Urinary tract infections affect millions of people every year. For people experiencing their first UTI, or for whom UTI is not an ongoing issue, being able to get tested and treated quickly and from the comfort of their own home can make managing a UTI so much easier. 

If you are one of these people, TestCard is a great solution.

The combination of a UTI dipstick test kit and mobile app, which make up the at-home test, allows you to test and treat a single UTI privately, easily and discreetly, and all without leaving your house. 

We know that UTI symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable, and having to leave the house to see a doctor is the last thing you want.

That being said, it is really important to point out that for people who experience what is called ‘complicated’ UTI (see below), there may be more appropriate testing and treatment options than the test currently offered by TestCard. 

So, it is recommended that people with more complicated cases are seen by a doctor who can perform more appropriate tests, possibly including antibiotic susceptibility testing, as well as investigate the cause and potentially offer long-term management plans. 

Note: Antibiotic susceptibility testing is used to see whether the bacteria causing a UTI might be resistant to particular antibiotics, so that doctors can prescribe an antibiotic which will actually be able to kill the bacteria.

Complicated or uncomplicated?

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides guidelines for doctors, which are backed by research-based evidence. This is what they have to say about uncomplicated vs. complicated UTI:

Uncomplicated UTI

NICEdefines uncomplicated UTI as: “UTI caused by typical pathogens in people with a normal urinary tract and kidney function, and no predisposing comorbidities.” This is the type of UTI that TestCard can help to test for and treat quickly and easily.

Complicated UTI

On the other hand, complicated UTI is defined as “UTI with an increased likelihood of complications such as persistent infection, treatment failure and recurrent infection

Risk factors for complicated UTI include:

  • Structural or neurological abnormalities of the urinary tract
  • Urinary catheters
  • Virulent or atypical infecting organisms

Comorbidities such as poorly controlled diabetes mellitus or immunosuppression.

And the American Academy of Family Physicians adds a bit more to these definitions:

Uncomplicated UTI Complicated UTI
Immunocompetent (having a normal immune response) History of urinary tract infections
No comorbidities (other illness) Immunocompromised (having a weakened immune system)
No known abnormalities of the urinary tract Preadolescent or postmenopausal
Not pregnant Pregnant
Premenopausal Male UTI
  Underlying metabolic disorder (e.g. diabetes)
  Abnormalities of the urinary tract (e.g. stones, catheter use, neurogenic bladder i.e. lacking control of the bladder)

Recurrent UTI

For recurrent UTI in particular, the guidance may feel unclear. You may have had more than one UTI… Your doctor might have treated previous infections as one-off occurrences… And maybe you are wondering what is actually classed as recurrent UTI?

Recurrent UTI is officially defined as having had 3 or more distinct episodes of UTI in the last 12 months, or 2 or more in the last 6 months.

If you fall into this category, it could be worth having a chat with your doctor about the different testing and treatment options available that might help you get to the root of the recurring problem. 

It is also worth having a look at the resources available at liveutifree.com. Live UTI Free has lots of useful information for people living with recurrent or chronic UTIs, regardless of how long you have lived with them.

Upper UTI (kidney infection)

Something else that we should mention is that an upper UTI, which is an infection of the kidneys, can be considered as uncomplicated or complicated, the same as lower UTI (infection of the bladder or urethra).

However, even if you have a case of uncomplicated upper UTI, you should see a doctor immediately. This is because infection of the kidneys is more serious and will require immediate medical attention.

Here are the most common upper UTI symptoms to look out for:

  • Pain and discomfort in your side, lower back or around the genitals
  • A high temperature
  • Shivering or chills
  • Feeling very weak or tired
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling sick or being sick
  • Diarrhoea

Testing and treatment for complicated UTI

If you suspect that you are dealing with a case of complicated UTI and decide that TestCard might not be right for you, it is important to see your doctor. 

Here is some information on the kind of testing and treatment that a doctor might initially offer for more complicated cases of UTI, based on NICE guidelines:

Type of complicated UTI Which test? What treatment?
Catheter-associated UTI Urine culture* & antibiotic susceptibility testing First choice: Nitrofurantoin (antibiotic); 100mg twice a day for 7 days (Only if no upper UTI symptoms and not pregnant, see more here).
Recurrent UTI Urine culture* & antibiotic susceptibility testing If other prevention strategies aren’t working, antibiotic prophylaxis (taking antibiotics preventatively). First choices: Trimethoprim (antibiotic); 200mg as a single dose when exposed to a trigger, or 100mg at night OR Nitrofurantoin (antibiotic); 100mg as a single dose when exposed to a trigger, or 50 mg to 100 mg at night (Only for non-pregnant women, see more here).
Postmenopausal UTI Urine culture* is recommended for women over 65, whether a first UTI or recurrent UTI For recurrent UTI post-menopause Low-dose vaginal oestrogen. If other prevention strategies and vaginal oestrogen are ineffective, antibiotic prophylaxis (taking antibiotics preventatively - see above)
Male UTI Urine culture* & antibiotic susceptibility testing First choice: Trimethoprim (antibiotic); 200mg twice daily for 7 days OR Nitrofurantoin (antibiotic); 100mg twice daily for 7 days(For recurrent UTI in men, see here).
UTI in pregnancy Urine culture* & antibiotic susceptibility testing First choice: Nitrofurantoin (antibiotic); 100mg twice a day for 7 days.

*Read more about the difference between dipstick testing and urine culture here.

But, if you think that you might have an uncomplicated lower UTI and are looking for a way to test, you can test and treat quickly and easily with the TestCard UTI test kit (available from Amazon, or at any of these pharmacies: Superdrug, Dears Pharmacy, Zava, Midway Pharmacy, Weldricks Pharmacy, Chemist4u, Alphega Pharmacy, Rowlands Pharmacy, Numark Pharmacy, and Cloud Pharmacy).