navigation Menu
flower bullet

New Tests Prove More Accurate in Diagnosing UTIs

March 8, 2016 | Mary South, MD, MHA

Six million patient visits per year are attributed to women with UTI symptoms. Urinary urgency, frequency and pain drive women of all ages to see their primary care physicians, Urologists or OB/GYNs. However, not all of these women test positive for UTIs.

UTIs are typically diagnosed through a simple urine culture to identify the presence (or lack) of UTI-causing bacteria, but not all patients who have symptoms of a UTI have bacteria found on a urine culture.  However, with so many symptomatic women and so few positive test results, physicians have come to question the validity of negative test results. In some cases, patients with negative test results have experienced relief on antibiotics. Clearly something is amiss.

Researchers from Loyola University recently presented their data on a new type of urine culture: expanded quantitative urine culture (EQUC). When compared with the standard urine culture, researchers determined that the EQUC was able to identify infection in more samples than the standard culture method.

The benefit of this research is that doctors have become more suspicious of negative cultures. While they can rely on the accuracy of positive test results, negative results no longer guarantee that a patient does not have an infection.  Doctors are, subsequently, more likely to treat women’s symptoms instead of relying on a positive culture. Furthermore, physicians may also be less likely to pursue further invasive work-ups looking for other sources of the patient’s symptoms.

Although, EQUC is not yet widely available, it will not be long before more accurate testing for UTI’s becomes available. Ask your doctor what type of culture is available and how to treat the symptoms, even if your culture turns up negative.

Find more articles on Urinary Tract Infections