How is a urinary tract infection diagnosed?

Dr. Robin Miller, MD
Internal Medicine

A urinary tract infection is diagnosed based on your symptoms and a urinalysis. This is done by taking a sample of urine that is examined for the presence of white blood cells and bacteria. In addition, your doctor may order a culture of your urine to see what type of bacteria has caused the infection. It will also indicate which antibiotic would be the best choice for treatment.


Typically, the diagnosis of urinary tract infection can be made from the symptoms alone. Laboratory tests such as urine analysis and urine culture may be useful at times. Occasionally, additional testing, such as blood analysis, x-rays, CT scans, and ultrasonography, may be necessary.