UTI or STD?

You should always heed your body if you notice something strange going on. You might be experiencing symptoms that have you wondering – could it be a UTI or STD? Learn how to differentiate signs of a urinary tract infection (UTI) vs. a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

What is a UTI?

The urinary tract is comprised of the urethra, bladder, ureter and kidneys. A UTI is when bacteria, especially E. coli, get into any of these body parts and multiply. E. coli is found naturally on the colon and around the anus, and because female urethras are much closer to the anus than in the male anatomy, UTIs are far more prominent in women. Common causes include:

  • Wiping from back to front after using the bathroom
  • Neglecting to urinate after having sex
  • “Holding it” for too long
  • Using a diaphragm for birth control
  • Wearing underwear or tight-fitting pants with a non-breathable fabric
  • Bathing rather than showering
  • Using feminine sprays or douching

What is an STD?

An STD is a condition most often transmitted through sexual intercourse. There are many types of STDs with a wide range of symptoms, including no symptoms at all. Because of the complications that can develop from untreated STDs, it’s important to be tested if you suspect you’re infected.

There are many ways to contract an STD other than having unprotected sex. These include:

  • Eating food contaminated with infected fecal matter (transfers hepatitis A)
  • Skin-to-skin contact with an infected person (spreads HPV or herpes)
  • Kissing or sharing the same straw (passes on genital and oral herpes)
  • Sharing sheets, towels or underwear (transmits Trichomoniasis)
  • Sharing contaminated surfaces, such as a tanning bed (transfers molluscum contagiosum)
  • Sharing needles or razors, which can mix blood (spreads various STDs)

Shared Symptoms of UTIs and STDs

STDs are misdiagnosed as UTIs more often than you might think. After all, they share many of the same symptoms, including:

  • Painful or burning urination
  • Increased need and urgency to urinate
  • Foul urine odor
  • Cloudy or dark urine
  • Pelvic pain
  • Unusual discharge

Other Symptoms of STDs

Remember, some STDs are asymptomatic, but if you’re experiencing some of the shared symptoms above, watch for these additional signs that indicate the problem is with your reproductive organs, not your urinary tract:

  • Genital blisters or rash
  • Pain during sex
  • Spotting between menstrual cycles
  • Seemingly unrelated symptoms, such as fever, nausea, sore throat or joint swelling

Get Tested!

Perimeter Clinic offers anonymous STD testing for your privacy and peace of mind. Even if your doctor has already diagnosed you with a UTI, it’s wise to be tested for an STD if there’s a possibility that you have this condition. Doing so ensures you receive the proper treatment and helps you avoid complications of STDs, such as infertility, ectopic pregnancies, stillbirth and increased risk of HIV.

To schedule STD testing in Atlanta, Georgia, contact Perimeter Clinic at 678-999-8263.

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