Home > Health Library > Home Test for Urinary Tract Infections
You can buy
dipstick test kits without a prescription. You use them at home to
urinary tract infections (UTIs). Talk to your doctor
about using a test kit.
urinary tract consists of the kidneys, bladder,
urethra. Urine in the bladder is normally sterile. This means it
does not contain any bacteria or other germs (such as
fungi). But bacteria can enter the urinary tract through the urethra.
UTIs 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. This allows bacteria from the intestines to
come into contact more easily with the urethra. Men also have an antibacterial substance in their
prostate gland that reduces their risk.
The dipstick test kit contains specially treated plastic strips called dipsticks. You hold them in your urine stream or dip them in a sample of your
urine. The strips test for a substance (called nitrite) produced by most
UTIs. 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.
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. This will help make sure that a serious
problem is not missed.
A self-test for urinary tract infection (UTI) is done under the care of your doctor to:
Most home test kits for urinary tract
infections (UTIs) were first made for use in a doctor's office or lab. Some drugstores 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 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.
For any home test, you should
follow some general steps:
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 after you collect the urine sample. Or you can place the dipstick in the
urine stream as you urinate.
Use a clean-catch midstream
urine sample for testing:
Test the urine sample by following the directions included
in the test kit package.
Collecting a urine sample is not painful.
Collecting a urine sample does not cause problems. If you keep having symptoms, or if your home test is
positive and you don't follow up with your doctor, you may have a higher chance of problems from a urinary tract infection (UTI)
Dipstick test kits are used 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.
You may not be able to have the test, or the results may not be helpful, if:
Other Works Consulted
Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerAvery L. Seifert, MD - Urology
Current as ofAugust 21, 2015
Current as of:
August 21, 2015
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Avery L. Seifert, MD - Urology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
I Want To...
Join Our Social Network