What Are Hydration Test Strips?

March 17, 2023 6 minutes

Dehydration is a serious issue. Being even just a little dehydrated could disrupt cellular energy synthesis processes (leaving you feeling tired and exhausted), mess up your blood volume (making your heart work harder than usual), and hurt your body's ability to regulate its temperature. That said, these symptoms are more uncomfortable than life-threatening. But that doesn't mean you can turn a blind eye to your hydration levels. But how do you know if you're getting enough? A simple way to find out is to use hydration test strips.  

It’s also possible to "overdo" hydration. Overhydration (medical term: hyponatremia) can cause symptoms like dehydration – i.e., nausea, confusion, and irritability – and be fatal if it's not treated quickly. In other words, you can't have too little water, but you can't have too much as well. 

If you're unhappy with your current hydration level, don't worry – there are plenty of ways to increase your intake. Drinking more water is always a good place to start, but you can also try adding some fruits and vegetables high in water content to your diet or drinking detox teas regularly. Whichever route you choose, using hydration test strips is an easy way to track your progress and make sure you stay on the path of your wellness journey.

Hydration Test

Introduction to hydration strips 

Hydration strips are pretty much what they sound like: test strips that measure an individual's hydration level. Appearance-wise, hydration test strips look nearly identical to pregnancy test strips – with the significant difference being the specific biomarkers they analyze. While pregnancy test strips look out for human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), hydration strips measure things like salivary osmolality and urine-specific gravity to determine one’s hydration status.

Types of hydration test kits

There are 2 main types of hydration test kits available in the market: the first uses saliva samples, and the second calls for urine samples. Each works in a slightly different way.

Salivary hydration test strips

As mentioned earlier, salivary hydration test strips determine a user’s hydration status by measuring a biomarker known as salivary osmolality (SOSM). Don’t be intimidated by its complex-sounding name. All SOSM means is the concentration of particles – primarily electrolytes – per liter of saliva. The higher your SOSM value, the more dehydrated you are. And vice versa.

An important thing to note about the use of salivary hydration test strips is that they require easy access to an osmometer (i.e., a device that “reads” osmolality). Although instructions vary according to the specific brand you purchase, here’s how you’d typically measure your hydration status with urinary test strips:

  1. Tear open a hydration test strip
  2. Insert the hydration test strip into the hand-held osmometer
  3. Swallow saliva in your mouth and generate a "fresh" sample
  4. Tap the tip of the test strip against your tongue on a downward angle until the osmometer beeps (an indicator that it’s done collecting your saliva sample)
  5. Wait for the sample to be analyzed; do not remove the test strip until you see your salivary osmolarity score and hydration status

Urinary hydration test strips

In contrast to the salivary hydration test strips, their urinary counterparts determine a user’s hydration status by measuring urine specific gravity (USG) – the concentration of particles in urine and the density of urine compared with the density of water. 

At this point, it’s worth noting that urinary hydration strips have 2 distinctive advantages over salivary test strips. The first is convenience. While hand-held osmometers are indeed portable, they can still be quite bulky and challenging to carry around daily. Compare that to urinary test strips, which change color based on your USG – helping you estimate your hydration status in reference to a color chart. When it comes to optimal hydration levels, every laboratory has its special and unique measuring chart. For example, for Vivoo, the optimal range for USG is 1.005 to 1.015; anything below suggests that you’re overhydrated, while anything above hints that you’re dehydrated. 

The second advantage is undoubtedly cost. A salivary dehydration home test kit could easily set you back by thousands of dollars (with most of it going to the osmometer). Urinary hydration test strips, on the other hand, are affordable. 

We all know that being properly hydrated is important for our overall wellness. But what if we told you that there is a new way - a better way- to check on your hydration levels? Meet Vivoo! You can now get real-time data on your water levels - and 8 other parameters - with Vivoo's at-home urine test. That's right, with the Vivoo App, you can find out whether you're properly hydrated, your urine pH, calcium levels, and more. This makes it much more practical to get many results instead of just one. So if you're looking for an easy and convenient way to get information about your body, look no further than Vivoo. Try it today!

Once again, instructions on using urinary hydration test strips will vary according to the specific brand. But, typically, here's how you'd do it:

  1. Tear open a hydration test strip
  2. Completely immerse the hydration test strip in urine; there are 2 methods you could use for this: the first is collecting urine in a small cup, while the other is something called the “clean-catch” method – both are fine
  3. Wait (the exact time you need to wait depends, so you should read the product insert carefully)
  4. Compare the color of your test strip to the color chart that comes with your hydration test kit to determine your hydration status
  5. If you're using Vivoo test strips, set the timer on the app after you're finished. When the timer goes off, scan the strip with the Vivoo App and wait for the results!

Ready to try dehydration home test kit? 

Even mild dehydration can interfere with your mood – and ability to concentrate. That said, being overly enthusiastic about chugging fluids can also hurt your health. Thankfully, you can now easily see if you are indeed meeting your body’s hydration requirements with hydration test strips (in seconds!) What could be better than that?

And to top it all off: you never have to squint at your test strip, struggling to decide if its color is closer to yellow or orange. Powered by artificial intelligence, the Vivoo App analyzes it all for you, so you just need to sit back, relax – and wait for your personalized nutrition and lifestyle advice. It couldn’t get easier than that.

To get started using Vivoo, you must: 

  • Download the free Vivoo App
  • Urinate on the Vivoo strip and scan it to the App.

All Vivoo's recommendations have been created by registered dietitians, nutritionists, and doctors. You can start your wellness journey and get to know what your body needs with Vivoo! 

Read more:

Dehydration and Its Effect on Body

Dehydration in Disguise – Headaches

Can Dehydration Cause Sore Throat?

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