You can buy
dipstick test kits without a doctor's order (nonprescription) to use at home to
urinary tract infections (UTIs). Talk to your doctor
about using a test kit. Make sure that your doctor knows about any abnormal
test results, so that a urinary problem is not missed.
urinary tract consists of the kidneys, bladder,
urethra. Urine in the bladder normally is sterile—it
does not contain any bacteria or other organisms (such as
fungi). But bacteria can enter the urinary tract through the urethra.
Urinary tract infections are more common in women and
girls than in men. This may be partly because the female urethra is shorter and
closer to the
anus, which allows bacteria from the intestines to
come into contact more easily with the urethra. (See a picture of the
female urinary tract.) Men also have an antibacterial substance in their
prostate gland that reduces their risk.
The dipstick test kit contains specially treated plastic strips
(dipsticks) that you hold in your urine stream or dip into a sample of your
urine. The strips test for a substance (called nitrite) produced by most
urinary tract infections. Certain types of strips also test for white blood
cells (leukocytes). Some types of dipsticks can test for both nitrite and
leukocytes, but most types test for only one or the other. An area on the end
of the strip changes color if you have an infection.
tract infections can be easily cured with
antibiotics. But an untreated infection may spread to
the kidneys and cause a more serious problem. If you use a home test kit, make
sure that your doctor knows about any abnormal test results, so that a serious
problem is not missed.
A self-test for urinary tract
infections is done under the direction of your doctor to:
Most home test kits for urinary tract
infections (UTIs) were originally designed for use in a health professional's
office or lab. Some pharmacies stock these test kits or can order them for you
without a prescription. Many types of home test kits can be ordered over the
A UTI test kit usually contains a clean collection cup,
special plastic dipsticks, and instructions that explain how to perform the
test. You will also need wipes or towelettes (to clean your genital area before
collecting a urine sample) and a clock that measures time in seconds.
For any home test, you should
follow some general guidelines:
Do not urinate for at least 4 hours
before testing. A first morning urine sample (that has collected in the bladder
overnight) provides the most accurate test results.
Test the urine
within 15 minutes of collecting the urine sample, or place the dipstick in the
urine stream as you are urinating.
Use a clean-catch midstream
urine sample for testing:
Test the urine sample according to the directions included
in the test kit package.
There is no pain while collecting a
urine sample. If you have pain or burning when you urinate, tell your doctor
There is no chance for problems while
collecting a urine sample. If your symptoms continue or if your home test is
positive and you do not follow up with your doctor, you may increase your
chances of complications from a urinary tract infection (UTI).
You can buy dipstick test kits without a doctor's
order (nonprescription) to check for
urinary tract infections (UTIs) at home. Results are
ready right away.
Nitrite dipstick test:
No nitrite is found in the urine. Normal
results are called negative.
Leukocyte dipstick test:
No white blood cells (leukocytes) are found
in the urine. Normal results are called negative.
Nitrite is found in the urine. These results
are called positive.
White blood cells (leukocytes) are found in
the urine. These results are called positive.
Call your doctor if the test result is positive.
There may be reasons you are
not able to have this test or reasons why the results may not be helpful. One
of the main reasons results may not be helpful is that the urine tested was not
in your bladder for at least 4 hours before collecting the test sample.
Other Works Consulted
Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.
June 29, 2012
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
& Avery L. Seifert, MD - Urology
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