UTIs and STDs Share Some Symptoms: How To Tell Them Apart

If you've been sexually active recently, the sensation of burning during urination might not come as such a surprise. A burning sensation in your genitals can be a symptom of a number of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

However, you can get a urinary tract infection (UTI) without being sexually active at all, and the two conditions have similar symptoms of discomfort. UTIs can occur at any age, regardless of your sexual status or history.

So which one do you have? Use these helpful tips to distinguish between the two conditions. No matter what type of problem has you feeling uncomfortable, get in touch with Monrovia Internal Medicine & Primary Care to resolve the issue quickly, compassionately, and discreetly. Don't be ashamed to talk about your symptoms with a professional. You might even have both conditions at the same time, so there's no shame in needing professional support.

If it’s a UTI

Urinary tract infections are caused by harmful bacteria from around your genital area. Your bladder and urinary tract provide a great environment for these bacteria to grow and flourish.

Waiting too long to go to the bathroom can increase your risk of UTIs because stagnant urine provides a good environment for harmful bacteria to multiply. For some women, sexual activity increases the risk of UTIs, but you can also contract a UTI from any other way bacteria could enter your body, including improper hygiene.

While both men and women can get UTIs, women are more likely to deal with the condition, due to men's biologically shorter urethras not leaving as much room for bacterial growth. Symptoms of UTIs include:

You shouldn't have any abnormal discharge with a UTI. If your urine contains blood, that could be a symptom of either a UTI or an STD.

If you think you have a UTI, stay hydrated while you watch it for a day or so. If your symptoms persist, schedule a checkup to consult with a doctor. You can lower your risk of UTIs by keeping yourself hydrated, always wiping front to back after urinating, and urinating within 20 minutes of vaginal sexual activity.

If it’s an STD

Sexually transmitted diseases come in many varieties and pass between infected people during physical contact. STDs are extremely common.

Some of the most commonly occurring STDs in women present with an initial symptom of a burning sensation in your genital area, especially while urinating. If you have a burning sensation, and also any of the following symptoms, you might have an STD like chlamydia, gonorrhea, or trichomonas vulvovaginitis:

With treatment, these symptoms can clear up. If you think you have an STD, seek medical care for a full diagnosis and treatment plan. Avoid unprotected sex until you’re sure you’re in the clear.

If you’re not sure

If you're not sure whether your symptoms indicate a UTI or an STD, get an expert opinion. We can help you identify your symptoms and risk factors. To schedule a consultation appointment with Ulin Sargeant, MD, MPH, at Monrovia Internal Medicine & Primary Care in Duarte, California, call the office or book online.

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