Screening for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
The purpose of screening is early diagnosis and treatment. Screening tests are usually administered to people without current symptoms, but who may be at high risk for certain diseases or conditions.
Screening tests for
urinary tract infection
- Urine dip—This test is often done 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 very quick, general test.
- Microscopic urinalysis—The urine is examined under a microscope for the presence and quantity of such things as red blood cells, white blood cells (pus), bacteria, etc. This is a more accurate way to diagnose a urinary tract infection.
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, like during well-child check-ups and other routine adult physical exams.
American Foundation for Urologic Disease. Urinary tract infections in adults. American Urological Association Foundation website. Available at:
. Accessed July 31, 2010.
Griffith’s 5-Minute Clinical Consult.
Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2001.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Urinary tract infections in adults. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at:
. Published December 2005. Accessed July 31, 2010.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Adrienne Carmack, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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