How to read UTI test strip results | Uqora®

How to read UTI test strip results

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Written by: Dr. Katherine Klos, MD

Clarify from Uqora is an at-home diagnostic (UTI test strip) that detects substances in the urine commonly present with a UTI, nitrites and leukocytes. However, sometimes, it can be hard to tell — is a UTI present or not? Here we explore, how UTI test strips work, and how to help read your results.

A UTI can be a painful reminder of your urinary tract. Most days, a bathroom break is a welcome reprieve from a powerpoint, email or a two year old (if you can lock the bathroom door fast enough).

When bacteria colonizes the bladder, the discomfort of bladder fullness, burning with urination and the hyperactive need to urinate are anything but a break. If only bodies were straightforward, there would be an obvious sign for a looming UTI. Wouldn’t it be nice if your urine turned purple with infection? There would be no denying a UTI with urine the color of grape soda.

Unfortunately, UTIs are not so simple, and trying to decipher UTI symptoms from bladder irritation, dehydration or hormonal changes, just to name a few, can be difficult. Enter — Clarify from Uqora.

What is Clarify?

Clarify is an at-home diagnostic (UTI test strip) that detects substances in the urine commonly present with a UTI. While the results of Clarify are important to understand, you need to set yourself up for success and administer the test correctly.

  1. First, wash your hands
  2. Open the Clarify test strip (don’t touch the pads at the end of the strip)
  3. After 1-2 seconds of voiding, position the Clarify test strip into the urine stream to wet the strip on the pads
  4. Remove Clarify from your urine stream and place on a flat surface
  5. Finish emptying your bladder
  6. Wait 2 minutes to see your results
  7. Bing, times up! now what do we have?

The Clarify strips are designed to detect two substances in the urine:

  1. Leukocyte esterase
  2. Nitrites

Leukocyte esterase (LE) is an enzyme or protein produced by the lysis, or breakdown of white blood cells (WBC’s). WBCs are associated with inflammation and fighting infection, thus are commonly present with a UTI.

On the Clarify package, there is a color-coded range to help you decipher your test strip results. The top panel is testing for leukocytes and the bottom panel is testing for nitrites. If both pads are purple in color, this is a clear indicator that a UTI is most likely present.

Detecting white blood cells (WBC)

The first line on the Clarify diagnostic strip detects the absence, presence or abundance of WBC’s in the urine.

The detection is depicted as a color change from white to pink on the test strip. A white color is noting lack of LE and bright pink is consistent with elevated levels of WBC.

The color spectrum from white to pink on the test strip correlates with varying levels of LE. WBCs can also be present in the urine with viral infections, kidney stones, medications, and even after exercise.

Detecting nitrites

Nitrites are compounds produced when certain bacteria containing the enzyme nitrate reductase break down urea (a nitrate waste product). An important point of clarification, nitrites are not nitrates. Nitrates are waste products normally found in the urine, but nitrites are not. The second line of the Clarify diagnostic strip detects the absence, presence or abundance of nitrites in the urine as reflected in the color change from white to purple.

A white color denotes no detection of nitrites and deep purple is consistent with elevated nitrites. Again, the color spectrum from white to pink on the test strip correlates with varying levels of nitrites.

The best detection of nitrites occurs when the urine has been in the bladder for approximately 4 hours. It is important to note that the nitrite test strip can change color with exposure to air and from urine dyes common in over the counter products used to treat UTI symptoms. Additionally, a low nitrate diet can make it difficult to detect nitrites in the urine.

How do I know if I have a UTI after using Clarify?

Research has shown that there is a 98% sensitivity for UTI with detection of both nitrites and LE, which makes Clarify strips an effective at home diagnostic test. Just as each bladder is unique, UTIs vary widely, and it is always important to seek medical care for diagnosis and treatment. Clarify diagnostic strips help to clear the path on your journey to understand your whole body and participate in your health.

To help, see below a sampling of some use-cases with Clarify. As always, if there is any trace indication on either pad on a test strip, it's recommended to notify your physician and seek proper treatment.

Image #1: UTI is most likely present

Top panel: positive for LE

Bottom panel: positive for nitrite

Results: An infection is most likely present. Both pads are clearly in the purple range, indicating the high likelihood a UTI is present. Consult with a doctor ASAP for treatment.

Image #2: likely a UTI is present

Top panel: positive for LE

Bottom panel: negative for nitrite

Results: An infection may be present. If LE is detected in the urine, it is usually a sign that the body has inflammation and is fighting infection. A negative nitrite result does not rule out a UTI. Consult with a doctor for treatment.

Image #3: no UTI detected

Top panel: negative for LE

Bottom panel: negative for nitrite

Results: It's likely no UTI is present based on your urine results. However, if you are feeling symptoms of a UTI, it's still important to speak with your doctor and continue to re-test. Note: a negative test result does not completely rule out an infection.

Note: this guide is not intended to replace medical advice. If you have any symptoms of a UTI, it is recommended to reach out to your physician for treatment.

References

1. Lancet Infect Dis. 2010;10[4]:240.

About the author

Dr. Katherine Klos is a board-certified urologist practicing in Washington, DC and a Uqora Medical Advisor. She completed her medical training at the University of Alabama and her urology residency at The George Washington University. Since graduating residency in 2012, she has developed a practice that focuses on pelvic health for both male and female patients. Dr. Klos understands the multidimensional aspects of urologic care and believes in a partnership approach to help her patients reach their goals through traditional medical therapeutics and overall wellness strategies. Dr. Klos is also active in research and developing technologies, and she serves in an advisory role at the FDA. Outside of patient care, Dr. Klos is a talented pastry chef and enjoys spending time with her three young children.  

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