Urinary Tract Infections Vs. Herpes

Both urinary tract infections and genital herpes affect your genital area. Otherwise, the two conditions have very little in common. They have distinctive features, different causes and different treatment plans.

UTI Facts

Urinary tract infections (UTI) are commonly caused by E. coli bacteria invading your urinary system, which includes your bladder; urethra (tube which runs from your bladder to the outside of your body); ureters (tubes which carry urine from your kidneys to your bladder) and kidneys.

Herpes Facts

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Genital herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus and is a sexually-transmitted disease. It affects the skin in your genital area.

UTI Symptoms

Symptoms of a UTI include increased urinary frequency, pain or burning while urinating, strong odor, blood in your urine, cloudy urine and a persistent and strong need to urinate.

Herpes Symptoms

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Symptoms of genital herpes include open sores in the anal/genital area, tiny red bumps in the anal/genital area and an itching sensation around your inner thighs, buttocks or genitals.


UTIs are caused by bacteria and are not contagious. Herpes, on the other hand, is a sexually-transmitted disease which can be transmitted through direct contact.


UTIs can be treated and eradicated with antibiotics such as nitrofurantoin, amoxicillin or ciprofloxacin. Herpes is not curable; treatment goals are to alleviate symptoms, reduce the frequency of outbreaks and minimize the risk of passing the virus to others.