract and, because of that, they share
UTI symptoms. For instance, gonorrhea that has infected the urethra
can cause the sufferer to experience painful and constant urination.
OB/GYN doctor can determine if you are suffering from a UTI or STI in
the urinary tract by doing tests such as a urine culture or
urinalysis. They may also do a complete STI screening to determine
what the actual health problem is. By knowing what your symptoms are
related to, you can get the proper medical treatment.
Loanzon said STIs such as gonorrhea, trichomoniasis and chlamydia
will have a vaginal discharge, which is not a UTI symptom. She said
vaginal discharge is healthy, but the color and smell of it, along
with other symptoms, could be a sign of either vaginosis or STI.
Loanzon also said it’s important to identify pelvic pain that hits
when urinating with a UTI compared to urine that comes into contact
with the vaginal skin wall. If a person has both burning and pain,
they may be unable to determine why, which is why it’s important to
see a doctor.
Streicher said it’s possible for the two infections to occur at the
same time, which is why it’s important to see a doctor right away
to determine what the cause is and get proper treatment.
people are under the misconception that drinking cranberry juice or
staying hydrated will treat their UTI symptoms and clear up the
infection. However, infections need antibiotics. Untreated UTIs can
lead to a serious kidney infection. While untreated STIs can cause
pelvic inflammatory disease, chronic pain and infertility.
While many women are in tune with their bodies, it’s still easy to confuse the STI and UTI symptoms. This is why seeing your doctor is a necessity – only then can you find out for sure which issue is causing your health problem.
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