Nitrates in Urine

As you might assume already, nitrates are one of those substances which can be detected in your urine if you have a urinary tract infection. Urine infections are more common among women than men and every woman is prone to getting a urinary tract infection at least once in a lifetime, but it can be more frequent than that. It can affect the lining of the bladder as well as the urethra, kidneys, and ureters. It causes inflammation and irritation in the lining of these structures. It can be pretty irritating and cause extreme discomfort. Here is what you need to know.

Nitrates in Urine

nitrates in urineWhen you have some problems regarding your urinary tract which can be presented in various symptoms, most doctors will ask for a urine test which is one of the first things you should test in order to get some results. Urine can be tested macroscopic and microscopic. Macroscopic you can search for a difference in the smell, color, odor, appearance in general. Some urine can be discolored with pus or even blood, but can be even foul smelling and can be clear or thick and muddy. That kind of urine then goes for microscopic testing, which tests certain substances inside the fluid. It is a routine which is often done. There are a few parameters which are considered such as glucose levels, bacteria, proteins, leukocytes, nitrites, etc. Nitrates are normally negative in the urine, that means that they are not present normally in the urine. When they are tested, the test can be positive or negative, which basically means that they can be present or absent. For some testing, it is presented from one to three pluses (+,++,+++) the quantity of the nitrates in the urine. From that point, the doctor can test for the proper cause of the nitrate presence in the urine.

Cause of Nitrate in Urine

The most common reason for nitrate positive test is bacteria presence. Infected urine contains nitrite which is acidified by bacteria from nitrate. Bacteriostatic gas nitric oxide (NO) gets formed from this chemical reaction when bacterial nitrate reductase starts this reaction. This type of occurrence acidifies the urine which suits for most bacterias such as E. coli as the most common one, but also Klebsiella, Proteus Sp., Pseudomonas. They are mostly Gram-negative bacteria which contain urease enzyme which acidifies the urine. If there is blood or any similar discoloration in urine, it can be a sign of nitrates inside as well.

Nitrates are likely to get false positive, but also false negative results, this is why it is important to be 100% sure of the test results. One of the main reason of the false results is the improper testing such as vaginal contamination or sample misuse such as air exposure or even contamination such as dirty dipstick or the packaging itself. Some medication can also give a false result, such as the presence of phenazopyridine which is analgesic used for pain reduction in urinary infections. Another cause of false result can be a certain diet which can change the pH of urine and present the urine with less than 6 of pH and with a lack of nitrates.

Symptoms of Urinary Infection

The most common symptom of urinary infection is genital irritation and frequent urge to urinate without the actual need to go to the bathroom. The urine itself can be different in color, smell and look. The pain can be present in the inguinal region but in the abdomen as well and if the bacterial infection is severe, it can represent itself as a general infective syndrome with a fever, chills, and myalgia.

This is when the urine test comes in handy. It is fast and gives useful information with a right path to continue the search for the cause of inflammation. It tests leukocytes, nitrites, proteins, pH balance, hemoglobin, glucose, red blood cells, etc. Nitrates are usually associated with bacterial infections but can be present even among some severe conditions such as cancer. If we exclude the nitrate presence in some diets which have plenty beet, carrots, lettuce, spinach and some other vegetable, it is normal to have negative nitrates in urine.

Treatment for Urinary Infection

Since most urinary infections with the presence of nitrates are due to bacterial invasion, the most prescribed drugs are antibiotics. One of those is Bactrim DS and Septra DS. The most important thing when it comes to antibiotic prescription is to follow the doctor’s instructions. This will ensure that the right drug is given and the bacterial resistance is avoided.

Although antibiotics are key for bacterial infections, some home remedies can help as well.


The most important thing is to hydrate your body in order to flush all the bad bacteria and fluid from your system through your kidneys. Drink as much water as you can. Some even say you can include baking soda into your water. One teaspoon into 8 ounces of water and drink this 3 times a day. The symptoms should subside in 24 hours, but drink until the symptoms are fully gone.

Cranberry Juice

Cranberry juice is one of the beneficial things you can do when having a bacterial infection. Your symptoms can subside in 2 days, but try to drink the juice at least 5 days in a row.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Mix apple cider vinegar with water. Use three teaspoons with water and drink for 3 days. This will kill the germs and help your body fight the infection.

Over-The-Counter Medications

There is a question whether you should use over-the-counter medications. Some say you can use them and some witness the benefits of certain OTC drugs. One of those is Uristat. Uristat is NOT the cure for urinary tract infection and will not get rid of nitrates. It is an analgesic and it will only mask the symptoms by relieving your body of pain and you will have the feeling you are getting better. In fact, the body can have the same amount of nitrates and bacteria in the body, which can result in complications if not treated. The Uristat can make your urine neon bright and orange and can leave a stain on your clothes and even your toilet. It is advised not to use the drugs on your hand but to consult with a doctor first.


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