The urine is a reliable indicator of a person’s health. A urine test can check the efficiency of a person’s kidneys in removing fluids, minerals, waste, and toxic compounds out of the body.
Doctors will order a urine test for various reasons. One, in particular, is to verify if you have an infection. The presence of nitrates in urine may signify that a person has a urinary tract infection. However, this is not always the case. The urine may contain nitrates due to various factors. Most of the time, it is a result of the food a person eats.
What Does It Mean Nitrates in Urine?
In terms of urine analysis, the presence of nitrates is not a good sign. Typically, the analysis will indicate if nitrite is absent or present. If it is present, it may signify that you have an infection or other medical conditions. Thus, your doctor will look for other signs and symptoms.
Not all positive results will point to a medical condition. Several factors can cause a false-positive result such as a contaminated urine sample or dipstick. Likewise, not all negative results will mean that you are safe, especially if you have other symptoms. One reason is that some microorganisms such as enterococci are unable to convert nitrate into nitrite. Thus, there will be a negative result.
What are the Causes
Various causes can lead to the presence of nitrates in the urine, which includes the following:
The most common cause of urinary nitrates is the food you consume. Nitrates are compounds present in a lot of foods such as vegetables and fruits. The most common sources of nitrates are beets, spinach, celery, lettuce, and meat products.
During digestion, the body can convert nitrate into nitrite and then nitrite into nitric oxide. The final product, which is nitric oxide, is a beneficial compound because it can prevent heart diseases and promote a healthy cardiovascular system. Nitrites are also valuable because of its capability to fight bacteria and help build a strong immune system.
Although nitrates may offer some benefits, it can endanger your health when taken in large quantities. It can lead to toxicity, which causes harm to infants.
Nonetheless, if you have a diet rich in nitrates, you will have a false-positive result in the urinary nitrite test.
- Urinary Tract Infection
When the urine has nitrates, it signifies that a person has urinary tract infection. Most microorganisms that cause this condition can convert nitrates into nitrites. Thus, the urinary nitrite test is the best indicator of this illness.
To verify his diagnosis, the doctor will also check if your urine has leukocytes, which indicates a bacterial infection. He may also look for other symptoms such as a burning sensation while urinating, abdominal pain, muscle pain, fever, nausea, and vomiting. The urine will also have bubbles, a strong unpleasant odor, and in some cases blood.
Some microorganisms are unable to convert nitrates into nitrites. These microorganisms are Salmonella, Klebsiella, Citrobacter, and Proteus. Thus, some patients may experience UTI symptoms. However, they will have a negative result in the urinary nitrite test.
- Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD)
Inflammatory bowel diseases occur when any part of the digestive system is swelling due to various medical conditions such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Research has shown that patients with inflammatory bowel disease have an increased production of nitric oxide, which results in the presence of nitrates in their urine.
To confirm his diagnosis, the doctor will look for other symptoms such as weight loss, abdominal pain, fatigue, and severe diarrhea.
Various medications for the treatment of angina have nitrates such as nitroglycerin, isosorbide dinitrate, and glyceryl trinitrate. Quinone derivatives, which are medications used to treat and prevent malaria, also has nitrates. If you are taking any of these medications, you may have a false-positive result in the urinary nitrite test.
Treatments and Home Remedies
If the cause of the nitrates in the urine is due to a medical condition, your doctor will prescribe drugs to treat the disease. You can also use various home remedies to help in the healing process, which includes the following:
Doctors will prescribe antibiotics to treat infections. Patients with urinary tract infection and inflammatory bowel diseases will have to take antibiotics for a certain period. It is crucial to complete the treatment to avoid reoccurrence.
- Analgesic and Anti-inflammatory Drugs
For patients with inflammatory bowel diseases, their doctor will also prescribe pain relievers and corticosteroids to reduce pain and swelling.
Patients with IBD should avoid taking NSAIDs if they have inflammatory bowel diseases. Drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and diclofenac sodium can aggravate your condition. Acetaminophen is a good pain reliever you can take.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C can help prevent and treat urinary tract infections due to its ability to strengthen the immune system. In the journal Urology, it was shown that this vitamin is able to help fight bacteria in the urine. Taking 500 mg to 1,000 mg of vitamin C every day will boost your immune support and prevent urinary infections.
- Cranberry Juice
Cranberry juice is an infamous natural remedy for UTI specifically if the causative agent is Escherichia coli. In some people with UTI, they noted that their symptoms disappeared 2 days after drinking this healthful beverage. However, it is still best to take your antibiotics to ensure complete recovery.
- Baking Soda
Baking soda can help neutralize acidic urine caused by nitrates. It can also help reduce the symptoms of urinary infections. You can use this remedy by adding 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water. Drinking this mixture 3 to 4 times a day will help relieve the burning sensation you feel when urinating. If the symptoms persist after 2 days, it is best to see your doctor.
- Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Being a natural antibiotic, apple cider vinegar can help control the growth of bacteria causing your UTI. To use this remedy, mix 2 tablespoons of ACV in a glass of water. You can also add honey or lemon juice for a more flavorful drink. You can take this mixture twice a day.
As a probiotic food, yogurt is an excellent source of good bacteria. When the good bacteria compete with the harmful bacteria for nutrients, infections are prevented.
The best way to ensure that you have enough good bacteria in your digestive and urinary tract is to include yogurt in your diet. It is also advisable to eat probiotic foods after taking antibiotics to restore the normal microflora of your digestive tract.