Diagnosis of Urinary Tract Infection

The primary tool in diagnosing an uncomplicated bladder infection is a urinalysis, or analysis of a urine sample you provide to your doctor. This looks at the color and clarity (clearness) of your urine, and tests for the presence of bacteria and white blood cells, cells that indicate that your body is trying to fight an infection. In most cases, this test is sufficient to diagnose an infection and start treatment. In some cases, your doctor may send the sample for a urine culture, a test to determine which bacteria is in your urine (usually e. coli).

Women with symptoms of a kidney infection may undergo additional tests. These may also be performed in women with recurrent bladder infections or complicated urinary tract infection. The purpose of these tests is to exclude obstruction of the kidneys (blockage of urine flow), abnormalities in kidney anatomy and any more serious infections that may not respond to typical antibiotics. These tests include:

  • Ultrasound – Ultrasound is a medical imaging test that uses sound waves to create pictures of the internal structures of the body. Ultrasound can be helpful in diagnosing renal stones and renal obstruction (blockage of the outflow of urine)
  • CT (Computed Tomography) – A CT scan is a special kind of x-ray study that creates detailed cross-sectional images of the body. It can be used to diagnose renal stones, structural abnormalities of the kidneys, renal obstruction and renal infection