Nitrite In Urine- Causes, Diagnosis, And Treatment!
Having nitrate in urine is not harmful and completely normal, but what about nitrite in urine? Nitrates and nitrites both are nitrogen forms. The only difference between these forms lies in their chemical structure. Nitrates possess 3 atoms of oxygen whereas nitrites have two atoms of oxygen only.
Both these are found naturally in a few vegetables like cabbage, celery, leafy greens, etc. They are also added to some processed food items like bacon. This is done to preserve these foods.
Nitrite in urine could be a sign of some infection that you must get rid of. Here are all the things about nitrite in urine that you must find out if you speculate the infection.
Causes of Nitrite In Urine
If you even have nitrite in urine, you might be wondering where does it come from or what causes it. The presence of nitrite in urine is commonly indicating the presence of bacterial infection in the urinary tract. This is known as Urinary Tract Infection or UTI.
A urinary tract infection may occur anywhere in the urinary tract including the urethra, kidneys, ureters, and bladder.
Harmful or dangerous bacteria find their way inside the urinary tract and then reproduce at a rapid rate inside. Some of these bacteria possess an enzyme that works for converting nitrates into nitrites. This is where they are generated from. This is the reason behind the presence of nitrates in the urine but when they are converted they indicate you have a urinary tract infection.
UTIs generally have some symptoms you can note and visit a doctor, these include:
- Strong smelling urine
- cloudy urine
- blood in your urine
- Increased urge to urine
- Feeling the requirement to urinate and then passing much urine when you do
- Burning sensations when you urinate
Some people might not experience symptoms of UTI immediately. In pregnant women, the doctors might need to test the urine to detect the presence of nitrites and other factors at some point when they visit for prenatal care checkups. This is done as a precautionary measure, even if there are no symptoms of UTI.
UTIs are more common during pregnancy and they are highly dangerous at this point. They might increase the blood pressure and lead to premature birth or delivery when not treated on time or simply left untreated. UTIs during pregnancy are highly likely to spread to the mother’s kidneys.
What is the diagnosis for nitrite in urine?
A test known as Urinalysis is performed to diagnose the presence of nitrite in urine. This test might be performed for several reasons including the following:
- If a person has symptoms of UTI like pain when they urinate.
- When you visit for a routine checkup.
- If a person has blood in the urine with other urinary problems.
- Before going for surgeries.
- During a pregnancy checkup
- To check any existing kidney issue
- When you are admitted to hospital for some reason
- If the doctors suspect the patient to have diabetes.
Before conducting a urinalysis, make sure you tell your doctor about any supplements, vitamins, or medications you are taking.
1. Clean catch urine samples
When you visit a doctor, you will be asked by the doctors to give a clean catch same of the urine. For this purpose, you need to clean your genital area properly before collecting the urine to make sure your sample does not contaminate with cells from skin nearby or any bacteria.
As you start urinating, allow some urine to pass first inside the toilet and then collect nearly 2 ounces of urine in a given cup or small container. Make sure you do not touch the container from inside using your fingers. Once you are done, close the lid and hand the sample to the doctor.
Once you do this, the doctors will analyze this sample by performing a urinalysis. You do not require any particular preparations for testing nitrites in urine. If the health care provider has requested other urine or maybe some blood tests, you might require to fast sometimes(not eat or drink) for a few hours before the test. The health care provider will allow you to know if there are any specific instructions to follow.
2. Analysis of the sample
There are a few steps doctors use to analyze urine in this procedure. These include:
- First, the urine is inserted visually to look for brown or red-colored urine and cloudy urine which indicates there is an infection.
- The next step involves the usage of dipsticks. This is a thin stick equipped with strips of chemicals. It is used to check different factors like the pH of urine, the presence of nitrites, white blood cells, and protein inside it. This test can be performed immediately after the sample is given to the doctors.
- If the results of this dipstick test are not normal, the urine sample is then sent further to a laboratory for testing further and performing the microscopic evaluation.
3. Test Results
When the test results show positive for the presence of nitrite in urine, it is known as nitrituria. If you have this condition, the doctor further sends this sample to a lab to perform a urine culture test. In this test, the doctor will find out which type of bacteria is present and what type is causing urinary tract infections.
Urine culture test usually needs about 2 to 3 days only. Sometimes it may take longer based on the kind of bacteria in the urine. On average though, you can expect the results to be out in 3 days or so.
You must know that not all types of bacteria inside the urine are capable of converting nitrates into nitrites. So you might even have a negative nitrite test but still, there may be UTI. This is why different tests ate performed and different test results are considered by the doctor and not just one when they diagnose a UTI.
Can Nitrite In urine lead to complications?
When the UTIs are left untreated, they might become more severe and spread towards your kidneys too. An infection present in the upper urinary tract is more challenging to treat. Ultimately, the infection might spread further to your blood causing a condition known as sepsis. Sepsis condition is life-threatening and one must take urinary tract infections seriously.
Additionally, Urinary tract infection in pregnant women can be harmful to the mother as well as to the baby.
That being said, even if nitrite in urine is diagnosed, how is it treated? Let’s have a look at that too.
Treatment for nitrite in urine
The treatment for the presence of nitrite in urine and infections related to bacteria is going for a course of antibiotics. Now, the type of antibiotics you’ll have to take will be prescribed by the doctor based on your medical history, the type of bacteria residing in the urinary tract, and considering if you are pregnant or not.
Proper treatment by taking antibiotics should resolve all the symptoms you have been facing within a few weeks like one or two. Make sure you are following all the guidelines your healthcare provider has suggested to you. When you do not follow the guidelines, the infection might come back and the doctors will have to prescribe another set of antibiotics.
Drinking enough water is also an important step to flush out the bacteria and it helps fasten the recovery process.
Even if you do not have other symptoms of UTI, nitrite in urine indicates that you have harmful bacteria growing inside the tract where they should not be. It is highly important to treat the infections as early as you can after knowing and diagnosing them.
When dealt with immediately, UTIs can be treated easily and resolve quickly in a few days without spreading to the upper urinary tract.
Medical Attention For Nitrite In Urine
If the results of urinalysis come back to be positive, you might have to see the doctors for further evaluation. You must seek emergency treatment and guidance if you have any of the following symptoms as they mean that the infection has spread to the kidneys or bladder.
- flank pain or back pain with tenderness
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned here or other symptoms related to UTIs, seek a doctor’s treatment as soon as you can.
A positive test result on the nitrite is extremely specific for UTI, mostly due to urease-splitting organisms, like Proteus species and, infrequently, E-coli bacteria. However, it is very inconsiderate as a screening tool, as nearly 25% of patients only having UTIs have a positive test result for the presence of nitrite.
This was all about nitrite in urine with diagnosis and treatments.