Dolly Doctor

Two very common problems anyone with a vagina will experience at least once

And how to tell the difference between them.

By Grace Back
UTIs and thrush

If you're the proud owner of a vagina, you no doubt know that feeling when something’s not quite right… down there. When this happens don't stress, vaginas are sensitive little things and prone to two very common infections. You're bound to get either, or both, of these at least once during your lifetime. We're talking about urinary tract infections (UTIs) and thrush.

Yeah it can be a bit ~gross~ to think about it’s super-important to know the difference between these infections, so you can recognise when you have them then treat them properly and effectively.

What is a UTI?

Urinary tract infections are infections of the urinary tract and are caused by the build-up of bacteria in the urethra (the tube which carries urine out of body from the bladder). UTIs are one of the most common infections among women. They are so common in fact, that 1 in 2 of us will experience them in our lifetime compared to only 1 in 20 men.

How do I know it’s a UTI?

It’s important to always take note of what’s going on down there… if you feel any of the following, you should book into the docs ASAP to have it checked out.~ If you feel a pain or stinging when you urinate.
~ If you feel an urge to wee a lot, but not much is coming out.
~ If you feel pressure in your lower belly.
~ If your urine smells bad or looks milky, cloudy or reddish in colour.

How can I prevent and treat a UTI?

If you follow these preventative simple steps, your v-jay will thank you.

~ Do not ‘hold on’ when you need to go to the bathroom, go straight away when you feel the urge.
~ When you go to the bathroom be sure to wipe from front to back - if you go the opposite way you are spreading bacteria around.
~ Drink 6-8 glasses of water every day.
~ Wear undies with a cotton crotch.
~ Don’t wear too tight fitting pants, they trap moisture, irritate tissues and promote bacterial growth.
~ If you are sexually active, go to the toilet straight after intercourse to empty your bladder.

If you suspect you have an infection, head to the docs as a course of antibiotics is the best way to treat a UTI.

Next up... Thrush! Er, what is it?

Just like UTIs, vaginal thrush is a common infection among women. It's so common that 75% of women will experience it in their lifetime. In your v-jay, yeast is a common occurrence however if this yeast grows too rapidly thrush occurs.

How do I know it's thrush?

If you notice any of the following, it's likely to be thrush:

~ If your vagina is itchy or burns.
~ If you start to notice a white, “cottage cheese”, looking discharge.
~ If you start to feel pain or stinging while you urinate.
~ If your vaginal lips are swollen or red.

How can I treat thrush?

Vaginal creams and tablets (such as Canesten) can be bought from any chemist.

How do I prevent vaginal thrush?

~ When going to the bathroom be sure to wipe from front to back to prevent the spread of bacteria.
~ Avoid using soap to wash your vaginal area.
~ Avoid using perfumed toilet papers and menstrual products.
~ Avoid wearing tight-fitting pants.