Understanding the Presence of Nitrite in Urine

November 3, 2022

Abnormal levels of various chemical substances in your urine could indicate different medical conditions such as liver disease, diabetes, metabolic disorders, or infections. One such chemical is nitrite, which, if detected in urine, may be a sign of a urinary tract infection (UTI). The occurrence of nitrite in urine is caused by certain harmful bacteria. These bacteria change the chemical composition of harmless nitrates and convert them into nitrites. Nitrite in urine means a UTI which if untreated, could cause serious complications.

What is Nitrite in Urine?

Normal urine contains chemicals called nitrates. A nitrite-induced urinary tract infection usually begins in the bladder and moves upward through the ureters to the kidneys.

Nitrates in urine Vs. Nitrites in urine – What is the difference?

Food, especially green vegetables, are the chief source of nitrate in the body. Nitrate is a normal chemical, and it is okay to have it in urine. Infection-causing bacteria contain an enzyme that converts nitrates into nitrites. Since nitrite in urine is a sign of infection, it should be properly investigated and treated.

Positive nitrates in urine

There is no such thing as positive nitrates in urine. In general, dietary nitrate performs positive biological functions in the body and has an important role in various physiological activities. Nitrates found in urine are also harmless; there is no nitrate-in-urine test as such. However, when bacterial action converts these nitrates into nitrites, it causes infections. People speaking of nitrates in urine or positive nitrates in urine possibly mean positive nitrites in urine.

What is a nitrite in urine test - When and Why should I take it?

The test is warranted if you have symptoms of a UTI. Pain or burning sensation when peeing is the foremost sign of bladder infection or cystitis. Other symptoms of the bladder infection are:

  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Failure to pee despite a strong urge
  • Dark, bloody urine
  • Pain/pressure in the lower abdomen
  • Fatigue and exhaustion

A bladder infection can quickly lead to kidney infection. Symptoms of a kidney infection include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Lower back/flank pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

It is vital to contain the bladder infection early as it can damage renal tissue, impair renal function, and cause septicemia, a life-threatening medical emergency with serious consequences such as kidney failure. Detection of bacteria in urine test (bacteriuria) through a nitrite screening can prevent such complications. The test is also essential to monitor the effectiveness of antibiotic therapy. It is also recommended for high-risk patients such as:

  • Recurrent UTI cases
  • Diabetics
  • Women during pregnancy, period, or menopause

How to test nitrites in urine?

To detect nitrites in urine, you will need a urinalysis test. A urine dipstick test for nitrite is a basic diagnostic tool that provides rapid screening results. You may perform the dipstick test using:

Urinox-UTI, a two-parameter kit from Diagnox that tests nitrite and leukocytes in urine;

Urinox-10,  that tests 10 health parameters, including nitrite and leukocytes.

The dipstick test checks nitrite levels in urine. It comes in handy where the need for a urine culture test is not clear.

How to read Nitrite in urine dipstick test?

A whitish-to-cream color on a dipstick test means a negative nitrite in urine.
A whitish-to-cream color on a dipstick test means a negative nitrite in urine.

For a nitrite in urine test with Urinox-UTI, you need to dip the stick into the urine, remove it immediately, and wait two minutes for results. To read the test, compare each test pad to the corresponding color chart. Any shade of pink indicates infection.

Urinox-10 test strips have ten different reagent test pads that change color during a urine test. You have to use the accompanying color chart in the urinalysis kit to compare the colors of the reagent pads. For a nitrite test, results must be checked within 60 seconds, and any shade of (light to dark) pink on the reagent pad indicates an increased risk of UTI.

The reagent pad of a nitrite in urine test will turn pink if the test result is positive.
The reagent pad of a nitrite in urine test will turn pink if the test result is positive.

Normal range of nitrite in urine

It is not normal to have nitrites in urine. Therefore, their presence in urine is not discussed in terms of any normal range or otherwise. Simply put, a positive nitrite in urine test indicates the possibility of a UTI. If so, you should go for clinical/professional diagnosis and treatment.

Leukocytes and nitrites in urine

A negative nitrite in the urine test does not rule out a UTI. You may still have it if your leukocyte test turns positive. It is generally recommended to perform a leukocyte in urine test with a nitrite test. The presence of leukocytes in urine indicates inflammation of the urinary tract. When both leukocyte and nitrite in urine test yield a positive result, it could mean that body is trying to fight an infection (hence more than average white blood cells in urine) as well as bacteria in the urinary tract. Testing for both parameters provides a better diagnosis and helps determine if any further investigation (through a urine culture test) is required. You can understand how to interpret your UTI test results here.

How is it related to your health?

A nitrite in urine test is one of the most important first steps toward a UTI diagnosis. A positive nitrite test is a tell-tale sign of bacterial activity in the urinary tract and is instrumental in a clinical diagnosis of UTI. It is also used as a powerful diagnostic tool to assess the health of your urinary tract and kidneys. Urinox-UTI or Urinox-10 test kits are a convenient and affordable way for you to diagnose and monitor the health of your urinary tract. You should immediately consult your doctor if a UTI is confirmed through a urine test for nitrites and leukocytes. An untreated UTI starting from the bladder can lead to serious complications.

Nitrite in urine is sign of bacterial infection such as a UTI. A simple urine dipstick test is a quick and effective way to check nitrite in urine.