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UTI Diagnostic Tests and Dipsticks

Dipsticks aren't for everyone

· UTIs,Health

How do I confirm that I have a UTI?

After suffering from bladder pain, frequent urination, and dark or cloudy urine, you’ll to know what’s wrong. Some people will go to the doctor, while others, especially those who have had UTIs in the past, will use an at-home dipstick to diagnose themselves. Either method can tell you what’s wrong, but dipsticks are often seen as a quicker fix for detecting UTIs, especially as the UTIs become more chronic.

How do dipsticks work?

Most pharmacies sell dipsticks. Users simply dip the dipstick into a cup of urine and notice particular color changes on the dipstick. A pack of dipsticks comes with a chart that corresponds the changes in urine to particular colors.

A dipstick has up to 10 reagents or mixtures that change color in the presence of certain chemicals. All of these substances relate to different features of urine, such as pH and the presence or absence of leukocytes and nitrites. Nitrites indicate that there is E. coli in the urinary tract, often a cause of UTIs. Leukocytes are white blood cells that fight off infections. The bacteria present in UTI-positive urine makes the urine itself basic.

Dipsticks Aren’t for Everybody

Not everyone can use dipsticks to see if they have a UTI or not. It is difficult for infants in diapers to pee into a cup, and parents must resort to squeezing urine from a diaper. For incontinent adults who wear adult briefs or pull-ups, collecting a urine sample in a cup is a similar challenge. Sometimes, the path to the answer is more complex.

It becomes even more difficult to detect UTIs in incontinent adults with forms of cognitive decline such as dementia. Though older adults both with and without dementia exhibit unusual UTI symptoms, such as falling, and increased confusion and agitation, people with dementia often struggle to articulate their symptoms. Oftentimes, these unusual symptoms make caregivers and loved ones assume that the person with dementia is experiencing dementia symptoms or a stroke, rather than a UTI.

People with dementia, many of whom are incontinent, also struggle to provide a urine sample by peeing in a cup. A dipstick test would be exceedingly difficult to use in this case.

What can you do if your loved one keeps getting UTIs, but you can’t use regular testing devices to diagnose him or her? Pixie Smart Pads can be the solution.

Pixie and UTI Monitoring

Pixie Smart Pads are not diagnostic tools. Instead, they monitor for the onset of a UTI. It is worth distinguishing monitoring from detection when considering the chronic nature of UTIs, especially as they appear in older, incontinent adults.

To monitor for the onset of a UTI is to find substances in urine that indicate a risk for UTIs. In other words, these signals can be present even before the person has the UTI itself. The person may not yet feel or express any symptoms, but could be close to experiencing the more severe symptoms of UTIs.

With Pixie Smart Pads, the wearer must wear a Pixie Smart Pad twice per week so that there is a constant stream of information sent to the Pixie nurse. The Pixie monitoring system looks for nitrites in urine, which means an infection may be near. Individuals can subsequently hydrate or be closely monitored for UTI symptoms. In this way, they can break the cycle of chronic UTIs.

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