Common Test For Bladder Infections Misses Too Many Cases
Urine tests are the gold standard for diagnosing bladder infections. But one common test, the urine culture, can easily miss infections. Ian Hooton/http://www.sciencesource.com/hide caption
Most women know all too well the pain and discomfort of a urinary tract infection. They also know they’ll probably have to trek to the doctor for a urine analysis so they can get a prescription for antibiotics.
Surely there’s got to be a better way.
The first step for women with a history of urinary tract infections may be skipping a standard test isn’t that good at spotting bladder infections anyway.
“Fewer tests should be done,” says Dr. Michael Donnenberg, a professor of medicine at The University of Maryland School of Medicine who wasn’t involved in the study. “It’s even a poorer test than we thought.”
Urinary tract infections lead to 8 million doctor visits a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That adds up to plenty of expense and inconvenience that in many cases may not be worth the trouble.
Doctors have two choices for urine tests: the dipstick test, which gives near-instant results and is useful for ruling out infection, and the urine culture. That is done in a lab and takes one to three days.
The urine culture, formally called a midstream urine culture, accurately identified most women who had bladder infections with E. coli bacteria, which cause at least three-quarters of infections, the study found.
Risk Factors For A Kidney Infection
There are a few things that can up your risk factor of contracting a kidney infection, according to the Mayo Clinic, and some you have zero control over:
Having avagina. The urethra, that small tube that carries urine out of your body, is shorter in people with vaginas than it is in people with penises. That makes it easier for bacteria to travel from outside your body into the bladder. Your urethra is also close to your vagina and anus, which opens you up to more chances that bacteria from one of those areas will get into your urinary tract.
Having something blocking your urinary tract. That can be anything that slows down the flow of urine or makes it hard for you to fully empty your bladder when you pee, like a kidney stone.
Other potential risk factors include having damage to the nerves around your bladder, using a urinary catheter for the first time, and having a condition like vesicoureteral reflux, which causes urine to flow the wrong way, the Mayo Clinic says.
Ok Got It But Then What Is A Kidney Infection
A kidney infection is, in essence, a UTI that has spread into the kidneys. While this type of infection is rare, its also very dangerous and if youre experiencing any of the following signs of a kidney infection, you should see a doctor immediately:
Upper back or side pain
Fever, shaking or chills
While most kidney infections can be treated simply with an antibiotic, if left untreated, a kidney infection can cause damage to your kidneys, leading to chronic kidney disease. The bacteria could even spread to your bloodstream creating a life-threatening situation.
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Getting Tested For A Uti
Testing for a UTI usually takes place in a doctors office, laboratory, or hospital. Most tests for UTIs involve a urine sample obtained by clean-catch or catheterization. Your doctor can help determine which method is appropriate for you.
- Clean catch urine samples are collected by patients with special precautions to prevent outside germs from getting into the urine sample. Patients are given instructions on obtaining a clean catch sample and avoiding contamination.
- Catheterization involves inserting a thin rubber tube through the urethra into the bladder. When performing this procedure, the urine is collected in a sterile container for testing before removing the catheter.
What Is A Urine Dipstick Test
A urine dipstick test is the quickest way to test urine. It involves dipping a specially treated paper strip into a sample of your urine. This can be done during your appointment with your doctor, midwife or other health professional. The results are usually available within 60-120 seconds. Your sample doesn’t need to be sent to a laboratory for a urine dipstick test, although if the test is abnormal you might need to do another sample to be sent for further testing in a laboratory.
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Blood Tests To Diagnose Kidney Infection
The kidney is one of the vital organs in the human body. It filters waste products of the blood into urine and excretes from the body. Any dysfunction of the kidneys can result in the accumulation of waste products in blood along with excess fluid. Infection is a major cause which can cause acute kidney injury and sometimes can proceed into chronic renal failure.
Prompt diagnosis and treatment are essential to prevent complications which occur due to a chronic kidney infection. Children are more susceptible to develop complications due to kidney infection. This is because post infection induced kidney injury scarring can occur in the developing kidney of the child. In order to minimize the bad outcomes, the clinicians practice many diagnostic blood tests for a kidney infection.
Who’s Most Likely To Get A Kidney Infection
Women and children are most at risk of developing a kidney infection, as well as other urinary tract infections such as cystitis.
In women, the urethra is closer to the anus than in men, making it easier for bacteria from the anus to enter the urethra accidentally. The female urethra is also much shorter than the male urethra . This makes it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder and move into the kidneys.
Other factors can also put you more at risk of developing a kidney infection, including:
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How Do You Know When A Uti Becomes A Kidney Infection
When you do not see a doctor, a urinary tract infection can swiftly turn into a kidney infection, which can be very serious to your long-term health.
Urinary tract infections are one of the most common types of infection, second only to respiratory infections. They account for over 8.3 million visits to hospitals and health care providers each year. An untreated UTI may lead to a kidney infection, this is a potentially life-threatening condition.
Ok So How Do I Make Sure I Never Get A Uti Or A Kidney Infection
As they say, prevention is the best cure! And there are many things you can do to ensure that youre reducing your risk for an infection, and preventing build up from occurring in the kidneys.
Practice good hygiene. Always wipe from front to back, keep your genital area clean, wash before and after sex. Basically, do your best to keep bacteria from even having a chance of getting into the urinary system in the first place.
Drink lots of water. If youre dehydrated, youre not only increasing your chance of a UTI, but youre also decreasing your urine output, meaning that more minerals have a chance to build up and settle in the urinary tract or kidneys.
Make sure to urinate whenever you feel you have to go. Dont hold it in. This concentrates the urine allowing bacteria to build up and spread.
Alter your diet if you find youre prone to kidney stones. Cut down on certain meats and shellfish and opting instead for more vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Avoid consuming too much sugar. Cut back on sodium, and eat more oxalate-rich foods .
And if you do start experiencing any of the symptoms above, be sure to see a doctor right away. UTIs, kidney infections, and kidney stones can usually be treated fairly easily, but its important to seek medical attention before any complications develop.
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Infections Can Also Be Caused By:
- Kidney stones, enlarged prostates, and other conditions that obstruct the urinary tract, preventing proper emptying of urine from the body
- Spinal cord injury and other conditions that prevent you from properly emptying your bladder
- Menopause or medications that alter the hormones in your body, thus changing the bacterial environment in your urinary tract system
- Any condition that suppresses the immune system
- Certain sexually transmitted infections, including chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, and mycoplasma
In rare cases, a virus or fungus can cause UTIs.
How To Diagnose Urinary Tract Infection
A proposed strategy to diagnose UTI is shown in and . The interpretation of urine analysis and culture tests is entirely dependent on the quality of the urine samples submitted for examination and the conditions of transport to the laboratory.
Diagnostic algorithm for symptomatic UTI. CFU/ml, colony-forming units per millilitre of urine.
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What Uti Strip Test Indicators Mean
Studies show that UTI test strips may only be reliable about 30% of the time.
|My urine was visibly cloudy and it burned when I went to pee. My doctor used a UTI test strip in my urine sample and said everything on the test strip was normal. I was told I didnt have an infection even though Ive had UTIs before and I know exactly what they feel like.
Some studies have bluntly concluded that UTI test strips should be abandoned as a tool for the diagnosis of UTIs in patients with lower urinary tract symptoms.
Given the low accuracy of UTI test strips, if the results are negative but you have UTI symptoms, it would generally be recommended that you have a urine culture test done in a lab.
Which brings us to the next problem
Negative Urine Tests With Kidney Infection
I’m a 61 year old woman, generally healthy but have just recently had a kidney infection. This was my second, previous one 2 years ago. First infection came on totally out of the blue with no preceding UTI. This time did have a UTI and stupidly accepted 3 days of Trimethoprim! 3 weeks later after feeling nauseous and exhausted for days, started back pain but it was Friday night! Had to go to emergency doctor who refused to believe it was a kidney infection due to negative urine test Long story short, eventually after 2 days got Cefalexin and have very slowly recovered. Have seen urologist who is concerned by the fact that my urine tests show no infection although he says that from my symptoms I have progressed to septicaemia on both occasion. This has frightened me a lot! Anyone got any advice for me? Please.
0 likes, 8 replies
4 years ago
I’ve recently gone through something similar. It was either a bladder infection or kidney infection , ALL tests come back negative and guess what happened next…an ultrasound months later due to stabbing pain showed my kidney had shrunk significantly in size! I’m really mad about this. I was going to donate a kidney to my mom, as she is likely gonna need one. It’s very unfair. I tried hard to get help for the symptoms, and was diagnosed with IC. Which the bladder does show I have. But still…They said it was likely due to infection.
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Can Kidney Infections Be Prevented
Kidney infections can be prevented by keeping bacteria out of the urinary tract and bladder. Infections in the kidney often start as a lower tract infection in the bladder. By preventing these infections, you may be able to prevent kidney infections.
There are several ways to avoid infection and keep your kidneys healthy. These tips can include:
- Hydration: It is important to drink adequate fluid every day but there is no specific recommendation that applies to every patient.. The amount can change if you have certain medical conditions or live in a particularly hot climate. Talk to your healthcare provider about the recommended amount of water you need each day.
- Urinate completely: When you need to urinate, empty your bladder completely. Holding in your urine can be harmful and can promote the growth of bacteria. Urinating every several hours can help to flush any bacteria out of your body, protecting it from an infection.
- Urinate after having sex: Urinating after sex helps to remove any bacteria that may have gotten into the body. Men and women should both do this to prevent infections.
- Practice good hygiene: Keeping yourself clean can help protect your body from infections. After a bowel movement, wipe from front to back to push bacteria away from the urethra . This is especially important for women.
What Causes Urinary Tract Infections
These bacteria are responsible for about 90% of all uncomplicated urinary tract infections. E. coli are found in the colons of humans and animals and in their fecal waste. When E. coli or other bacteria end up in the urethra, they cause a urinary tract infection.
There are other types of bacteria also known to cause UTIs. According to a study by The National Center for Biotechnology Information the most common bacteria to cause UTIs are:
- Escherichia coli
- Klebsiella pneumoniae
- Streptococcus spp. , Staphylococcus epidermidis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterococci were each found to be the third pathogens in different periods during the two-year study.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Kidney Infection
A number of symptoms can indicate to your doctor that you may have a kidney infection. The more severe the symptoms, the more likely the infection involves the kidney. Symptoms of a kidney infection include:
- Sudden onset of chills
If you experience any of these sudden onset symptoms, please seek medical attention.
What Do Uti Strip Colors Mean
There are several over-the-counter UTI dipstick tests available, and they work much like youd expect: Youre instructed to offer a clean-catch urine sample by holding the provided test strip in your urine stream for a few seconds. After a short wait, the color of the test strip changes to indicate the presence of a possible infection. To ensure the most accurate reading possible, use the test right after you wake up, with urine thats been in your bladder overnight.
While some OTC UTI tests screen for just nitrites , other tests analyze leukocytes , as well. And still others add a pH-level screener, too. This means that for many UTI tests, you will need to look at more than one test pad on a single strip and those results appear at varying times. For instance, your nitrite results may appear a full minute before leukocytes show. Once all results are in, youll need to closely compare the test pads with corresponding color blocks that appear on an included chart. You might notice, for example, that the nitrites box went from white to pink. That means nitrites have been detected, which suggests that you may have a UTI.
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What Do The Colors On A Urine Test Mean
Fluids dilute the yellow pigments in urine, so the more you drink, the clearer your urine looks. When you drink less, the color becomes more concentrated. Severe dehydration can produce urine the color of amber. But urine can turn colors far beyond whats normal, including red, blue, green, dark brown and cloudy white.
How Do Doctors Treat A Kidney Infection
Doctors treat most kidney infections with antibiotics . Doctors will often first prescribe an antibiotic that fights the most common types of kidney infection because it is very important to treat a kidney infection right away. Then, they may change the type of antibiotic after they get the results of your blood or urine tests.
Doctors will prescribe an antibiotic medicine based on:
- What type of bacteria is causing the infection
- How severe the infection is
- If you are you are pregnant
- If you are older than 65
- If you had problems from certain antibiotics in the past, such as allergic reactions
If you have a very serious infection, you may need to stay in the hospital to get antibiotics through an IV . You may also get medicine for pain.
If your kidney infection was caused by a problem with the shape of your urinary tract, you may need to have surgery to correct the problem and prevent future kidney infections.
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The Role Of Uti Testing
UTI testing may be performed if a doctor suspects a UTI based on a patients symptoms and a physical examination. Laboratory tests can diagnose or rule out UTIs. UTI testing can also identify the bacteria or other microbes that are causing the infection, which helps doctors decide how to best treat the infection.
Can A Doctor Diagnose A Uti Without An In
A healthcare provider can definitely diagnose a UTI without seeing you in person. In fact, this is how telemedicine works, and it is a safe and effective way to treat basic UTIs. There are many good telemedicine options you can use including GoodRx Care .
If you are a healthy, non-pregnant woman with typical UTI symptoms, you may just need to talk to a provider to get a diagnosis and treatment. This can be done with a phone call to your provider or through a telemedicine visit. If youre going to start antibiotics, you can usually pick up antibiotics at your pharmacy on the same day.
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