What is UTI?
Urinary tract infections typically occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply in the bladder. Although the urinary system is designed to keep out such microscopic invaders, these defenses sometimes fail. When that happens, bacteria may take hold and grow into a full-blown infection in the urinary tract.
The most common UTIs occur mainly in women and affect the bladder and urethra.
Infection of the bladder (cystitis). This type of UTI is usually caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli), a type of bacteria commonly found in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. However, sometimes other bacteria are responsible.
Sexual intercourse may lead to cystitis, but you don't have to be sexually active to develop it. All women are at risk of cystitis because of their anatomy — specifically, the short distance from the urethra to the anus and the urethral opening to the bladder.
Infection of the urethra (urethritis). This type of UTI can occur when GI bacteria spread from the anus to the urethra. Also, because the female urethra is close to the vagina, sexually transmitted infections, such as herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and mycoplasma, can cause urethritis.
Urinary tract infections are common in women, and many women experience more than one infection during their lifetimes.
What Are Vaginal Yeast Infections?
Vaginal yeast infections are very common in women. It’s estimated that 75% of women will have at least one yeast infection in her lifetime. The vagina normally contains a healthy balance of bacteria and yeast. The hormone estrogen helps bacteria called lactobacilli to grow. These bacteria kill harmful organisms in the vagina and keep you healthy. But when something happens to tip that balance, a fungus called candida can grow out of control and cause a yeast infection.
Although it is very easy to treat yeast infections, the symptoms of yeast infections are similar to other, more serious conditions, including sexually transmitted infections and bacterial vaginosis (bacterial overgrowth in the vagina). Therefore the accurate diagnosis is important before you use any over-the-counter treatment products.
What is bacterial vaginosis?
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is an infection of the vagina that happens when there’s a change in the normal balance of bacteria there. A type of bacteria called lactobacillus keeps your vagina slightly acidic so bad bacteria don't grow well. If your lactobacillus levels drop, more bad bacteria move in, and you get BV.
About half of the time, women with BV have no symptoms. But if a symptom develops it can be:
Burning feeling when you pee
Fishy smell that gets stronger after sex
Thin white, gray, or green discharge
It's not the same as a yeast infection. Bacterial vaginosis has been tied to a higher risk of other health problems, so it is very important to take diagnosis and get early treatment.