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UTIs, BV, and Yeast Infections: What's the Difference?
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UTIs, BV, and Yeast Infections: What's the Difference?

To kick off sexual health awareness month, we wanted to break down some of the most common discomforts that affect almost every vagina owner at one point in their lives or another. So without further ado, let’s get into it!


Bacterial Vaginosis

What is it?

Bacterial Vaginosis (aka BV) is the overgrowth of good bacteria in your vagina (usually gardnerella vaginalis)

What causes it?

Anything that messes with your body’s natural PH level can cause BV. Like a partner's natural genital chemistry, douching/fragrant vaginal washes, or even something as simple as a new laundry detergent can upset your bacterial balance. 

What are the symptoms?

The most common signs of BV are lots of thin vaginal discharge that has a strong “fishy” smell  that’s white, dull grey, greenish, and/or foamy. The “fishy” smell is often more noticeable after vaginal sex. You may also have a little itching or burning when you pee or nothing at all.

What should I do?

Schedule a visit with your doctor, they’ll be able to prescribe medicine or creams that will clear it right up! 


Yeast Infections

What is it?

Infection of the vagina/vulva (the external anatomy surrounding your vaginal opening) caused by an overgrowth of the fungus candida

What causes it?

Your vagina naturally has a mixture of yeast and bacterias that help keep you healthy, but just like with BV there are things that can throw off your ecosystem. The main culprits are douching/fragrant vaginal care products (including sanitary products) and sometimes even antibiotics being used to treat a different infection in the body.

What are the symptoms?

The most common and easy to recognize symptoms are burning, redness, and swelling of the vagina and the vulva. You may also experience pain when peeing or having vaginal sex, or thick, white vaginal discharge that looks like cottage cheese and does not have a bad smell.

What should I do?

You can treat it at home with over the counter creams, but if your symptoms persist, get worse, or you are prone to yeast infections, talk to your doctor. They’ll be able to prescribe other more effective treatment options.


UTIs

What is it?

Urinary Tract Infections (aka UTIs) are an infection in your urinary system including the bladder and urethra.

What causes it?

Bacteria that live in the vagina, genital, and anal areas may enter the urethra, travel to the bladder, and cause an infection. This can happen during sex when bacteria from your partner or your toys make their way into your urethra, but can also be triggered by launging around in a wet swimsuit or dirty undies, or even not drinking enough water.

What are the symptoms?

One of the first symptoms is typically pain or burning while you pee, or that feeling of having to pee but nothing comes out. You may also experience bad smelling or cloudy urine. If you notice any blood or pus (gross I know) accompanied by soreness/pressure/cramps in your lower back or sides, these are signs that the infection is moving towards your kidneys, so you’ll wanna give your doctor a call asap.

What should I do?

I know some people say drink some cranberry juice to clear up a UTI, but your best option is to (you guessed it) call your doctor to get a prescription antibiotic. This will help take care of the infection faster than over the counter medicines, but staying hydrated and managing any discomfort on your way to the doc is important too!






Sources:

https://www.webmd.com/women/guide/what-is-bacterial-vaginosis

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/yeast-infection/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20379004#:~:text=Taking%20an%20antifungal%20medication%20for,(Monistat%203)%20and%20terconazole.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-tract-infection/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353453

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn

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