Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) test strips are used to determine whether someone has a UTI. They’re also called dipsticks, and are usually sold with a UTI test kit package. UTI test strips generally check for leukocytes and nitrites in urine, both of which are commonly detected in urine when a person is suffering from a UTI.
Before fully delving into how UTI test strips work, it’s important to understand what a UTI is in the first place.
What is a urinary tract infection?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that affects any part of your urinary system, such as your kidneys, ureters, bladder, and/or urethra. Usually, most UTIs occur in the lower urinary tract (i.e. bladder and urethra).
Females are more likely to contract UTIs because their urethras are shorter than that of males, meaning that bacteria found in the urinary tract only need to travel a short distance before reaching the bladder. It’s highly unlikely for men to contract UTIs from having sexual intercourse with a woman this bacterium is already present in the urinary tracts of men.
Symptoms of UTIs include:
- An intense urge to pee, even when the bladder is empty
- A burning feeling when urinating
- Pressure and pain in the lower abdomen and back
- Dark, cloudy, strange-smelling, or bloody pee
- Fever or chills
- Frequent urination
- Nausea or vomiting
Apart from experiencing these symptoms, there are several ways to tell if you have UTI. The first is to go to a doctor. The second is to test for UTIs using at-home UTI test strips.
How to use UTI test strips
At-home tests are becoming increasingly popular as more people take control of their wellness. There are many at-home tests on the market, enabling users to take control of their wellness. Besides UTI test strips, people now want to get insight into their vitamin and mineral levels. For instance, Vivoo tests your calcium levels which can help users identify if they're getting enough calcium in their diet. So, if you're looking for an at-home test, Vivoo is a great option!
Taking an at-home UTI test is pretty simple. All you need to do is insert the UTI test strip into a sample of your urine for a short period of time as indicated in the packaging of your test strip. After the test strip comes into contact with your urine, the test strip will change in color. You can compare the resulting color of your test strip with the color scale provided with the packaging of your test strip to determine whether you’ve contracted a UTI.
Alternatively, you can urinate directly on a UTI test strip for 2-3 seconds, and wait 2 minutes for the test strip to change color. The extent of color change will depend on the brand or UTI test kit you choose to use.
Before collecting your urine sample to test for a UTI, there are some pointers to keep in mind. See below!
What to avoid before collecting your urine sample for testing
Before using a UTI strip, tell your doctor about any medications, vitamins or other supplements you take. Many drugs, including non-prescription medications and supplements, can affect the results of a urinalysis.
In addition, while it’s near impossible to control the timing of contracting a UTI, it’s to not collect a urine sample if you’re menstruating. This is because menstrual blood can potentially contaminate your urine sample and impact your results.
Benefits of UTI test strips
Using a UTI test strip after feeling the first symptoms of a UTI can be beneficial for catching it early and getting immediate treatment for it before it worsens. If you get a positive test result with your at-home UTI test, you should book an appointment with your doctor immediately to get it treated. But remember, studies have shown that at-home UTI test strips cannot be used to rule out an infection. Therefore, even if you test negative for a UTI, you should still continue to monitor your symptoms.
If you frequently get UTIs, having a batch of at-home UTI tests can be a resource for you to test frequently, and give you an idea of whether you might have contracted it before confirming with your doctor.
Do you use at-home UTI test strips? How was your experience using them? Comment below!