Bacterial Vaginosis vs. Yeast Infection: How to Tell the Difference

Are pregnant and have symptoms of a vaginal infection or a urinary tract infection (UTI). Lack of Estrogen (atrophic vaginitis): When to see a doctor UTIs and yeast infections require a medical professional to diagnose and treat them. Use of antibiotics.

Neither is typically cause for concern. Your doctor may be able to prescribe antiviral tablets for you. 5 is normal but can also be seen with a yeast infection (candidiasis).

  • “If you aren’t getting relief from the usual measures, or you aren’t quite sure of the diagnosis, it’s worth a trip to the office to get checked out,” says Dr.
  • UTI’s can be of two types—lower tract infection involving the urethra and bladder, and upper tract infection involving the ureters and the kidneys.
  • Antibiotics is one thing that can cause the imbalance.
  • For example, do not douche.
  • It’s difficult to determine exactly how prevalent they are because it is commonly self-diagnosed and treated with over-the-counter medications (2).
  • However, it is best to seek medical help to see if antibiotics are necessary.


While yeast infections can usually be treated with OTC medications, there are some instances that merit a doctor’s office visit. A man’s body does not have an equivalent place that provides a friendly ecosystem for organisms and microflora like anaerobic bacteria and lactobacilli to grow. Use of some types of antibiotics increase your risk of a yeast infection. Should I use an over-the-counter medication to treat a yeast infection? If you’re a woman, you also have yeast in your vaginal area. The discharge may even resemble a sourdough starter.

Preventing a Yeast Infection and Bacterial Vaginosis

He or she may do some tests to see if your yeast infections are being caused by another health problem, such as diabetes. Thrush isn’t a sexually transmitted infection, but it can be triggered by sex. Trichomoniasis is a common sexually transmitted disease. This is most often caused by E. Most yeast infections involve Candida albicans ( C. )To diagnose a yeast infection, a healthcare provider will ask about symptoms and do a pelvic exam. Up to half of women with trichomoniasis don't have any symptoms. So drink up, but stick to water as your go-to beverage.

  • If your partner is a woman, however, she may want to consider getting tested for bacterial vaginosis especially if your own BV is recurring or chronic.
  • It is, however, what doctors call “sexually associated,” meaning it can flare up due to sex (more on that later).

Differential Diagnoses

Still unsure how to tell if it's yeast or BV? Almost everyone with a vulva gets vaginitis at some point. If there's a fishy smell, bacterial vaginosis is a better guess. It’s common to have other STIs at the same time. It can be really uncomfortable, but in the majority of cases it’s simple to treat.

Consider using birth control pills that don’t contain estrogen, such as progesterone-only pills or an IUD. One approach women can take to prevent contracting a UTI this way is to urinate within the first 20 minutes after sexual activity. It's easy to confuse the symptoms of a yeast infection with those of some STDs and other vaginal infections.

Because the causes of BV and yeast infections are different, each requires a different plan of attack when it comes to treatment. You may have other tests if you have vaginal yeast infections that are severe or that keep coming back (recur), such as: When should I call my healthcare provider? With yeast infections, discharge is usually thick, white, and odorless.

BV versus Yeast: head-to-head

Almost all of us have heard of yeast infections, but you might not have heard of bacterial vaginosis (or BV, as it’s affectionately referred to in the medical community). Hydrogen peroxide has been known to help reduce the uncomfortable symptoms like itching with bacterial vaginosis. Although a yeast infection can be detected during a routine Pap test , this type of test is not typically done to diagnose vaginal infections. What are the risk factors for yeast infection? Bladder infections are usually considered “simple UTIs” and treatment is usually with antibiotics (such as trimethoprim or amoxicillin-clavulanate potassium) for three to five days. Here’s how to tell the difference between bacterial vaginosis and a yeast infection — and how to get better fast no matter what you’ve got.

Common Symptoms

The duration of the treatment also varies accordingly. BV causes a watery grayish discharge while a yeast infection causes a white, thick discharge. Antibiotics can change the normal balance of vaginal organisms, allowing excess growth of yeast. Wearing tight-fitting, nonabsorbent pants or undergarments that hold in warmth and moisture. Cleaning the genitals from front to back, especially after urination and bowel movements, ensures that the bacteria in the anal region does not spread to the vagina and urethra. For another, it takes a larger buildup of yeast to cause those symptoms. If you have HIV, BV can also make it more likely for you to transmit HIV to any sexual partner who has a penis.

Candida— may be seen as budding yeast and/or tube or branch-like structures (pseudohyphae). Symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection are more likely to occur during the week before a menstrual period. These include trichomoniasis, herpes and genital warts. If the infection is caused by bacteria, the doctor may recommend antibiotics—oral antibiotics for lower tract infection, and intravenous antibiotics for upper tract infection.

You may not have symptoms when you have trichomoniasis. 4, sexual intercourse (pH of semen is 7. )Home remedies and over the counter medications may be effective for a mild case of yeast infection. They might be the wrong choice for your condition, and taking antibiotics when they're not needed can make yeast infections more likely. It can also be taken by the patient, and self-smears have been shown to be similarly effective for diagnosing yeast infections. If you have pelvic pain or fever, get an evaluation by a doctor. Bacterial vaginosis: There are several treatments and medications that can cure vaginal yeast infections.

Common Conditions

Can vaginitis be prevented? What can cause vaginitis? While it isn’t a sexually transmitted infection, your partner’s natural chemistry can influence the balance of yeast and bacteria in your vagina. Many women commonly mistake other vaginal infections for Yeast Infections, believing that it is the most common type. You’ll need to be tested again about a week after you finish your treatment to check the infection has gone completely. The most common bacteria, Lactobacillus acidophilus, help keep other organisms—like the yeast—under control. “If [you have] discomfort in one place, it’s hard for your brain to say, ‘This is my vagina’ versus ‘This is my bladder,’” she explains.

Both yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis are caused by a shift in the chemistry of the vagina. They're not considered sexually transmitted infections. If you have a male partner, they won’t need any treatment unless they have a rash or sore area on their penis. Esophageal yeast infections are usually treated with oral or intravenous anti-yeast medicines. What are the symptoms? There is no evidence to support the use of special cleansing diets and colonic hydrotherapy for prevention.