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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. The urine will be assessed for specific bacteria that indicate the presence of an infection.

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:

Revision Information

  • Uncomplicated urinary tract infection (UTI) (pyelonephritis and cystitis). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated August 23, 2014. Accessed September 17, 2014.

  • Urinary tract infections in adults. American Urological Association Foundation website. Available at: Accessed September 17, 2014.

  • Urinary tract infections in adults. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: Updated May 24, 2012. Accessed September 17, 2014.

The health information in this Health Library is provided by a third party. TriStar Health does not in any way create the content of this information. It is provided solely for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for proper medical care provided by a physician. Always consult with your doctor for appropriate examinations, treatment, testing, and care recommendations. Do not rely on information on this site as a tool for self-diagnosis. If you have a medical emergency, call 911.