Summary: A UTI or urinary tract infection, commonly caused by bacteria, can have an impact on pregnancy tests. The infection can cause a false negative pregnancy test result even when you are pregnant. This is due to the presence of leukocytes, which can mimic hCG – the hormone used to determine pregnancy. In this article, we’ll discuss how UTIs can affect the accuracy of pregnancy tests and what steps you can take to prevent false results.
1. How a UTI can cause a false-negative pregnancy test
When you have a urinary tract infection, there is an increased presence of leukocytes in your urine. These cells are usually a sign of infection or inflammation in the body. Unfortunately, they can also mimic the effects of hCG. As a result, an at-home pregnancy test may read negative even if you are pregnant. If you take a pregnancy test while experiencing a UTI, it’s important to keep this possibility in mind.
It’s important to note that this scenario is not always the case. If you’ve never had a UTI before, or if your infection has been treated, it is unlikely that you’ll experience a false-negative pregnancy test due to leukocytes.
The chance of a false-negative pregnancy test result increases if you continue to experience symptoms of a UTI, such as pain, burning sensation during urination, foul odor urine, abdominal pain, and fever. If you’ve recently finished your antibiotics but are still feeling unwell, it’s important to visit your doctor for a follow-up appointment.
2. Other factors that can cause a false-negative pregnancy test
While a UTI is one of the most common causes of a false-negative pregnancy test, there are other factors to consider. The most obvious factor is taking the test too early. Even the most sensitive pregnancy tests aren’t foolproof and if you take the test too soon you may get a false-negative result.
The time of day can also play a role in the accuracy of your pregnancy test. Most pregnancy tests suggest taking the test first thing in the morning, as this is when your urine is more concentrated with hCG. If you take the test later in the day, you may not have enough hCG in your urine to get an accurate reading.
Finally, if you have recently taken fertility drugs, you may experience a false-negative pregnancy test result. This is because some fertility drugs contain hCG and can cause the hormone to show up in your system even if you are not pregnant. Talk to your doctor about how fertility medications may impact your pregnancy test results.
3. How to reduce the likelihood of a false-negative pregnancy test
If you’re worried about getting a false-negative pregnancy test, there are a few steps you can take to reduce the chance of it happening:
1. Wait until the right time: Pregnancy tests become more accurate the closer you are to your missed period, so wait until you are at least a few days delayed.
2. Take the test first thing in the morning: For the most accurate results, take the test first thing in the morning when your urine is most concentrated with hCG.
3. Use quality kits: Choose reliable at-home pregnancy test kits that are known to be effective and sensitive.
4. When to see a doctor
If you continue to have symptoms of a UTI after treatment or experience other abnormal symptoms such as vaginal bleeding or cramping, talk to your doctor immediately. These symptoms could indicate an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage.
Additionally, if you get a negative pregnancy test and are sure you should be pregnant, it’s important to seek medical advice for further testing or a more advanced examination.
Finally, if you experience recurrent UTIs even after treatment, talk to your doctor about long-term management strategies such as medication, hydration, and lifestyle changes.
A urinary tract infection can be a frustrating and painful condition. It can also impact the accuracy of pregnancy tests, leading to false-negative results. If you suspect you may have a UTI, it’s important to talk with your doctor about treatment. If you’re unsure about the accuracy of a pregnancy test, wait a few days, take the test again, or consult a medical professional. Remember, a false-negative is sometimes inevitable, so be patient and stay positive.