Reasons Your Negative Uti Test Could Be Wrong
Lets just put it out there that if you have received negative results for a urine culture, but you still have symptoms, it is very possible you have a UTI. Unfortunately, these testing issues can add another layer of confusion and uncertainty when seeking answers.
This happens very frequently, and we can help explain why below. Its also a good idea to have an understanding of how a standard urine culture works.
Oh My Aching Bladder: Is It A Uti Or Ic
OH MY ACHING BLADDER: IS IT A UTI OR IC?
One in five women will have at least one urinary tract infection in her lifetime, according to the National Kidney Foundation. And, if youve ever had a urinary tract infection, you are all too familiar with the burning urination and constant feeling of needing to go to the bathroom. But, did you know that some of the symptoms of a UTI are similar or the same as symptoms women experience when they have interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome? How is a woman to know if its a UTI or painful bladder syndrome?
What is a Urinary Tract Infection ?
A UTI is an infection of the urinary tract, most commonly affecting the bladder and the urethra . When bacteria gets into the urethra and travels to the bladder, a UTI is often the result. With a UTI, the bladder lining also becomes red, swollen and inflamed.
Common symptoms of a UTI include:
- Urinary urgency or the feeling that you need to urinate often. You may have to run to the bathroom several times per hour only to find you urinate only a few drops.
- A burning sensation when urinating.
- Abdominal pain, pelvic pressure and/or lower back pain. You may experience lower abdominal discomfort, bloating and/or feel pressure in the lower pelvic area, especially when urinating.
- Blood in the urine. Urine can appear to have a reddish or dark orange tiny, which signifies blood in the urine from the infection.
- Cloudy urine that has an odor
- Fever and/or chills
What Is Asymptomatic Bacteriuria
When a significant number of bacteria show up in the urine, this is called “bacteriuria.” Finding bacteria in the urine can mean there is an infection somewhere in the urinary tract. The urinary tract is the system that includes:
- The kidneys, which make urine
- The ureters thin tubes connecting the kidneys to the bladder
- The bladder, where urine can be stored
- The urethra the final pathway to move urine from the bladder to outside the body.
In asymptomatic bacteriuria, large numbers of bacteria are present in the urine. However, the person has no symptoms of a urinary tract infection . It is not clear why the bacteria don’t cause symptoms. It may be that asymptomatic bacteriuria is caused by weaker bacteria. The condition does not always need to be treated.
Asymptomatic bacteriuria is most common in:
- Elderly women
Asymptomatic bacteriuria does not cause any symptoms.
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Things That Can Cause Symptoms That Feel Like A Uti And What To Do About It
There’s pain, bloating, and burning when you pee. Staying near the toilet all day feels like a necessity because even if you just went, it feels as if you have to go again. And yet, the urine test at your doctor’s office comes back negative for a urinary tract infection.
Plenty of women each year are faced with this conundrum. It’s frustrating and obviously uncomfortable, causing you to lose faith in your gyno. However, one thing that doctors often fail to tell their patients is that there are a number of other conditions that sometimes mimic certain symptoms of a UTI. It’s easy to jump to something like “kidney failure,” but here are the most common conditions you could be dealing with.
Is There A Test That Can Tell Me If I Have A Uti
Diagnosing a UTI involves testing your urine . This can be done in the doctors office or lab, and it looks for bacteria, white blood cells, and red blood cells in the urine.
This test is sometimes followed by a urine culture, which sees what bacteria are actually growing in the urinary tract and helps your healthcare provider select the best treatment.
If you have complicated or frequent UTIs, your healthcare provider may order additional tests. These include a study to see your urinary tract or a cystoscopy, which is a small tube to see inside the urethra and bladder.
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How To Tell The Difference Between Asymptomatic Bacteriuria And A Uti
By definition, in asymptomatic bacteriuria, there should be no UTI symptoms present.
The following signs and symptoms can be caused by UTI:
- Burning or pain with urination
- Increased frequency or urgency of urination
- Bloody urine
- Pain in the low abdomen, flank, or even back
30103-7/fulltext?rss=yes” rel=”nofollow”> Cloudy, Foul-Smelling Urine Not a Criteria for Diagnosis of Urinary Tract Infection in Older Adults.)
Whether or not an older person has a clinical UTI, the urine dipstick may be abnormal, in part because certain abnormal results suggestive of UTI may in fact only reflect bacterial colonization of the bladder. So one should not rely on urine dipsticks or related urine analysis tests as the sole justification for diagnosing a UTI. Symptoms are necessary!
The thing is, some older adults may only show vague or non-specific symptoms when they get a UTI, such as confusion or weakness. This is especially true of seniors who are frail, or are quite old, or have Alzheimers or another dementia.
For this reason, it can be difficult to determine whether a frail or cognitively impaired older person is having UTI symptoms that warrant treatment.
Experts are currently debating whether its justified to treat for possible UTI, for those cases in which an older person with asymptomatic bacteriuria shows signs of delirium, but no other UTI symptoms.
Causes Of The Uti That Isnt
Many women may be familiar with the problems of recurrent/frequent urinary tract infections , or even apparent UTI symptoms for which no bacterial infection can be found. This later condition, which one urologist likes to call The UTI That Isnt can be especially frustrating. Lets talk about the possible causes of The UTI That Isnt.
Urethral SyndromeWhile the symptoms of frequency/urgency/pain are present in almost all true UTIs, 30-50% of patients with these symptoms do not have significant bacteria in their urine . However, many of those without bacteria may have white blood cells in their urine. This likely reflects the presence of other infections which may not be bacterial. The presence of white blood cells, no bacteria, and UTI symptoms is the one common description of urethral syndrome.
Once an organism is identified appropriate medications can be given. In a treatment study for chlamydia of the urethra , researchers determined that women may require longer duration of antibiotic dosing than used for vaginal/cervical chlamydia . If urethral symptoms had been present for three weeks or longer, better cure rates were achieved with six days of azythromycin 500mg/day or fourteen days of doxycycline 100mg/twice a day. For those with Ureaplasma, the best dose was also an extended duration of azithromycin 500mg/day for six days.
Whats the bottom line?
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My Experience With Unexplained Bladder Pain
When I wrote this article in 2012, I had just recovered after suffering from very distressing urinary symptoms for months. I was going to the bathroom every ten minutes, and the only time I felt better was when I was actually peeing. I could not sleep at all, I was mentally distraught and was struggling to function in my daily life.
While I was suffering, I was desperately searching the Internet for some kind of advice. I had to really dig deep to get anything at all. That is what prompted me to write this article.
I am happy to see that now there is actually some advice available from medical websites such as Web MD. I hope this means that doctors are better informed about this problem and that it is leading to better medical care and less suffering. Still, I think it is helpful to hear about the experience from a patient who has been through it and recovered. The doctor’s don’t know what you are going through, but I do.
Some of the subjects I will cover are:
- Symptom relief
- The causes of urinary problems
- Where to turn for help
- What to eat and which foods to avoid
- Supplements I used
Many people have read this article, and many have left their stories in the comments section, where you will find lots of helpful advice. If you are currently suffering, I hope you find something here that will lighten your burden.
What Is Interstitial Cystitis/bladder Pain Syndrome
Interstitial cystitis /bladder pain syndrome is a chronic bladder health issue. It is a feeling of pain and pressure in the bladder area. Along with this pain are lower urinary tract symptoms which have lasted for more than 6 weeks, without having an infection or other clear causes.
Symptoms range from mild to severe. For some patients the symptoms may come and go, and for others they don’t go away. IC/BPS is not an infection, but it may feel like a bladder infection. Women with IC/BPS may feel pain when having sex. The more severe cases of IC/BPS can affect your life and your loved ones. Some people with IC/BPS have other health issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and other pain syndromes.
The bladder and kidneys are part of the urinary system, the organs in our bodies that make, store, and pass urine. You have 2 kidneys that make urine. Then urine is stored in the bladder. The muscles in the lower part of your abdomen hold your bladder in place.
How the Urinary System Works
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Supportive Therapies And Treatments
Some people also find the following therapies and supportive treatments helpful:
- physiotherapy massaging the pelvic floor muscles may help reduce any strain on your bladder
- bladder retraining where you gradually learn to be able to hold more pee in your bladder before needing to go to the toilet
- psychological therapy to help you cope with your symptoms and their impact on your life
- transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation where a small battery-operated device is used to relieve pain by sending electrical impulses into your body
What Is A Uti Anyway
A UTI, or urinary tract infection, happens when bacteria enters into any part of your urinary system, which includes the urethra, the bladder, the kidneys or the uterus. If not flushed out of the system, the bacteria can lead to an infection, or a UTI.
If youve ever had a UTI , you probably havent forgotten the symptoms. UTIs are very unpleasant, to say the least, and are often accompanied with one or more of the following:
A burning sensation when urinating
A strong urge to urinate often, usually passing only small amounts of urine at a time.
Cloudy and/or strong smelling urine
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Negative Urine Culture Test Wrong
A gold standard test in medicine is believed to be the right and the best way to diagnose a disease and is often viewed as though it is perfect. Unfortunately, urine culture tests, where scientists try to grow bacteria from a small amount of your urine in an artificial environment are not perfect. Here is why:
Read the second part: Better UTI Testing
Dr. Oreoluwa Ogunyemi, MD
Why Its Important To Find The Right Practitioner
While you may be able to request UTI testing independently, the results have limited usefulness without a practitioner who can interpret the information and prescribe an appropriate treatment regimen.
Because the types of UTI testing covered above are not widely available, many practitioners may not be aware of them at all. Or they may be aware of them but have no experience using them, or may believe them to be unhelpful.
Always find a practitioner to work with before ordering testing. Weve covered recurrent UTI treatment approaches in a separate article, so dive in there for more insight.
|With Microbiome testing, you don’t often get one bacteria. Certainly, I have found the usual suspects like E. coli. Ive even detected some STIs, and anaerobes that cant be grown by culture. Sometimes, you get long lists of bacteria that we know very little about, and I’ll do extensive literature searches and sometimes barely come up with one or two papers. And so what I generally do in that situation is to try and figure out which are likely to be pathogenic, and treat those. This is a really different way of prescribing antibiotics compared to when I was trained.”
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What To Eat When You Have Bladder Pain
It can be hard, with just a list of things you can’t have, to figure out what to eat. There are plenty of foods you can still eat.
- Any meat, poultry, fish, or shellfish is OK, except cured meats like bacon or salami.
- Most vegetables other than tomatoes, onions, or hot peppers are fine.
- You can still eat bread, other than rye and sourdough.
- Dairy foods including milk, butter, cottage cheese, American cheese, and vanilla ice cream work. You can start adding some of the milder aged cheeses in small amounts once you start feeling better.
- Pasta, rice, and most cereals are OK.
- Salads can be a problem because of the dressing, but you can try them with herb-infused olive oil and coarse salt.
When you feel better, start slowly adding back foods one at a time. It can be tempting to just go back to your regular eating pattern, but you don’t want to have to start over. I started with a little mayonnaise on my sandwich because I really missed it. Add one food at a time, and take it very slowly.
Most vegetables, meats, breads, and dairy products will be fine.
Can You Still Have A Uti Even If Culture Came Back Negative
So basically I’ve been suffering with bv, yeast infections and Uti’s. I’ve had 3 different antibiotics for bv, and 2 for Uti’s. During my last rounds of test everything came back negative, but the problem Is I still have symptoms. It burns when I pee and it smells bad. No frequency. But sometimes when I go pee only a little comes out and the pee is cloudy. My urologist wants to talk about the possibility Of having interstitial cystitis.i rather not have that because there is no cure. I also don’t feel like I have that, but maybe I’m just in denial. My question is could I still have a uti even if the the cultures I got were negative? Could it maybe be a small uti? Is it possible. I just need hope I really don’t want the other thing.
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What Are Chronic Uti Symptoms
Women with chronic UTIs may have repeated or recurring infections , UTI symptoms that dont disappear within 48 hours after treatment, or a UTI that lasts longer than two weeks, according to the Baylor College of Medicine. Although symptoms can vary from woman to woman, they often include:
- Urgent need to urinate
- Pain or burning when urinating
- Soreness in the lower abdomen, back, or sides
- Urine that has a strong or foul odor, is cloudy, or is tinged with blood
Some UTIs are more likely to return than others, according to recent research. An October 2018 study published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology found that patients with a drug-resistant UTI were more likely to have a relapse of their infection within a week than people with non-resistant infections. Unfortunately, the folks with drug-resistant UTIs were also more likely to be prescribed an incorrect antibiotic.
This study adds to the evidence that drug-resistant bacteria are an increasing issue, even in the community and even in patients who have something seemingly uncomplicated, like a urinary tract infection, said lead author Judith Anesi, MD, in a press release. These drug-resistant infections are difficult to treat, and our study shows that relapses are common. This is an alarming finding, and interventions to curb antibiotic resistance are urgently needed.
Symptoms That Mimic A Urinary Tract Infection
An irritated bladder accompanied me and my endometriosis all throughout my 20s, right after I became sexually active. When I experienced symptoms of unrelenting burning and frequent urination for the first time, I headed to the doctor. My urine culture confirmed I had a urinary tract infection a bacterial infection, usually caused by E.coli that enters the urethra. But as time passed and my sex life continued, my painful symptoms persisted often without any bacteria in my pee.
My doctors were at a loss for why I would have UTI-like symptoms if it wasnt an infection. But as it turns out, many women feel like they have persistent UTIs without a positive urine culture, says Dr. Christina E. Lewicky Gaupp, a urogynecology and pelvic reconstructive surgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. She explains that there are several other possible conditions that cause UTI-like symptoms, like pelvic floor dysfunction and dehydration.
Thankfully, there are treatments that can help resolve your constant bathroom runs. Here are five reasons why you might feel like you have a UTI when you dont and what to do to feel better.