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UTI or Thrush? How to Spot the Difference Between the Conditions

They do share some similar symptoms, but UTIs and thrush are distinctly different conditions. Here’s what you need to know…

4 min read
UTI or Thrush? How to Spot the Difference Between the Conditions
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Urinary tract infections (UTIs) and thrush are both extremely common infections of the urinary system, affecting mostly women. 


Despite them both targeting similar regions and having similar symptoms (which we’ll get into shortly) the conditions are still distinctly different and also require their respective treatments.


So let's dive into the differences between these two conditions to make sure you’re seeking an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment*.


*While it’s important to be educated about your body and any changes to it, you must always seek professional advice and treatment recommendations from your doctor that are tailored to you.


Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) - What are they?


UTIs primarily affect the urinary system, including the bladder, urethra, ureters, and kidneys. These infections are usually caused by bacteria (this can be E. coli which is found in faeces) getting into the urethra.


Because a woman’s anus is close to her urethra, it can be easier for bacteria from stool to spread when wiping. So be sure to always wipe front to back!


Symptoms of a UTI can include:


  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Pain or burning sensation during urination
  • Cloudy or bloody urine
  • Pelvic discomfort or pain
  • Strong-smelling urine
  • Fever or chills in severe cases


While UTIs can occur in individuals of any gender or age, they are more prevalent in women due to anatomical factors such as the shorter length of the urethra, which facilitates bacterial entry into the urinary tract.


If you are experiencing a frequent urge to urinate with a UTI, you may experience leakage. Or, if you already have incontinence, a UTI can worsen your symptoms.


It’s important to have quality incontinence aids to help manage bladder leaks, whether short or long-term. Depending on your level of leakage, we have products to suit all needs.


For light leaks, our pads and guards will be your go-to. These fit securely inside the underwear with their adhesive strip and can hold anywhere between 120mL and 1000mL, depending on the absorbency level you choose.


For heavier bladder leaks, or full voids, you should consider our pull-up pants or all-in-one slips.


Our range of pull-up pants can hold between 1000mL and 2200mL of urine. Our all-in-one slips are designed for those who experience full bladder voids, and may not be mobile, and can hold between 1600mL and 3200mL.


Thrush - what is it?


Thrush, also known as a yeast infection or candidiasis, primarily affects the vaginal area in women. It is caused by an overgrowth of Candida albicans, a type of yeast naturally present in the body. Thrush can also affect other regions such as the mouth (oral thrush) and skin folds.

Symptoms of thrush may include:


  • Itching and irritation in the affected area
  • Thick, white vaginal discharge (may resemble cottage cheese)
  • Discomfort during sexual intercourse
  • Redness and swelling of the vulva
  • Soreness and burning sensation while urinating in some cases


Factors such as weakened immune systems, antibiotic use, or uncontrolled/undiagnosed diabetes can increase a person’s susceptibility to thrush.


Key differences between a UTI and thrush


While you can see from the above that UTIs and thrush may present similar symptoms, such as discomfort during urination and pelvic discomfort, they are still completely separate conditions. 


And here’s how…


UTIs typically exhibit urinary symptoms like frequent urination and cloudy or bloody urine, whereas thrush predominantly presents with symptoms related to vaginal discharge and itching.


Diagnosing UTIs often involves urine analysis to detect the presence of bacteria or white blood cells. 


While on the other hand, a thrush diagnosis may entail a pelvic examination and swab of vaginal discharge to identify the presence of elevated candida cells.


Treatment approaches for a UTI versus thrush


The treatment for UTIs commonly involves a course of antibiotics to eradicate the bacterial infection. Completing the full course of antibiotics as prescribed is crucial to prevent recurrence and antibiotic resistance.


On the other hand, thrush treatment typically entails antifungal medications such as fluconazole, clotrimazole, or miconazole, available in various forms such as creams, vaginal suppositories, or oral tablets. Alongside medication, maintaining good hygiene practices, wearing breathable cotton underwear, and reducing sugar intake can help prevent thrush recurrence.


While UTIs and thrush may share some similarities, they are distinct conditions with different paths of treatment. 


Recognising the differences between UTIs and thrush is so important when it comes to seeking an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.


Seeking professional medical advice for proper evaluation is essential for addressing these conditions and preventing any further issues.


About the Author: Gabriella Del Grande

Having begun her career as a journalist, Gabriella has been weaving words to create engaging and educational content for over a decade. Gabriella loves to write insightful pieces that empower readers to take control of their health and wellbeing so they can live their lives to the fullest. Along with crafting articles, Gabriella has an eye for design, producing and overseeing visual content from short-form Instagram reels and TikToks to long-form brand campaigns and video series.

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