Interpreting Home Test Results
These tests work similarly to a pregnancy test, using a test strip that a person wets with fresh urine.
After 12 minutes, the test strip will change color, indicating whether a UTI is present. A person must match the color of the test strip pads to the color blocks on the foil pouch in the test kit.
Most strips test for leukocytes and nitrites. Some also check pH levels.
Leukocytes are a type of white blood cell that helps the body fight off infection. Healthy urine contains chemicals called nitrates that can turn into nitrites if an infection is present. Therefore, the presence of leukocytes or nitrites in the urine is often a sign of a UTI.
Lastly, some home strips test pH levels. Healthy urine is slightly acidic, with a pH value in the range of . A pH level of 8.5 or 9 can indicate the presence of an infection and, therefore, a UTI.
If a home test is positive for any of these indicators, an individual likely has a UTI.
The Pathogen/s Causing Your Symptoms May Not Be In Your Sample
Standard UTI test methods focus on free-floating pathogens .
With every recurrence of UTI, there is an increased risk of an embedded, difficult-to-treat bladder infection. An infection embedded in or attached to the bladder wall is called a biofilm.
Biofilms arent always bad many types of bacteria form these structures naturally and theyre an important part of the gut microbiome.
When bacteria form biofilms in the bladder, they are no longer free-floating. If the bacteria are not floating around in the urine, they will not be passed into your sample on urination.
If the bacteria are not in your sample, they will not be detected.
There are other reasons your sample may not contain detectable levels of bacteria, including over-hydration. If your bladder is frequently flushed and your urine is diluted, your sample may not contain enough of anything a urine culture can detect.
Can I Prevent A Urinary Tract Infection
You can usually prevent a urinary tract infection with lifestyle changes. These tips can include:
In some post-menopausal women, a healthcare provider may suggest an estrogen-containing vaginal cream. This may reduce the risk of developing a UTI by changing the pH of the vagina. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have recurrent UTIs and have already gone through menopause.
Over-the-counter supplements are also available for UTIs. These are sometimes recommended for people who have frequent UTIs as another way to prevent them. Talk to your healthcare provider before starting any supplements and ask if these could be a good choice for you.
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What Is A Urinary Tract Infection
A urinary tract infection is an infection of the urinary system. This type of infection can involve your urethra , kidneys or bladder, .
Your urine typically doesnt contain bacteria . Urine is a byproduct of our filtration systemthe kidneys. When waste products and excess water is removed from your blood by the kidneys, urine is created. Normally, urine moves through your urinary system without any contamination. However, bacteria can get into the urinary system from outside of the body, causing problems like infection and inflammation. This is a urinary tract infection .
Renal Ultrasonography And Intravenous Pyelography
Unless an anatomic abnormality or renal disease is suspected, initial routine imaging studies are not necessary. Patients with suspected pyelonephritis who are not responsive to appropriate antibiotic therapy after 48-72 hours should undergo imaging. In pregnant patients, the recommended imaging study to perform first is a renal ultrasound, to avoid contrast and radiation unless necessary.
Renal ultrasound is helpful to visualize kidney or ureteral stones, renal abscess formation, or hydronephrosis. Renal ultrasonography may be helpful in patients with recurrent urinary tract infection or symptoms that suggest nephrolithiasis . Confusion about the diagnosis of urolithiasis, pyelonephritis, or both is an indication for obtaining imaging studies.
Urolithiasis and pyelonephritis have many symptoms in common . Urolithiasis is usually not associated with fever, except in patients with concomitant pyelonephritis.
Urolithiasis presents a unique problem in pregnant women. Kidney stones should initially be treated conservatively because 50-67% of stones diagnosed during pregnancy pass spontaneously. Conservative therapy includes appropriate antibiotic coverage, adequate hydration, and systemic analgesics . Anti-inflammatory medications may cause oligohydramnios, premature closure of the patent ductus arteriosus, or both and should therefore be avoided if possible.
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Utis Can Be Caused By Multiple Pathogens
Another issue with the standard mid-stream urine culture, or Kass test, is that it looks for a single pathogen, and does not take into account the possibility of multiple infection-causing pathogens.
Instead, if multiple pathogens are found, it is generally assumed that the urine sample was contaminated.
This is a problem because some chronic infections have been found to be caused by multiple pathogens co-existing in the bladder. And each pathogen may require a different treatment approach.
|Our biological studies reveal mixed microbial infections hiding inside the cells of the bladder. Located there, the microbes seem quiescent but cause low-grade inflammation that may cause various bladder symptoms…Cloistered, inside cells bacteria escape antibiotic and immune attack.|
Screening Tests Are For Patients Without Symptoms
A screening test is exactly what it sounds like: it screens people for a disease. The caveat here is that it looks for disease in people who have no symptoms think of mammogram screening for breast cancer.
Lets look at that in action. A screening test, like an OTC UTI test strip, could screen pregnant women for a UTI. They are perfect screening candidates because while most pregnant women have no symptoms, its really important to catch a urine infection early as they can cause problems for both mom and a baby.
A screening test is very sensitive, meaning that if the test is negative, you can be confident you dont have the disease. OTC UTI test strip is good at ruling out a disease. So, if a pregnant woman without any burning or urgency has a negative screening test, she can be pretty sure she does not have a UTI.
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Will I Need To Do Anything To Prepare For The Test
You don’t need any special preparations before getting a test for blood in your urine. If your health care provider has ordered other urine or blood tests, you may need to fast for several hours before the test. Your health care provider will let you know if there are any special instructions to follow.
What Steps Does Your Health Care Professional Take Before Ordering Imaging Tests
Before ordering imaging tests, your health care professional will consider your general medical history, including any major illnesses or surgeries, perform a physical exam, obtain blood test results, and may ask
- about your specific urinary tract symptoms, when they began, how often they occur, and how severe they are
- if you take any prescription or over-the-counter medicines
- how much fluid you take in each day
- about your use of alcohol and caffeine
- whether you are allergic to any foods or medicines
- whether you could be pregnant, if you are a female patient
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What Happens After Your Imaging Test
After most imaging tests, you can go home and resume normal activity. Some tests that involve catheters may cause minor discomfort. Tests that include medication, dyes, or sedatives occasionally trigger allergic reactions.
Tests that may cause discomfort include
- Tests involving a catheter in the urethra. You might feel some mild discomfort from an irritated urethra for a few hours after the procedure.
- Transrectal ultrasound. You might feel some discomfort from an irritated rectum.
If you have a catheterization, your health care professional may prescribe an antibiotic for 1 or 2 days to prevent an infection. If you have any signs of infection, including pain, chills, or fever, call your health care professional immediately.
Tests that may cause an allergic reaction include
- Tests involving contrast medium. If you have a rare sign of reaction, such as hives, itching, nausea, vomiting, headache, or dizziness, call your health care professional immediately.
- Tests involving sedatives. If you have a rare sign of reaction, such as changes in breathing and heart rate, call your health care professional immediately.
Does Cranberry Juice Prevent A Urinary Tract Infection
Many people say that cranberry juice can help treat, or even prevent, a UTI. Researchers are currently looking into the topic, but havent found a definitive answer yet. Healthcare providers recommend drinking lots of fluids if you have, or have a history of getting, a UTI. Adding a glass of unsweetened cranberry juice to your diet isnt a proven way to prevent a UTI, but it typically wont hurt you either.
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Test Miss Bacteria That Cause Infections
- Culture tests are insensitive and miss many pathogens that cause infection it favours fast-growing bacteria, like e-coli, and is unable to culture slow-growing bacteria orpathogens that die on contact with oxygen. The culture test detects as little as 12% of other clinically significant species that can cause infections. 1
- The dipstick test only looks for the presence of gram-negative bacteria, as e-coli, ignoring other possible pathogens that cause infections.
- The dipstick detects the nitrites which are produced by gram-negative bacteria and white blood cells, produced when the body is fighting an infection. But even then the dipstick test misses infections Positive for nitrite in less than 18% of UTIs and positive for leucocytes in less than 40% of acute UTIs with a positive MSU culture. 2,3,4
- The dipstick and culture test do not detect bacteria that are dormant and embedded in the bladder wall, so they fail to detect embedded, chronic infections. Dipstick test fail to detect 40% of chronic infections. The MSU test fails to detect 90% of chronic infections. 2,3
Why Its Important To Find The Right Practitioner
While you may be able to request UTI testing independently, the results have limited usefulness without a practitioner who can interpret the information and prescribe an appropriate treatment regimen.
Because the types of UTI testing covered above are not widely available, many practitioners may not be aware of them at all. Or they may be aware of them but have no experience using them, or may believe them to be unhelpful.
Always find a practitioner to work with before ordering testing. Weve covered recurrent UTI treatment approaches in a separate article, so dive in there for more insight.
|With Microbiome testing, you don’t often get one bacteria. Certainly, I have found the usual suspects like E. coli. Ive even detected some STIs, and anaerobes that cant be grown by culture. Sometimes, you get long lists of bacteria that we know very little about, and I’ll do extensive literature searches and sometimes barely come up with one or two papers. And so what I generally do in that situation is to try and figure out which are likely to be pathogenic, and treat those. This is a really different way of prescribing antibiotics compared to when I was trained.”|
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What Happens During A Blood In Urine Test
Your health care provider will need to collect a sample of your urine. During your office visit, you will receive a container to collect the urine and special instructions to make sure that the sample is sterile. These instructions are often called the “clean catch method.” It includes the following steps:
Why Are My Tests Negative
Standard tests miss infections leaving sufferers misdiagnosed or even dismissed as problem patients
I feel like Ive got a urinary tract infection but my doctor says I cant because my tests are negative
Many chronic urinary tract infection sufferers have had their symptoms dismissed by their GP or urologist on the basis of dipstick tests and mid-stream urine cultures. Worryingly, these tests are seriously flawed.
- Standard mid stream urine cultures miss 90% of chronic urinary tract infections
- Dipstick analysis miss at least 60% of chronic urinary tract infections.
Just because your tests doesnt find evidence of an infection, this is not evidence that you dont have a UTI.
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Diagnostic Tests Confirm Diagnose In The Patients With Symptoms
A diagnostic test diagnoses people who are very likely to have the disease because they have common symptoms.
For example, a diagnostic test is perfect for a woman who has some classic symptoms of a UTI: goes to the bathroom 15 times a day, and has pain with urination. She could use an OTC UTI test strip, but the result will be less accurate.
OTC UTI test strip does not rule in disease. For that, you need a diagnostic test. Diagnostic tests are specific, if they are negative, you can be sure you dont have the disease.
So if you already have UTI-like symptoms, you want to rule all other reasons before starting a treatment for UTI. For example, if you think you have a UTI when in fact you have a kidney stone, you waste precious time and resources taking antibiotics or herbal remedies that will do nothing to get rid of the stone. Diagnostic tests shine at weeding out all the people who are likely to have a disease but dont.
Whats The Difference Between A Urinary Tract Infection And Bladder Infection
A urinary tract infection is a more general type of infection. There are many parts of your urinary tract. A UTI is a term for an infection that takes place throughout the urinary tract. A bladder infection, also called cystitis, is a specific infection. In this infection, bacteria makes its way into the bladder and causes inflammation.
Not all urinary tract infections become bladder infections. Preventing the spread of the infection is one of the most important reasons to treat a UTI quickly when you have symptoms. The infection can spread not only to the bladder, but also into your kidneys, which is a more complicated type of infection than a UTI.
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What Uti Test Should Pregnant Women Have
Pregnant women are especially susceptible to urinary tract infections, thanks in part to pregnancy hormones, so its recommended that all get screened for UTIs between 12 and 16 weeks of pregnancy or at ones initial prenatal appointment. For this population, a urine culture is considered the most reliable test, especially for asymptomatic bacteriuria , which is a UTI without symptoms. However, since theres a high rate of false positives for pregnant women, a positive result often leads to a second test a week later in order to avoid unnecessary treatment.
Can I Become Immune To The Antibiotics Used To Treat A Uti
Your body can actually get used to the antibiotics typically used to treat a urinary tract infection . This happens in people who have very frequent infections. With each UTI and use of antibiotics to treat it, the infection adapts and becomes harder to fight. This is called an antibiotic-resistant infection. Because of this, your healthcare provider may suggest alternative treatments if you have frequent UTIs. These could include:
- Waiting: Your provider may suggest that you watch your symptoms and wait. During this time, you may be encouraged to drink plenty of fluids in an effort to flush out your system.
- Intravenous treatment: In some very complicated cases, where the UTI is resistant to antibiotics or the infection has moved to your kidneys, you may need to be treated in the hospital. The medicine will be given to you directly in your vein . Once youre home, you will be prescribed antibiotics for a period of time to fully get rid of the infection.
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When To See A Doctor
Get medical help as soon as you notice any UTI symptoms.
This is especially important if you have blood in your urine. Even if it only happened once or its a small amount, you should still visit a doctor.
When treated promptly, a UTI is easier to clear. Early treatment will help you avoid other complications.
How Are You Tested And Screened For A Uti
If you are experiencing symptoms like painful urination or a frequent urge to use the bathroom, you might be headed toward a UTI diagnosis. To find out for sure, youll need to have a healthcare professional, like your general practitioner, test your urine for both bacteria and other components that could indicate a urinary tract infection. When diagnosing a UTI, a urine test should be standard protocol. That, however, is not always the case. In fact, less than one in five patients treated for a UTI actually has a laboratory urine test to diagnose their problem, according to 2019 study in the journal E Clinical Medicine.30120-8/fulltext” rel=”nofollow”> 2)
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What Type Of Doctors Treat Utis
There is not simply one type of UTI doctor. Instead, your family doctor, you gynecologist, a nurse practitioner, a provider at your local walk-in can all treat most urinary tract infections. However, if youve repeatedly experienced UTIs in the past or have a chronic kidney infection, your healthcare provider may refer you to a urologist, a physician who specializes in urinary tract conditions, or a nephrologist, a physician who specializes in kidney disorders.
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