Here is the information I wrote some time ago about how to test for a UTI. It’s never a bad idea to have your urine tested regardless of the type of MS you have, if you have new or repeated MS symptoms, including strange cognitive symptoms. In particular, you should make sure you have your wee tested for infection before taking steroids (sometimes GPs don’t check this). If you can’t do it yourself, take a sample into your GP surgery. But I do test my own and this is how.
When you take a sample into your GP surgery, they ‘dip’ the urine with a urinalysis test stick. What they are checking for (when looking for a UTI) is the presence of leucocytes, protein and nitrites. Also blood in the urine, though of course there could be other reasons to find blood in a woman’s urine.
I tend to buy Siemens urinalysis test strips as I think they are the best, and I buy from Amazon as it’s easy and reliable. (Obviously you can buy other brands and from other places.) The strips come in a plastic cylinder with a grid of results printed on the side. There are packs that have either 8 or 10 different tests, it doesn’t matter which type you get. Just be aware that the specific tests might be in different places on the test strips. The left side of the results boxes show the negative results and further to the right are the levels of positive reactions. Each type of test has a time that it’ll take to react, from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. You need to keep the cylinder tightly done up and dry. Moisture can ruin the test strips.
What you do to test your own urine is take a test strip out of the container. First check that the little coloured boxes on the strip are all the same as the ‘negative’ boxes on the left hand side of the results table. If they’re not, then they may have got moisture in and they’ll be no good.
Either wee over the test strip, or wee into a clean container, then dip your strip into the urine.
You ‘read’ the results from bottom to top, noting the time it takes for each type of test result to show. You can generally ignore the things like glucose and ketones (when testing for a UTI). The bottom squares take less time to show results, so you read from the bottom to the top.
What you need to check for for are:
Leucocytes, the presence of these shows inflammation.
Nitrites, the presence shows infection, in particular, E. coli shows up as a positive nitrite result.
Protein also shows infection, sometimes just protein is positive but not nitrites, this will likely be a different infection to E. coli.
Blood can also be present if there is an infection. If there’s blood in the urine, there will also be protein.
If you find that the leucocytes show faintly pink, but nitrites and protein are negative, drink lots of water through the day and retest later. You’ll usually find that sorts out a slight bit of inflammation.
If you have positive nitrites and / or protein, (generally you’d also find leucocytes) then take a sample to your GP surgery. I always check that a positive sample has been sent to the lab for complete testing as the GP surgerys’ first line reaction is usually to give you some basic antibiotics that don’t always work. Many bacteria are only ‘sensitive’ to specific antibiotics.
Obviously I am not a trained nurse or doctor, I’ve learned all of the above info over time. As far as I know, everything I’ve said is correct, but if you want to check it out, run what I’ve said past your MS nurse (mine originally gave me the information.)