We all know that pain while peeing is an early indication of a urinary tract infection, but did you know that it could also be a symptom of an STD?

A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology shows that 50 percent of the sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) get misdiagnosed for urinary tract infections (UTIs). Researchers studied the diagnosis of 264 women over a period of two months and found that 66 percent women had been diagnosed with UTI, while 60 percent out of the 64 percent were given treatment without first performing a urine culture, which would have determined the results more accurately. Also, 23 percent women were suffering from at least one kind of STD while 37 percent women were not given any treatment for at least a week after visiting ER.

The Overlapping Symptoms
However, since the initial symptoms—pain while urinating, pain in the lower abdomen, fatigue, fever and the urge to pee even if the bladder is empty—are the same, the biggest challenge lies in detecting the two conditions.

While some STDs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea mimic the symptoms of UTIs, not all STDs lead to a urinary tract infection. The symptoms can be difficult to figure out in such cases.

The Distinguishing Factor
STDs are almost always caused by viral or bacterial infections, whereas UTIs normally stem from fungal infections. The best person to spot the difference between the two would be your doctor, who’d ask you to undergo certain tests such as a urine culture to be sure.

While the course of treatment depends on the type of infection, normal UTIs clear up in 3-5 days. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), on the other hand, take a longer time to heal and may be be accompanied with other symptoms such as small red bumps or open sores in the genital, anal and nearby areas, which can be seen in herpes.

What You Can Do
Since more than 30 different types of bacteria, viruses and parasites cause STDs, the symptoms and its treatment may vary depending on the type of infection. A doctor can correctly diagnose the infection and point out the right condition and suggest the appropriate treatment. However, certain herbs can be useful in reducing UTI symptoms.[1]    

  • Chamomile and dandelion can be help reduce the symptoms of a normal urinary tract infection. Click here to read about the other herbs that will fend off the infection, prevent them from coming back and alleviate pain and discomfort.
  • The most common cause of UTIs are the E. coli bacteria. Plant antioxidants (anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, and quercetin) present in cranberries are very effective in  reducing the UTI infections caused by E. coli. Here are 6 Reasons Cranberries Should Be A Part Of Your Daily Diet
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a type of bacteria, is responsible for many persistent and recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) and studies show that garlic can significantly lower the growth of this bacteria and reduced its virulence. Here’s how you can use garlic to reduce symptoms of a urinary tract infection.

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Read More:
Sex And UTI: Could They Be Related?
9 Types Of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) That You Ought To Know Of
Is Cranberry Juice A Good Remedy For Urinary Tract Infections?

Reference:
1. Sexually Transmitted Infection. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs110/en/ (last accessed on 15 July 2015)

A pregnancy & babycare writer as well as wellness believer, Debolina is always trying to bring in health and wellness into her family’s, especially her kids’, lives. With a Master’s degree in English literature, she has worked with several mothercare and babycare brands. In her free time, she helps with campaigns that work towards promoting the health and well-being of women and babies. Her experiences as a mother help her talk about busy modern-day parenting and its changing trends.