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Screening for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

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The purpose of screening is early diagnosis and treatment. Screening tests are usually given to people without current symptoms, but who may be at high risk for certain diseases or conditions.

Screening Tests

Screening tests for urinary tract infection (UTI) include:

  • Urine dip—This test is often done in your doctor’s office. A dipstick coated with special chemicals is dipped into the urine sample. Areas on it change color to indicate the presence of blood, pus, bacteria, or other materials. This is a quick, general test.
  • Microscopic urinalysis—The urine is examined under a microscope for the presence and quantity of materials such as red blood cells, white blood cells (pus), and bacteria. This is a more accurate way to diagnose a urinary tract infection.

Screening Guidelines

There is no consensus as to whether healthy people should be screened for UTIs. At this point, it is common practice to regularly screen pregnant women in their first trimester of pregnancy. Some doctors also screen patients with diabetes for UTIs.

In fact, urine dip tests and urinalysis are frequently done as screening tests for conditions other than UTIs, such as during well-child check-ups and other routine adult physical exams.

Revision Information

  • Urinary tract infections in adults. American Urological Association Foundation website. Available at: http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=47 . Updated March 2013. 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/ . Published May 24, 2013. Accessed August 22, 2013.