What’s a UTI? What’s Not a UTI?

January 15, 2015By

Fruit cranberries drinkA bladder infection is one type of UTI. This infection is so common most girls get one at some point in their life. Often, the terms “UTI” and “bladder infection” are both used to describe the same infection. More annoying than anything else, a bladder infection may feel like you have to pee –ALL THE TIME. Sometimes there may be a burning feeling while you pee – afterward too. And, occasionally an unusual smell will let you know something’s going on.

If you do get a UTI, it will usually pass in a few days. Listen to your body. If you ever feel any of these symptoms, be sure to let your grown-up know. And, if it persists longer than a few days, a health care provider may need to prescribe an antibiotic for you. A bad bladder infection can spread to your kidneys; and a kidney infection can be pretty serious.

Some people suggest unsweetened cranberry juice to help clear out a UTI. Just try to remember to drink lots of water every day to keep all your parts well-hydrated, and wipe front to back after using the bathroom.

Another common infection women and girls can experience is a yeast infection. Often times, some women and girls may find it difficult to distinguish between the two, but there are some clear differences that can help you determine whether you have a UTI or yeast infection.

Yeast is a microscopic, healthy fungus found in and on various parts of your body. It shares the space in your vagina with good bacteria. Sometimes, bacteria can outgrow the yeast creating a bacterial infection, and more often, yeast can outgrow the bacteria, upsetting the fine balance, and causing infections or “flare-ups.” A vaginal yeast infection is found in the vagina. It causes irritation, usually is crazy itchy, and most often produces vaginal discharge, literally an overgrowth of yeast, which you can see!

Flare-ups are so common because it’s very easy to knock yeast off the balance beam, so to speak, creating the perfect environment for an infection.

Symptoms of Vaginal Yeast Infections 

  • Itching and irritation
  • Soreness
  • Redness and swelling
  • A burning sensation, especially while peeing
  • Thick, white, odor-free discharge with a cottage cheesey appearance

  Symptoms of a UTI 

  • Itching and irritation
  • Redness and swelling
  • Soreness
  • Pain that feels like it’s coming from your bladder, a little different than cramps from your period which you feel over your whole lower pelvic region
  • A burning sensation, especially while peeing
  • Some discharge, usually odor-free

How to Avoid Yeast Infections

  • Change your swimsuit as soon as you are finished swimming – yeast loves moisture
  • Change your underwear after you exercise – not only does yeast love moisture, it especially likes warm, wet place
  • If you feel comfortable, try sleeping without underwear
  • Wear only cotton underwear, especially if you are prone to yeast infections. Silky, stretchy panties may be cuter, but cotton is a natural material which allows the moisture from your vagina to dry up and disappear
  • Avoid those perfumes and heavily scented soaps – as we have pointed out, they can irritate and actually cause yeast to grow
  • Think about eating a little less sugar – yeast feeds on sugar helping it grow (think about that when you reach for your fifth cookie)
  • When a doctor prescribes an antibiotic if you are sick, also ask for a pro Antibiotics destroy both bad and good bacteria in the body to rid you of illness. Probiotics help replace the good stuff, which then helps keep yeast in balance

How to avoid a UTI 

  • Avoid harsh soaps, sprays and anything else down there
  • Wipe front to back, girl!
  • Urinate when you have to go, try not to hold it all day
  • Drink plenty of water to flush out your urethra
  • Sit all the way down on the toilet

Second to Strep

What the heck does that mean? It means, UTIs are sooooo common that only strep infections, as in throat, happen more often. You may remember from Chapter Three that girls and women are more susceptible to UTIs than boys and men because of their body structure. It is likely that every once in a while a bacteria will spread from anus to urethra because they are so close together.

Heavily scented sprays and soaps, the ones we don’t want you to use, also are responsible for many a UTI.      

Treatment for UTIs and FYIs

  • Know when you need help – when something is funky
  • Know how to get help – tell a grownup: parent, school nurse, doctor
  • Know where not to find help – internet, friends, drugstore

To recap our Hygiene talk:

  • Step a-WAY from the vagina spray!
  • Keep the clean routine simple and pure
  • Always talk to your grownup and then to a doctor if you think you have a yeast infection or UTI. He or she most likely will prescribe a cream or a pill. Never take an over-the-counter, drugstore medication without your doctor’s permission.

 

 

 

 

 

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