Urinary tract infections are a common problem, particularly in women. If you lead a busy life, you may be tempted to use a home test kit.  But do they work? The article below looks at the issue of using a urinary tract infection home test and is it worth taking it?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) affects your urinary tract. The most common case of UTIs are bacteria, but they can also be caused by fungi, or viruses. They are more common in women than men.

Typical signs and symptoms of a urinary tract infection include:

  • an intense urge to pee
  • peeing more often
  • peeing very little when you go
  • a burning sensation while you urinate

If you suspect you have a UTI, you will want to know for certain that are suspicions are correct and may consider a home test. There are several over-the-counter UTI home test available. To get the best one means you have to compare different products including reading any reviews. You should find out about a manufacturer’s reputation and quality of their products. Also check if they have FDA approval.

How The UTI Home Tests Work

  • Some kits only test for a substance called nitrite that is produced in most urinary tract infections. Other brands test for both nitrite and white blood cells (leukocytes). Many types kit test for only one or the other. UTI home test kits that test for both are more reliable than nitrite-only tests.
  • A urinary tract infection home test kit usually consists of about three specially treated plastic strips (dipsticks). They work in a similar way to a pregnancy test kit. The area at the end of the strip changes color if you have an infection.
  • You can use it in 2 ways; hold a dipstick in your urine stream for a few seconds. Or into a clean cup and dip the strip into the sample.
  • Wait 1 to 2 minutes for the color of the test strip to change. Instructions can vary depending on the brand so be sure to read and follow the leaflet.
  • Check the chart on the kit to find out if you’ve tested positive for a UTI.

 

Do the Urinary Tract Infection Home Tests Work?

  • These tests help you find out faster and are simple to use.
  • UTI home tests detect approximately 90% of UTIs. If your home kit tests positive, you should tell your doctor about any abnormal test results. An untreated UTI can spread to your kidneys and cause serious problems and complications. Most urinary tract infections are easily cured with antibiotics.
  • Not all home test kits are reliable. Some take too long to show results and others give inconsistent results. Some can give false positives and false negatives. False positives can mean you take medication (usually antibiotics) that you don’t need. A false negative result can delay treatment for a UTI and so put you at risk of developing a more severe infection or even complications. If you test negative but still have the signs and symptoms of a UTI, you should contact your doctor.
  • The results can be affected by a number of things for example, if you’re already taking medication for another condition.
  • Studies have shown show that urine cultures are much more reliable for diagnosing a UTI.

 

Conclusion

There are many UTI home tests available. You need to buy one that tests for both nitrate and leucocytes. However, they aren’t 100% accurate. There can be many variable factors affecting the result shown. So, urinary tract infection home test – is it worth taking it? The answer is it is a quick way to find out if you have a UTI but whatever the result, you are advised to see your doctor to be 100% sure.