Can I Take a Home Test for a UTI?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) affects your urinary tract. That’s the system though which your body gets rid of waste and extra water.

UTIs are most often caused by bacteria, but they can also be brought on by fungi, or viruses. Normally, your body gets rid of these germs before they cause a problem. But if the germs win, you can get a painful UTI.

If you’ve ever had one, you know the telltale signs: an intense urge to pee, having to pee more often, peeing very little when you go, and a burning sensation during urination. If you think you have a UTI, see your doctor. He’ll find out whether your symptoms are caused by that or another infection. He’ll also be able to prescribe antibiotics to treat it.

Can’t wait to find out if you have a UTI? A home test can help you find out faster.

How Do They Work?

You can buy over-the-counter UTI dipstick tests at your local drugstore or online. They work much like a pregnancy test: Each kit comes with a testing strip (usually three to a kit). You wet a test strip by holding it in your urine stream for a few seconds. Or, you can collect urine in a clean cup and dip the strip into the sample. Wait 1 to 2 minutes for the color of the test strip to change. This will vary depending on the brand you use. Check the chart on the home test kit to find out if you’ve tested positive for a UTI.

Home test kits might be useful if you have UTIs that keep coming back. They check for white blood cells and bacteria in the urine. But the results can be affected by a number of things, like medications you’re taking. And studies show that urine cultures are far more reliable for showing whether you have a UTI.

The bottom line: See your doctor to be sure, no matter what your UTI home test reveals.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Minesh Khatri, MD on January 05, 2017

Sources

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: “Urinary Tract Infection.” 

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: “Urinary Tract Infection in Adults.”

Womenshealth.gov: “Urinary Tract Infection Fact Sheet.”

Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care: “Reliability of Dipstick Assay in Predicting Urinary Tract Infection.”

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