Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How does a doctor test for a bladder infection?"
I was telling my mother about some symptoms I've been having and she thinks I have a bladder infection. How does a doctor test for a bladder infection? Is it a blood test?
I am sorry that you seem to be having urinary symptoms. You should see your primary care provider to discuss your symptoms and to evaluate a urine sample. Urinary tract infections (UTIs), also known as acute cystitis or acute bladder infection, are fairly common, especially in women and account for more than 6 million doctor visits a year just in the United States. They can present with urinary symptoms such as pain or burning with urination (dysuria), urgency, increased frequency, and the need to urinate at night (nocturia). Sometimes, pain can spread to your abdominal sides and to your back. When the infection starts to extend to your kidneys, you can develop pyelonephritis (kidney infection) and may develop other symptoms such as fever, increased back pain, and fatigue. UTIs are usually diagnosed based on symptoms and on a clean catch urine sample. The urine sample is analyzed under a microscope to evaluate for signs of infection and then it is cultured for 24-48 hours. If there is an infection present, then there will be evidence on the microscopic sample and on the culture. The culture can actually tell your doctor the exact bacteria and the best antibiotics to treat the bacteria. If your symptoms are consistent with an acute bladder or urinary tract infection, a blood test is unlikely to be required. You should follow up with your primary care physician to discuss your symptoms and to evaluate a urine sample.
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