Can a UTI Affect a Drug Test?
Many people must take drug tests for employment, athletics, rehab, probation, or other reasons. In any of these circumstances, a false positive can have serious consequences — including missed job opportunities or even serious criminal charges. Unfortunately, false positives can occur due to various reasons, from the foods and supplements you consume to medical conditions outside of your control.
One common question is whether having a UTI can affect your drug test, especially if you’re taking a urine screening. In this article, we'll discuss what UTIs are, how they're treated, and whether these treatments can lead to a false positive on a drug test. We'll also provide tips on what to do if you need to get tested while treating an infection.
What Is a UTI?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a common bacterial infection of the urinary system, including the urethra, bladder, and kidneys. Each year, UTIs affect around 150 million people worldwide. While anyone can develop a UTI, women are more likely to experience them due to their shorter urethras. It's estimated that 40% of all women will have a urinary tract infection at some point in their life, compared with only 12% of men who will contract a UTI.
Symptoms of a UTI
Signs that you may have a UTI can include:
- a frequent and strong urge to urinate
- pain or burning during urination
- cloudy urine
- a strong odor that comes from the infection
A UTI can also cause a fever or chills if bacteria travel to the kidneys and can lead to a kidney infection, so it's important to seek proper treatment and medication as soon as you suspect a urinary tract infection.
How Are UTIs Treated?
UTIs are an unpleasant reality for many people, and it can be helpful to recognize the signs when one strikes. But when it comes to UTIs and drug testing, the more relevant question is how these infections are treated.
UTIs are generally treated with antibiotics that can be taken orally or topically applied. Common antibiotics used to treat UTIs include:
- sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim (Bactrim)
- amoxicillin-clavulanate (Augmentin)
- ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
- nitrofurantoin (Macrodantin)
Can UTI Treatments Affect Drug Testing?
If you're prone to urinary tract infections, there’s some good news: UTI treatments can not, by themselves, lead to a false positive on a drug test. However, this doesn't guarantee that you're in the clear for your next workplace drug screening. Certain antibiotics can interact with other medications that can alter the results of your test.
Perhaps more noteworthy is that some drug users may try to use over-the-counter UTI treatments like Azo to flush their systems before a test, so test administrators may look suspiciously at the presence of UTI treatments in your system. Products like Azo tend to turn urine bright yellow or red, and if your administrator isn't aware that you have an actual UTI, this may seem like a red flag to scrutinize your results.
What to Do If You Get Tested While Treating a UTI
If you get tested while taking antibiotics for an infection, it is important to disclose that information to the technician and provide them with details about what medication you are taking before the screening. That way, they can make sure that the test results are accurate and can help prevent any false positives.
In fact, it is generally recommended that you share any pertinent medical history, prescriptions, or even vitamin supplements that could impact the chemistry of your urine or hair before a drug test. When in doubt, it's better to overshare upfront than to be left trying to explain away a false positive after the fact.
What to Do If You Receive a False Positive Drug Test
No matter the cause of your false positive drug test, it can be a stressful experience. If you believe that something has gone wrong with your test results, there are steps you can take to protect yourself.
If the cause of your false positive is no longer likely to be in your system, you may be able to request a simple repeat of your initial drug screening. Or, if you're taking a necessary prescription, present your test administrator with a note from your primary care physician explaining the presence of certain drugs in your system.
If necessary, you can also request a confirmatory test, also known as a gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS) test. This type of test can help rule out a false positive result by identifying the presence of specific substances in your system. It can also provide more detailed information about the amount of the supposed drug detected and can identify potentially adulterated samples.
Get Ahead of Your Results with Countrywide Testing
If you’re worried that treatment for a UTI or any other health condition may affect your drug test results, the best thing to do is to get answers from an experienced provider. At Countrywide Testing, our reliable and accurate drug testing services can help you understand if any substances — from UTI treatments and other legitimate medications to supplements or recreational drugs — will cause any issues by showing up as a false positive on your test. With our range of easy, at-home drug testing options, Countrywide can help you get an early understanding of your potential test results, so you are prepared to protect yourself during a mandated screening.
Countrywide is an online retailer providing you with easy access to standard drug tests. We offer an array of products for testing at home, individuals staying clean after rehab, workplace testing, healthcare emergencies, and law enforcement purposes. Our test kits are convenient, affordable, and ship to you quickly. Plus, our lab is accredited by SAMHSA, so you can rest assured your test results are handled in accordance with the highest industry standards.
At Countrywide Testing, we provide fast, accurate results in an easy-to-use format so that you can get the information you need. Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive selection of testing services.