• Diagnosis of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

    If you think you have a urinary tract infection (UTI), your doctor will want to discuss your medical history and current symptoms. A physical exam will be done. You will be asked to provide a “clean catch” urine specimen. You will start by cleaning the area around the urinary urethra (the tip of the penis in men, between the labia in women) with wipes. Then, you will begin urinating in the toilet, then stop and continue urinating into a sterile specimen cup.
    Male Urinary System
    IMAGE
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
    Urine tests include:
    • Urine dip—This is often done right in your doctor’s office. A dipstick coated with special chemicals is dipped into the urine sample, and areas on it change color to indicate the presence of blood, pus, bacteria, or other materials. This is a very quick, but general, test.
    • Microscopic urinalysis—The urine is examined under a microscope for the presence and quantity of red blood cells, white blood cells (pus), bacteria, etc. This is a more accurate way to diagnose a UTI.
    • Urine culture and sensitivity test—A urine sample is sent to a laboratory to see if bacteria will grow. Once the bacteria have been identified, an appropriate antibiotic can be prescribed, or your doctor can make sure that you are on the right antibiotic.
    More extensive testing of the urinary system may be necessary for men or children who develop UTIs. Additionally, if your doctor is concerned that you have any structural problems with your urinary tract system, or other conditions such as urinary stones, vesicoureteral reflux, enlarged prostate, tumors, or polyps, you may be asked to undergo further testing.
    Such testing may include:

    References

    American Foundation for Urologic Disease. Urinary tract infections in adults. American Urological Association Foundation website. Available at: http://www.urologyhealth.org/ . Accessed July 31, 2010.

    Griffith’s 5-Minute Clinical Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2001.

    National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Urinary tract infections in adults. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/utiadult/ . Published December 2005. Accessed July 31, 2010.

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