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Is it a UTI or an STI?

Posted in Sexual Health 27 Aug, 2015

UTI, STI, ABC, XYZ, our private areas are still places of mystery despite us owning them for some time now.

When we get problems down there it's as much fun as chewing off your own arm. The symptoms of a UTI and STI are very similar, so how do you know what's wrong with your plumbing? Let's take a look.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

This is when your bladder, urethra or kidneys get an infection. Too much sex (lucky you) can lead to bacteria travelling up the urethra and thriving in those wet and warm conditions. The 'woman's ailment' has been treated for years - old books have remedies for 'burning of the pisse' but it's usually called cystitis now - whilst it's in your bladder at least, because those evil bacteria will travel to your kidneys too and make you very poorly.

The term 'Honeymoon Cystitis' gives us a good clue as to what triggers an attack, but strong soaps can set off cystitis too. Lavender and tea tree bath foams kill off bacteria, leaving vaginal PH levels well bandy in all directions. This breeds tear-inducing bacteria that causes a tiny agonised wee in your pants en-route to your GP or nearest casualty.

Men can get it too, but it's harder to develop as the urethra is much longer. Urine kills off bacteria, so always wee after sex.

Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)

This is something much more serious.

You may know that burning wee is also a symptom of gonorrhoea and syphilis, and you'll certainly know if you've had unprotected sex. If you can't remember, assume you did. If you have, and your wee burns, get thee to a GP and confess, my child. If your GP doesn't know you've been doing the dirty you'll potentially get the wrong treatment for your symptoms, leaving an STI to wreck your fertility. They'll have seen and heard worse, don't worry. Some people go to their GP with lightbulbs up their bum. One bloke even used a live bullet to push his haemorrhoids back up and lost it - I kid you not. Therefore your night of naughty unprotected sex won't even bat an eyelid.

Just don't do it again OK? Protect yourself from HIV; it's no joke.

Why Do Doctors Confuse UTI and STI?

If you are honest then you're more likely to get the right treatment. Some STIs need further investigation so you may be sent to the clinic for more testing.

Antibiotics treat UTIs and some, but not all, STIs. Antibiotics can make thrush worse and you'll need antifungals for that. You can't expect your doctor to mind read and give you the right treatment if you don't properly explain your symptoms and history.

It may turn out that you have a bit of thrush or cystitis, or perhaps you've picked up something else. No matter, get it sorted and be honest about your recent escapades.

'I had sex without condoms last weekend and now my vagina/penis is itching and my wee burns'.

Not so hard is it?

Tread carefully in the genital minefield, and above all be honest. Your doctor is busy, harassed and doesn't give a stuff about your behaviour. They just need to treat your illnesses. So tell them what you did.

You'll feel a million times better afterwards, because you'll have the right treatment.

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