What does it Mean Nitrates in Urine

The majority of women know what “nitrates in urine” mean. To them it means that they are yet another doctor appointment. UTI’s, urinary tract infection will almost always be the diagnosis. It is frustrating and uncomfortable. A known fact is that 20% of women will get an urinary tract infection in their lifetime. Men can also get this but it is very rare.

Nitrates in your Urine what it Means Really

A urine test will be one of the basic tests that is performed in a urine sample and would most probably be indicated in situations where a person complaints of burning sensation in the urine, difficulty in passing urine, discolored or foul smelling urine and in instances where systemic signs such as fever, nausea and vomiting indicate toward a possible urinary tract infection. Apart from these, it is a test that is performed routinely for many other investigative strategies.

There are many parameters shown in a urine test analysis and among them you might have noticed a parameter called nitrate or more specifically nitrite. Usually, the urine will contain a certain amount of nitrate but, in a normal urine sample, the nitrite will be indicated as ‘absent’ or ‘not present’. But, in certain instances, the nitrite can be indicated as being ‘present’ or “+”. In such instances, further evaluation has to be made as following reasons can give rise to such findings.

The commonest occurrence of positive nitrites in urine is in the presence of bacteria which is able to convert the non ionic nitrate into nitrite. Thus, the presence of nitrite is an indication to the presence of bacteria in the urine and therefore a urinary tract infection. The organisms can vary and would include certain species of E.coli , klebsiella, Proteus Sp., Pseudomonas…etc. It should be also noted that, the organisms which causes nitrate to become nitrite are almost exclusively of the gram negative variety.

Another reason for the presence of nitrite in urine is when there is a gross hematuria which will be obvious when the appearance of the urine becomes red or tea colored.

But, when interpreting these results, there are certain things that need to be remembered. One of these is the possibility of having ‘false positive results’ such as in the case of vaginal contamination of the urine sample and when the dipstick used to test for nitrites are exposed to air. In another instance, presence of phenazopyridine, which is a chemical used as an analgesic, can also give rise to a false positive result.

In other instances, ‘false negative results’ can appear in cases of higher urine levels of urobilinogen, specific gravity and in cases of bacteria which lacks the enzyme to reduce nitrates to nitrite. Another instance in which there might be a false negative result is when the patient is taking diets which lacks nitrates and in instances where the urine pH becomes less than 6.

In any instance, if nitrites are detected in the urine, further investigations should be carried out and its mere absence should not exclude any urinary infections.


Often a painful burning sensation with a frequent urge to urinate. The urine can be cloudy, dark, bloody and carry an order. Some low back, abdominal or side pain can occur. Chills and a fever can also be present.

Once the symptoms are present the diagnosis can be confirmed by testing the presence of nitrates in the urine. The abnormal nitrate values usually mean UTI, but a bacterial infection is normally ruled out. Such as Salmonella, Citrobactor, Proteus and Clebsiulla. These may lead to further action taken testing for Leucocytes, pH balance, protein and blood or hemoglobin. The tests are run do to nitrates also related to many types of cancer, often bladder.

Some argue that nitrates are present in urine all the time. This may be true due to accumulations from vegetables as lettuce, spinach, carrots and beets. Though some plants do naturally contain nitrates researchers believe that the real danger is in the use of nitrates fertilizer in the growing of the vegetables. Generally either of those do not cause infections. Nitrates from the bacteria will not be filtered out of the body through the kidney’s.


A huge strength antibiotic such as Septra DS or Bactrim DS are prescribed. It is very important to complete the medication as prescribed by a doctor to prevent reoccurrence.

Some home remedies that have been used and some people live by.

The old standby is Cranberry juice alternated with water. Reports have been made that their symptoms were gone in 2 days, but continue for 3 more days to be sure its gone.

Others swear that all you need is water. It flushes the bacteria out of your system. Beware you have to drink lots of water!

Another sworn by method is a mixture of baking soda and water. One teaspoon to 8 ounces of water. Drink this concoction three times daily for 3 days or until the symptoms are gone. It has been said that the pain will subside within 24 hours.

The last one I may have to try myself out pure curiosity. This is a cocktail of Apple Cider Vinegar and water. Mix two to three teaspoons with water for 3 days. This is healthy for the body, it nourishes and kills germs.

The home remedies are easy and most everyone has these in their kitchen. Others will tell you that home try’s do not work. They go to a local drug store to purchase an over the counter remedy called Uristat. This is from the makers on Monistat. Beware of taking this because it does not cure the UTI or get rid of the nitrates. This is a pain reliever, pyridium. It is going to mask the symptoms. A side effect of taking Uristat is a bright neon orange appearance to urine. This stains under garments and can leave a ring in the toilet.

Although there has been many reports by women that the home remedies or over the counter drugs work miracles. Ultimately it is highly recommended that you see a doctor immediately. To insure the infection has gone away and there is nothing else more serious going on. The home remedies can defiantly be used as preventative medicine. There is nothing wrong with being safe and taking a pro active approach to your health care.