What Diagnostic Tests Your Doctor May Do For UTI

If symptoms are suggestive of UTI, your doctor may ask for various tests for confirmation of diagnosis and for guidance of appropriate treatment.

  • Routine urine analysis: your doctor may ask for routine lab test for urine analysis to ascertain if there are red blood cells, white blood cells or bacteria in urine, which are indicative of infection and UTI. It is important to remember that urine should be collected properly for urine analysis, because collection of urine in wrong way may give wrong or false positive result, which may lead to wrong treatment. For collection of urine (for urine analysis), collect a sample collection sterile bottle from the lab. The first morning urine (immediately after getting up in the morning urine should be collected) sample should be collected. Collect mid-stream urine sample. For this, allow some urine to pass and then collect the urine in adequate volume (as instructed by the lab from where you collected the sample bottle) before you finish urination. If the first urine is collected, it may be contaminated from the normal commensals present in urethra and urinary orifice. Do not clean genital area with soap or any disinfectant, before collecting urine sample.
  • Urine culture and antibiotic sensitivity test: your doctor may ask the urine to be cultured to identify the causative agent. Your doctor may also ask to test for antibiotic sensitivity test for prescribing appropriate antibiotics, which may take approximately 48 hours. Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic (depending on the antibiotic sensitivity pattern in your locality and the organism involved in UTI, which can be easily identified in short time) before the result of urine culture and antibiotic sensitivity test is known, if your symptoms are severe and adjust the antibiotics if required after the test result is known.

  • Imaging: your doctor may ask for various imaging such as X-ray, ultrasound, CT scan or IVP (intravenous pyelogram), especially if your doctor suspect you to have some anatomical abnormality, because you may be suffering from repeated UTIs.
  • Cystoscopy: your doctor may advice for cystoscopy, which is direct visualization of bladder and urethra using a cystoscope. Cystoscope is a long thin tube with a lens, which is passed into urethra and bladder for direct visualization.

Treatment of UTIs usually given after identifying the causative bacteria and after doing bacterial culture and antibiotic sensitivity test. The most suitable antibiotic is prescribed for treatment of UTIs based on antibiotic sensitivity test of urine sample from the patient. Uncomplicated UTI usually clears with 3-4 days treatment, but complicated UTIs and upper urinary tract infection such as acute pyelonephritis may require treatment for more than a week.

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