How Can You Tell The Difference Between A Uti And Sti
This is where it gets tricky. Because the symptoms of UTIs and STDs can overlap, it may be difficult to tell exactly what youre dealing with. In fact, one study found that ER doctors misdiagnosed STIs and UTIs more than half the time.
Certain STIs including gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomonas might cause symptoms such as painful or frequent urination, similar to a UTI, says Dr. Dweck. Patients with herpes who are having an outbreak sometimes complain that they experience burning when urinating, says Dr. Olcha however, herpes usually presents with painful vesicles , which is not a symptom of UTIs.
This all sounds scary, but rest assured: A quick visit to your ob-gyn can clear the air. To determine if you have a UTI, your doctor will analyze a urine sample for bacteria or high levels of white blood cells, which are signs of infection, according to the AUA, or send a urine culture to a lab. If they do indeed think you have a UTI, your doc will likely prescribe a round of antibiotics to clear the infection. Some doctors may also provide a mild bladder analgesic to provide quicker relief, says Dr. Dweck. (
Depending on your symptoms or if you think theres a possibility it may be something other than a UTI your doctor may recommend you do an STI test as well. If they dont offer or recommend it, you can always ask to do an STI test. STI tests are analyzed in a lab and often take a few to come back with results. (
So How Can You Tell If Youre Suffering Due To A Uti Or An Sti
Its difficult to differentiate a UTI from an STI based on symptoms alone, since both infections cause burning during urination, pelvic pain, and a frequent, sudden urge to urinate. However, if you are sexually active and are also experiencing vaginal symptoms such as discharge, bleeding and/or irregular periods, it may suggest an STI. Make sure to talk to your doctor about your specific symptoms and risk factors for these types of infections.
The only way to determine exactly what kind of infection you are dealing with is to head to the doctor for testing.
What Can Happen If Chlamydia Isnt Treated
Untreated chlamydia can put your health at risk. Make an appointment with your provider immediately if you notice any symptoms of chlamydia, and get regular STI screenings to avoid complications later.
Complications of chlamydia for people with vaginas
Untreated chlamydia can cause:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease . PID is a serious condition that requires hospitalization. It can occur when an untreated STI, like chlamydia, damages your reproductive organs. PID can lead to infertility and chronic pelvic pain. It can also cause an ectopic pregnancy, which is life-threatening for the fetus and potentially deadly for the mother or gestational parent, too.
- Pregnancy complications. An untreated infection can lead to pre-term delivery. Also, if youre pregnant and have chlamydia, you can pass the infection on to your newborn. Babies born with chlamydia may have pneumonia or conjunctivitis that could lead to blindness if not treated.
Complications of chlamydia for people with penises
Untreated chlamydia can cause:
- Epididymitis. Infection can spread to the testicles and the tube that carries sperm to your testicles , causing symptoms like pain, swelling and tenderness in your testicles.
- Reduced fertility. Chlamydia can harm your sperm, negatively impacting your ability to conceive.
Complications of chlamydia that can affect all genders
Untreated chlamydia can:
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How To Take It
Azithromycin is taken one time orally and can be taken with or without food. Its important to take it as directed by your doctor.
It takes approximately 1 week for azithromycin to cure chlamydia. Avoid having sex while under treatment, as its still possible to pass or worsen the infection during treatment.
What Do I Need To Know If I Get Treated For Chlamydia
If youre getting treated for chlamydia:
- Take all of your medicine the way your nurse or doctor tells you to, even if any symptoms you may be having go away sooner. The infection stays in your body until you finish the antibiotics.
- Your partner should also get treated for chlamydia so you dont re-infect each other or anyone else.
- Dont have sex for 7 days. If you only have 1 dose of medication, wait for 7 days after you take it before having sex. If youre taking medicine for 7 days, dont have sex until youve finished all of your pills.
- Get tested again in 3-4 months to make sure your infection is gone.
- Dont share your medicine with anyone. Your nurse or doctor may give you a separate dose of antibiotics for your partner. Make sure you both take all of the medicine you get.
- Even if you finish your treatment and the chlamydia is totally gone, its possible to get a new chlamydia infection again if youre exposed in the future. Chlamydia isnt a one-time-only deal. So use condoms and get tested regularly.
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What Is A Chlamydia Infection
Chlamydia genital infection is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. In fact, C. trachomatis is the most common sexually transmitted bacterial infection in the world. Interestingly, about 70% of genital infections are associated with few or no symptoms at all.
Chlamydial infections in women are more likely to remain asymptomatic than in men . However, women are more likely to develop long-term complications.
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Uti
One of the most common symptoms of a UTI is a frequent and urgent need to pee. You might feel like you need to pee all the time, even if you just went. Other UTI symptoms include:
pain or burning when you pee
bad-smelling or cloudy urine
blood or pus in your urine
soreness, pressure, or cramps in your lower belly, back, or sides
If the infection goes to your kidneys, your UTI symptoms may also include:
pain in your mid-back
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Can You Get Chlamydia More Than Once
Yes, you can get the infection even if youve successfully treated it already.
A sexual partner who has chlamydia can transmit it to you again, even if youve already had it and treated it.
You can also get chlamydia again if it wasnt fully treated the first time. This can happen if you stop taking the necessary treatment. Its important to complete the antibiotics youve been given, even if your symptoms get better.
The CDC recommends getting tested 3 months after treatment of your initial infection to ensure the infection is cleared.
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What Other Problems Can Chlamydia Cause
In women, an untreated infection can spread to your uterus and fallopian tubes, causing pelvic inflammatory disease . PID can cause permanent damage to your reproductive system. This can lead to long-term pelvic pain, infertility, and ectopic pregnancy. Women who have had chlamydia infections more than once are at higher risk of serious reproductive health complications.
Men often dont have health problems from chlamydia. Sometimes it can infect the epididymis . This can cause pain, fever, and, rarely, infertility.
Both men and women can develop reactive arthritis because of a chlamydia infection. Reactive arthritis is a type of arthritis that happens as a reaction to an infection in the body.
Babies born to infected mothers can get eye infections and pneumonia from chlamydia. It may also make it more likely for your baby to be born too early.
Untreated chlamydia may also increase your chances of getting or giving HIV/AIDS.
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What Happens If Chlamydia Is Left Untreated
If left untreated, chlamydia can lead to more serious health problems.
In people assigned female at birth, untreated chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease , a condition which can scar the fallopian tubes and lead to infertility.
Chlamydia can also be passed on to babies during birth if the parent has the infection while pregnant.
How Long Does Chlamydia Last
Once you are infected with chlamydia, it is unclear how long chlamydia can last in your system until treatment. Some estimate it can last for years. Once you have been infected, you can get tested immediately. In some cases, if you test negative but the suspected sexual encounter was recent, a doctor may advise you to come back after two weeks to be retested to ensure it is a fully correct diagnosis. After completing treatment the infection usually clears in 7 to 10 days.
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Is It Possible To Prevent Urinary Tract Infections With Diet And Supplements
It is possible to reduce the chance that a UTI will develop with dietary methods and some supplements but prevention of all UTIs is unlikely with these methods.
- Supplements such as eating cranberries, taking vitamin C tablets, and eating yogurt and other substances also may reduce the chance that a UTI will develop .
- However, as stated in the prevention section, changes in a person’s lifestyle may reduce the chance of getting a UTI as good as, if not better than, any diet or supplement.
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The Danger Of Underlying Chlamydia Trachomatis Infection In Treating Urinary Tract Infection With Over
Knox makes a compelling case for women with acute uncomplicated urinary tract infections to access nitrofurantoin without prescription but fails to mention an important drawback to this practice.1 Both UTIs and genital sexually transmitted infections are common in sexually active young women, so women with lower UTI
Chlamydial Infection Among Neonates
Prenatal screening and treatment of pregnant women is the best method for preventing chlamydial infection among neonates. C. trachomatis infection of neonates results from perinatal exposure to the mothers infected cervix. Initial C. trachomatis neonatal infection involves the mucous membranes of the eye, oropharynx, urogenital tract, and rectum, although infection might be asymptomatic in these locations. Instead, C. trachomatis infection among neonates is most frequently recognized by conjunctivitis that develops 512 days after birth. C. trachomatis also can cause a subacute, afebrile pneumonia with onset at ages 13 months. Although C. trachomatis has been the most frequent identifiable infectious cause of ophthalmia neonatorum, neonatal chlamydial infections, including ophthalmia and pneumonia, have occurred less frequently since institution of widespread prenatal screening and treatment of pregnant women. Neonates born to mothers at high risk for chlamydial infection, with untreated chlamydia, or with no or unconfirmed prenatal care, are at high risk for infection. However, presumptive treatment of the neonate is not indicated because the efficacy of such treatment is unknown. Infants should be monitored to ensure prompt and age-appropriate treatment if symptoms develop. Processes should be in place to ensure communication between physicians and others caring for the mother and the newborn to ensure thorough monitoring of the newborn after birth.
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Ophthalmia Neonatorum Caused By C Trachomatis
A chlamydial etiology should be considered for all infants aged 30 days who experience conjunctivitis, especially if the mother has a history of chlamydial infection. These infants should receive evaluation and age-appropriate care and treatment.
Preventing Ophthalmia Neonatorum Caused by C. trachomatis
Neonatal ocular prophylaxis with erythromycin, the only agent available in the United States for this purpose, is ineffective against chlamydial ophthalmia neonatorum . As an alternative, prevention efforts should focus on prenatal screening for C. trachomatis, including
Neonates born to mothers for whom prenatal chlamydia screening has been confirmed and the results are negative are not at high risk for infection.
Erythromycin base or ethylsuccinate 50 mg/kg body weight/day orally, divided into 4 doses daily for 14 days*
* An association between oral erythromycin and azithromycin and infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis has been reported among infants aged < 6 weeks. Infants treated with either of these antimicrobials should be followed for IHPS signs and symptoms.
Although data regarding use of azithromycin for treating neonatal chlamydial infection are limited, available data demonstrate that a short therapy course might be effective . Topical antibiotic therapy alone is inadequate for treating ophthalmia neonatorum caused by chlamydia and is unnecessary when systemic treatment is administered.
Do Hot Tubs Cause Utis
Though time in the hot tub is often blamed for urinary tract infections, it is actually not a common cause of UTI and very rare that a long soak would cause the infection. Hot tubs, or even very long baths, can cause the spread of yeast, known as vaginitis, and common skin infections like folliculitis. In the rare instance that a UTI is contracted while in the hot tub the bacteria known as, pseudomonas are going to be the cause. This bacteria makes up less than thirty percent of UTI cases, as E. coli is the most common cause of cases.
Both infections present with similar symptoms and irritation so the one might be confused for the other and a doctor should be consulted in either case in order to gain a correct diagnosis and the best treatment. Even though time in the hot tub is thought to be a major cause of UTIs, women are more likely to contract the bacteria after intercourse, or through the use of diaphragms.
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Increasing Worsening Or Changing Symptoms
If any of your symptoms increase, worsen or change from the normal UTI symptoms, it might be an STD instead. If symptoms start to include ones like discharge or smell, its far more likely to be one of the most common STDs instead.
For any repeated urinary tract infections that appear to keep coming back, see your doctor: There are many things that can cause repeated UTIs. The same is true for any symptoms that can point to more than just an STD: Again, see your doctor.
When To See A Gp About Cystitis
In the following circumstances, you should definitely see a doctor if you believe you may have cystitis:
- Minor cystitis symptoms do not clear up in 2 days
- Cystitis symptoms become more severe
- You get cystitis frequently
- Antibiotics to treat cystitis dont appear to be working
- Symptoms reappear shortly after finishing a course of antibiotic
It is important to see a doctor in such cases so that they can run further tests or prescribe antibiotics to treat cystitis. If you suffer from recurrent bacterial cystitis, a doctor will need to examine you to rule out other serious health complications including diabetes, kidney stones, and abnormalities in the urinary tract.
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How Is Chlamydia Treated
Chlamydia can be cleared up with antibiotics in about a week or two. But dont stop taking your medication just because your symptoms improve. Ask your provider about what follow-up is needed to be sure your infection is gone after youve finished taking your medicine.
Part of your treatment should also include avoiding sexual activities that could cause you to get re-infected and ensuring that any sexual partners who may be infected also get treatment. You should:
- Abstain from sex until your infection has cleared up. Starting treatment doesnt mean that youre in the clear. Take all your medication as your provider directs, and avoid all sexual contact in the meantime.
- Contact all sexual partners. Tell any sexual partners from the last 3 months that youre infected so that they can get tested, too.
- Get tested for other STIs . Its common to have multiple STIs, and its important to receive treatment thats tailored to each infection.
Antibiotics can get rid of your infection, but they cant reverse any harm the bacteria may have caused to your body before treatment. This is why its so important to get screened regularly for chlamydia, to see your provider at the first sign of symptoms, and get treatment immediately if youre infected.
Testing And Treating Sexual Partners
If you test positive for chlamydia, its important that your current sexual partner and any other recent sexual partners youve had are also tested and treated.
A specialist sexual health adviser can help you contact your recent sexual partners, or the clinic can contact them for you if you prefer.
Either you or someone from the clinic can speak to them, or the clinic can send them a note to let them know they may have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection .
The note will suggest that they go for a check-up. It will not have your name on it, so your confidentiality will be protected.
Page last reviewed: 01 September 2021 Next review due: 01 September 2024
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