Home Test for Urinary Tract Infections

Test Overview

You can buy a home urinary tract infection (UTI) test kit. They are available without a prescription at a drugstore or online.

The home test kit contains specially treated test strips.You hold them in your urine stream or dip them in a sample of your urine. The strips check for nitrites and leukocytes produced by most UTIs. Some tests also show the pH of the urine, which can be another sign. Each type of test kit will have a label showing what is being checked. The test strip has areas that will change color after being in contact with urine. This can show if you have signs of a UTI.

Most UTIs are easy to cure 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. And if your test doesn't show that you have a UTI but you are having symptoms, call your doctor. The results of a home test kit are usually accurate, but they can miss an infection. Sometimes another test, called a urine culture, is needed.

Why It Is Done

A home test for urinary tract infection (UTI) may be done to:

  • Find a UTI, especially in people who have UTIs often.
  • Check how well treatment of a UTI is working. If you are being treated for a UTI, you can test your urine at home to see if the antibiotics have cured the infection.
  • Test young children who have frequent bladder infections but may not be able to report their symptoms. A home test for these children is done under a doctor's care.

How To Prepare

A urinary tract infection (UTI) test kit usually contains a clean collection cup, special plastic dipsticks, and instructions that explain how to perform the test. You will need a clock that measures time in seconds. You will also need wipes or towelettes to clean your genital area before you collect a urine sample.

How It Is Done

  1. Check the expiration date on the package. Do not use a test kit after its expiration date. The chemicals in the kit may not work as they should after that date.
  2. Carefully read the instructions that come with your test before you do the test.
  3. Follow the step-by-step directions.

Compare your test strip with the colors provided with the test kit.

How It Feels

This test usually doesn't cause any pain or discomfort.

Risks

Collecting a urine sample does not cause problems. A home test may not be as accurate as tests done in a doctor's office or a hospital.

Results

Results from test strips are ready right away.

Home test for urinary tract infections

Normal:

Nitrite test strip:

No nitrite is found in the urine. Normal results are called negative.

Leukocyte test strip:

No white blood cells (leukocytes) are found in the urine. Normal results are called negative.

Abnormal:

Nitrite test strip:

Nitrite is found in the urine. These results are called positive.

Leukocyte test strip:

White blood cells (leukocytes) are found in the urine. These results are called positive.

Some test kits also check the urine pH. Use the test result instructions that come with your kit. Your test results might show if your urine pH is in the range where a UTI is likely.

Call your doctor if the test result is positive. And if you are having symptoms of a UTI, such as a burning sensation when urinating or blood in your urine, call your doctor even if the test results are negative. Sometimes other tests are needed.

Credits

Current as of: February 10, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Avery L. Seifert MD - Urology

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

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This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.