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 urethra with wipes. This area is the tip of the penis in men and between the labia in women. Then, you will begin urinating in the toilet, then stop and continue urinating into a sterile specimen cup.
Male Urinary System
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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 quick, but general, test.
- Microscopic urinalysis—The urine is examined under a microscope for the presence and quantity of things such as red blood cells, white blood cells (pus), and bacteria. 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. When 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 needed 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 have further testing.
Such testing may include:
Urinary tract infections in adults. American Urological Association Foundation website. Available at:
http://www.urologyhealth.org/. Updated January 2011. Accessed August 22, 2013.
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/. Updated May 24, 2012. Accessed August 22, 2013.
Last reviewed September 2013 by Adrienne Carmack, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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