How are urinary tract infections (UTIs) diagnosed?

Your doctor will use the following tests to diagnose a urinary tract infection:

  • Urinalysis: This test will examine the urine for red blood cells, white blood cells and bacteria. The number of white and red blood cells found in your urine can actually indicate an infection.
  • Urine culture: A urine culture is used to determine the type of bacteria in your urine. This is an important test because it helps determine the appropriate treatment.

If your infection does not respond to treatment or if you keep getting infections over and over again, your doctor may use the following tests to examine your urinary tract for disease or injury:

  • Ultrasound: In this test, sound waves create an image of the internal organs. This test is done on top of your skin, is painless and doesn’t typically need any preparation.
  • Cystoscopy: This test uses a special instrument fitted with a lens and a light source (cystoscope) to see inside the bladder from the urethra.
  • CT scan: Another imaging test, a CT scan is a type of X-ray that takes cross sections of the body (like slices). This test is much more precise than typical X-rays.

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