Urine test for UTI objects on a blue background

How Is a UTI Diagnosed?

By Audrey Cabanel
November 16, 2023

So you’ve got all the symptoms of a UTI but are not sure how a UTI gets diagnosed. Well, there are many ways to know if you have a UTI. The faster you know, the faster you can treat it and get relief!

Is a UTI Easy to Diagnose?

  • First off if you have any of these symptoms, the chances are you probably have a UTI:
  • A need to pee more often than usual.
  • Pain or discomfort when peeing.
  • Sudden urges to pee.
  • Feeling as though you're unable to empty your bladder fully.
  • Pain low down in your tummy.
  • Urine that's cloudy, foul-smelling, or contains blood.
  • Feeling generally unwell, achy, and tired.

You can also check out our Symptoms Quiz, which will ask you a series of questions to help you and a provider understand whether or not you may have a UTI, and get you the treatment you need. In general, urinary tract infections are fairly easy to diagnose, as their symptoms are very clear and particular to UTIs.

If you want to be sure you have a UTI you can get it diagnosed by a physician as well. The test they will carry out is a urine test that checks if bacteria or white blood cells are present in your pee. They might also culture your urine sample to check if it has an environment in which bacteria can grow or develop. Lastly, if you suffer from recurrent UTIs, it may be a good idea to consult your physician and get a kidney or bladder ultrasound, to make sure there is not an infection in any of those places.

Where Is UTI Pain Felt?

When you’ve got a UTI the pain is pretty distinct and uncomfortable. Sometimes you can get confused as to what kind of pain is UTI pain, and what are period or stomach cramps. That’s why we're here, to clarify things and put your mind at ease. If you have UTI you may feel pain in your in your pelvic area. It will feel like something is pushing on your bladder, and that you constantly feel the need to pee, even if there is no urine to release.

Another common place to feel pain (from a UTI) is when you are peeing, you will feel a burning sensation in your urethra. It’s important to note that if you feel pain in your upper back on one side or the other, this could mean your UTI has become a kidney infection. In this case, you should consult your physician immediately to get quick treatment.

How Do You Know if a Urine Sample Tests Positive for UTI?

If you choose to do an at-home urine test to be 100% sure you have a UTI there are 2 kinds of tests. The first one tests pH levels in your pee. The normal pH of urine is usually between 4.5 to 8. If the pH of your sample is 8.5 to 9 it indicates that there is an infection. The second test checks for leukocytes and nitrites—if the test turns a certain color it means white blood cells are present in your urine, meaning you have a UTI.

You can be checked by your physician or gynecologists that detect a UTI by checking if there is a pathogen that has caused an infection in your urine sample. Tests that are conducted by physicians are usually more reliable than at-home tests. As mentioned above, if you are having recurrent UTIs it may be necessary to get an ultrasound, CT, or MRI scan to allow a doctor to check for abnormality in your urinary tract. Better be safe than sorry!

What About UTIs and Pregnancy?

It is more common for pregnant women to contract a UTI, and here’s why. The fetus is putting pressure on the bladder and urinary tract, trapping bacteria, and causing urine to leak out of the urethra. Pregnant women often experience ureteral dilation, which simply means the urethra is expanding during pregnancy, which allows for more bacteria to go into the urethra and grow. Also, the high level of sugar and hormones in pregnant women’s urine encourages the growth of harmful bacteria, leading to the development of a UTI. Although getting a UTI during pregnancy is more likely it is important to treat it quickly and take the necessary precautions to avoid it during pregnancy.

So what now? Now you know the symptoms, tests, and processes to diagnose a UTI. It’s okay to feel a little scared, but that’s why we are here. To help you better understand that a) it happens to everybody and b) how to treat it and prevent it from coming back.

What’s the Fastest UTI Treatment?

Okay, so you’ve figured out that you do have a UTI? Fear not! There are many ways to treat a UTI that are quick and effective. The fastest and most effective way to treat a UTI is antibiotics. Usually, you are prescribed these after a consultation with a doctor, and you will start to feel better quickly after you start your course.

Even if your symptoms clear up, it’s important to finish all your antibiotics to avoid antibiotic resistance and keep your infection from coming back. We know that waiting in a doctor’s office for hours to get a prescription and some much-needed relief can feel like a nightmare, that’s why we are here. We can connect you to a Wisp doctor and have a prescription sent to your local pharmacy in 3 hours or less.

What Causes UTIs?

Essentially people get UTIs when they get the wrong bacteria, like E. Coli, in the urethra causing an infection in the urinary tract. Causes like sexual activity, dehydration, holding in pee for a very long time, or hormone changes, for example, can lead to getting a UTI. Having sex can cause bacteria to enter your urethra, so urinating right after fun will help remove that bacteria. Also, having urine sit in your bladder for a long time creates the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive, so it's important to pee when you need to.

Staying hydrated is always the way to go, but especially for your bladder’s health. It allows the urine to be more diluted and have less bacteria concentration. It’s all about keeping the bad bacteria away from your urethra, to ensure a happy and healthy environment. The same goes when it comes to wiping. Especially for people with vaginas, the urethra is closer to the rectum so if you wipe back to front, there’s a higher chance bacteria can go inside the urethra. And even if you get a UTI, Wisp is here for you always.

How Do I Prevent UTIs?

It may seem like UTIs are inevitable and no one is safe from them, but truth be told there are straightforward ways to prevent them. If the following steps are taken, you can lower your chances of getting a UTI:

  • Peeing after sex
  • Taking showers instead of baths
  • Limiting douching, powders, or sprays in the genital area
  • Wiping front to back
  • Staying hydrated

It is also really helpful to maintain the pH in the vagina and keep its flora healthy to keep a natural balance. Our Boric Acid suppositories do just that! They are safe and help prevent recurring infections when used right after sex or on the last day of your period.

Another way to maintain good vaginal health is by taking probiotics, and who doesn’t love a good probiotic? This super pill that you take daily, helps support a strong immune system and vaginal health. Especially when taking antibiotics, it's super important to stay on track and prevent recurrent UTIs.

How Do I Know if it’s a UTI or an STI?

A common worry is how to differentiate between a UTI and STI. Although they all affect your fun parts, they are different infections, and we are here to explain this. The one symptom (which is a pretty significant one) is burning or pain when peeing. However, STIs have other symptoms that differ from those of a UTI, such as:

  • Pain during sex
  • Sore throat
  • Genital blisters, rashes, or sores.
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Spotting between periods

If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should contact your physician or connect with a Wisp provider to get access to STI treatment and relief. When it comes to contracting an STI vs a UTI, a common misconception is that you can pass both during sex. While you can get an STI through sexual intercourse and transmit it to someone else during sex, a UTI is different. A UTI is caused by the wrong bacteria entering the urethra, which can occur during sex. However, if you have a UTI you cannot give it to someone else via sexual activity. Anyone can get a UTI if they don’t clear out the bacteria by peeing after sex, but it can’t be passed on.

We know this is a lot of information, but think of us as your sexual health bestie. We’ve got answers, treatments,- and lots of love. So connect with a Wisp provider today and look that UTI dead in the eye!

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