A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the urinary system, which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. UTIs are caused by bacteria that enter the urinary tract through the urethra, and multiply in the urinary system. The most common symptom of a UTI is a burning sensation when urinating. Other symptoms may include frequent urination, an urge to urinate and incontinence. If left untreated, a UTI can spread to the kidneys and cause serious health problems.
If you feel you’re coming down with a UTI, you can take an at-home UTI test. A UTI home kit can be bought easily online or at a pharmacy without a prescription. So let’s learn what at-home UTI tests are, and how they can make your life easier.
UTI home test kit
UTI home test kits contain a set of test strips which are specially designed to test for UTIs. These strips are designed for you to either test by holding them under your urine stream while peeing, or by inserting them into a sample of your urine. UTI tests detect for leukocytes and nitrites in your urine, both of which are typically present when you have a UTI.
There are also some other at-home UTI tests that determine whether you have a UTI using the pH level of urine. Depending on your urine pH, there’s a high possibility that you may have contracted a UTI.
UTI home kits usually contain test strips or dipsticks, a clean sample collection cup, and a guide containing instructions on how to take the test. All you need to do is to follow the instructions.
Every UTI home test kit has a label that shows whether they are testing for leukocytes and nitrites or urine pH. Each strip typically has a specific area that changes color after coming into contact with urine, which is the way to determine whether you have a UTI.
Fortunately, most UTIs are treated easily with probiotics and antibiotics. However, if left untreated, UTIs can spread to the kidneys and other organs, resulting in a much more serious problem.
Preparing for a UTI test
Preparing for a UTI self test isn’t difficult. Start by washing your hands and then cleaning your genital area with water or a tissue. Most tests will ask for a urine sample from midstream, but you should read the instructions to confirm this.
How to carry out a UTI test?
- First, check the expiration date on the package of the UTI home test kit. The chemicals contained in the UTI test may not be as effective if it is past its expiration date.
- Read the instructions carefully before taking the test.
- Follow the instructions contained in your UTI test kit package.
After taking the urine test, you’ll need to compare the color change of your test strip with the colors provided in your UTI home test kit color chart box to determine whether you have a UTIt.
Do UTI tests hurt?
UTI tests themselves are completely painless. All you need to do is obtain a sample of your urine. However, you might be experiencing some feelings of pain or discomfort while urinating, as this is a common symptom of UTIs.
Are there any risks involved?
There are no major risks involved when it comes to taking at-home UTI tests. However, it’s always possible that you take the test incorrectly, which can affect your results. It’s also possible that you misread your results when comparing the color of your test strip with the colors on the color chart. It’s also worth noting that not all at-home UTI tests have the same standard of quality, so some may have higher accuracy rates than others. If you purchased a test with low accuracy, you might get misleading results.
How to get results?
One of the benefits of conducting a UTI home test is that you can get your results immediately after testing. For the most part, most UTI tests either test for nitrites or leukocytes.
Nitrite test strip: There are many types of bacteria that can convert nitrates that are commonly found in your urine into another molecule called “nitrites” If no nitrites are found in your urine sample, then it means that you don’t have a UTI. If they are present, then it means that you have a UTI.
Leukocyte test strip: Leukocytes are white blood cells that help fight germs. When there is an excess amount of leukocytes in your urine, it may be a sign that you are experiencing problems somewhere along your urinary tract. If no white blood cells are found in the urine, then it means that you have tested negative for UTIs. If the test does detect white blood cells, then this means you have a UTI.
Make sure you follow all the instructions in the test kit, and call your doctor regardless of whether your test results are positive or negative.