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Can a UTI Affect a Pregnancy Test?

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When you take a pregnancy test you want to feel confident that the results you’re getting are accurate. Whether you’re hoping to have a baby now or wanting to wait a while, you don’t want your test to give you the wrong result.

If you happen to take your pregnancy test while you have a urinary tract infection (UTI), you may wonder how or if that will play into your result. Let’s take a closer.

What is a UTI?

A urinary tract infection happens when there is an infection in your urinary system. Most UTIs affect the bladder and urethra, the lower urinary tract. Women are typically more at risk of getting a UTI than men. 

Symptoms of a urinary tract infection include:

  • A strong urge to urinate
  • A burning sensation when urinating
  • Cloudy urine
  • Strong-smelling urine
  • Pelvic pain in women

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s best to get checked out so the UTI can clear. When you’re diagnosed with one, antibiotics are usually the general course of treatment.

How Can a UTI Affect a Pregnancy Test Result?

If you have a UTI and suspect you’re pregnant at the same time, you may wonder can a UTI cause a negative pregnancy test or it can affect it in general.

According to the Center of Reproductive Medicine, while it is very unlikely that a UTI would result in a false negative pregnancy test, there are cases a UTI could cloud the results.

It may be hard for a pregnancy test to detect HCG levels if you get a severe infection that causes other chemicals to dilute the urine. Also, when you have a UTI, it can be hard to control the flow of urine like you normally would.

So, if too much urine gets on the pregnancy test stick, there’s a chance the sample can get diluted and alter the results. If you’re worried this is going to happen, pee in a cup and dip the stick in the cup for the appropriate time.

When women have a UTI they may drink a lot of water to try to flush out the infection.

When this happens, it may also dilute the urine and lead to a false-negative result. This is especially true early in the pregnancy when HCG levels are low and may be hard to detect.

According to the Center of Reproductive Medicine, these scenarios are very rare. If you have a UTI, it’s best to get the appropriate treatment and tell your doctor if you suspect you’re pregnant.

Negative pregnancy test

What Can Cause a False Negative Pregnancy Test?

While it’s rare that a UTI may cause a false-negative pregnancy test, there are other situations that may be to blame. These include:

  • Not following the instructions
  • Using an expired test
  • Testing too soon
  • An early miscarriage

If you think you fall into any of those categories, you can test again or call your doctor.

What Should I Do If I Suspect a False Negative Pregnancy Test?

If your first test is negative and you still think you might be pregnant, your best option is to wait a few days before taking another test. HCG levels double rapidly, so the odds of a positive test just two days after a negative test are very high.

If you can’t stand waiting, consider retesting later in the day with a more sensitive test. Home pregnancy tests usually reveal information about their sensitivity on the label, so read labels carefully and choose accordingly.

If you still get a negative test and don’t get your period, or if you just can’t stand waiting any longer, call your doctor.

A blood test in a doctor’s office can detect even the lowest levels of HCG. This can be helpful to determine whether your HCG levels are normal. This is an important piece of the puzzle to measure fertility.

Can a UTI Cause a False Positive Pregnancy Test?

If you’re wondering if a UTI can cause a false negative pregnancy test, you may also be wondering if it can do the reverse.

The Center of Reproductive Medicine reports that a UTI is unlikely to cause a false positive pregnancy test. The chances are actually less than it causing a false negative result. 

Some things that can cause a false positive test include:

  • Using an expired test
  • Not following the instructions
  • Waiting too long to read the results
  • Taking fertility drugs that can increase hormone levels

If you get a positive result and you think it’s wrong, call your doctor. You can have your HCG levels assessed to determine whether you are pregnant or not.

You don’t want to wait too long to find out if you are pregnant because early prenatal care is important for both you and your baby.

Medical Disclaimer. All content and media on the MomInformed Website is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice.

Kristina is a freelance writer and children's book author. She's the mother of two girls who keep her very busy! When she's not spending time with her family, she enjoys taking a spin class and reading a good book.