Ask Kim: UTI or Yeast Infection?

Dear Kim, 

I know that many folks assigned female at birth are prone to UTI’s or yeast infections, but I’m not sure I know the difference. What are the symptoms of each and how can I tell the difference? 


Dear Unsure, 

This is a really common question, so I’m glad you asked. 

You’re right – many people with vaginas do get yeast infections and/or UTI’s (short for urinary tract infection), and may have trouble telling them apart.  

A UTI is a bacterial infection that usually affects the bladder. 50-60% of people with vaginas well have at least one UTI during their lifetime. Symptoms include a burning sensation when urinating, not being able to completely empty the bladder, or having to urinate very frequently. It’s not a sexually transmitted infection, but having sex can increase the chances of having a UTI by introducing bacteria to the urinary tract through the urethra. If you have a UTI, a doctor can prescribe you an antibiotic which will clear up the infection. Never leave a UTI untreated, because it can eventually spread to the kidneys and cause damage. 

A yeast infection, on the other hand, is an overgrowth of the yeast that is normally present in the vagina (as well as other parts of the body!). Like a UTI, a yeast infection can cause a burning sensation when urinating. Unlike a UTI, however, when you have a yeast infection you may have unusual discharge that is lumpy and white. Most yeast infections can be cured with an over-the-counter medication, but if the symptoms don’t clear up, you should talk to your doctor. 

Since some of the symptoms of yeast infections and UTI’s are similar, if you’re not sure what’s going on always talk to a healthcare provider.  

Do you have questions about sexual health? Give us a call at 860-278-4163 or email me at

Be well, Be yourself! 


Source: Texas A&M Health 

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