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Home Test for Urinary Tract Infections

How To Prepare

Equipment

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 Internet.

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.

General instructions

For any home test, you should follow some general guidelines:

  • Check the expiration date on the package and do not use a test kit after its expiration date. The chemicals in the kit may not work properly after that date.
  • Store the test kits as directed. Many kits need to be stored in a refrigerator or other cool place.
  • Read the instructions that come with your test carefully and thoroughly before doing the test. Look for any special preparations you need to take before you take the test, such as avoiding certain foods or limiting your physical activity.
  • Follow the directions exactly. Do all the steps, in order, without skipping any of them.
  • If a step in the test needs to be timed, use a clock. Do not guess at the timing because this could change your results.
  • If you are color-blind or have trouble telling one color from another, have someone else read the test results for you. Most test results depend on being able to see color changes on a test strip.
  • Write down the results of the test so you can talk to your doctor about them.

How It Is Done

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:

  • Wash your hands to make sure they are clean before collecting the urine.
  • If the collection container has a lid, remove it carefully and set it down with the inner surface up. Avoid touching the inside of the container with your fingers.
  • Clean the area around your genitals.
    • A man should retract the foreskin, if present, and clean the head of his penis thoroughly with medicated towelettes, wipes, or swabs.
    • A woman should spread open the folds of skin around her vagina with one hand, then use her other hand to clean the area around her vagina and urethra thoroughly with medicated towelettes or swabs. She should wipe the area from front to back to avoid contaminating the urethra with bacteria from the anus.
  • Begin urinating into the toilet or urinal. A woman should continue to hold apart the folds of skin around the vagina while she urinates.
  • After the urine has flowed for several seconds, place the collection container into the stream and collect 45 mL (3 Tbsp) to 60 mL (4 Tbsp) of this "midstream" urine without interrupting the flow.
  • Avoid touching the rim of the container to your genital area, and avoid getting toilet paper, pubic hair, stool (feces), menstrual blood, or other foreign matter in the urine sample.

Test the urine sample according to the directions included in the test kit package.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 29, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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