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Diagnosis of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. Your answers and a physical exam may point to a UTI.
You will be asked to give a clean catch urine sample. A lab will check it for certain bacteria.
Male Urinary System
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You may need these urine tests:
  • Dipstick—A coated stick is dipped into the urine sample. It changes color based on the what is found. It may find blood, pus, bacteria, or other agents. This can be done in a doctor's office.
  • Urinalysis—A lab looks for blood, pus, and bacteria under a microscope. This is a more useful way of finding a UTI.
  • Culture and sensitivity—A sample is sent to a lab to see if bacteria will grow. This helps find which bacteria is causing problems.
Other tests may be needed:
  • For children and men who have a UTI
  • To look for structural problems
  • To rule out other causes
These tests may be:


Bacterial urinary tract infections (UTIs). Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/genitourinary-disorders/urinary-tract-infections-utis/bacterial-urinary-tract-infections-utis. Updated June 2018. Accessed September 20, 2018.
Complicated urinary tract infections (UTI). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114928/Complicated-urinary-tract-infection-UTI. Updated April 18, 2018. Accessed September 20, 2018.
Cystitis and upper urinary tract infections (UTI) in men. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T904748/Cystitis-and-upper-urinary-tract-infections-UTI-in-men. Updated April 18, 2018. Accessed September 20, 2018.
Diagnosis. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/bladder-infection-uti-in-adults/diagnosis. Updated March 2017. Accessed September 20, 2018.
Uncomplicated urinary tract infection (UTI) (pyelonephritis and cystitis). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116894/Uncomplicated-urinary-tract-infection-UTI-pyelonephritis-and-cystitis. Updated June 4, 2018. Accessed September 20, 2018.
Urinary tract infections in adults. Urology Care Foundation website. Available at: https://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/urinary-tract-infections-in-adults. Accessed September 20, 2018.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD
  • Review Date: 09/2018
  • Update Date: 09/20/2018
Article written by Carmack A