Nitrites in Urine: What Does It Mean?

Nitrites in Urine: What Does It Mean?

Nitrites in urine, or nitrituria, is a condition that often indicates a urinary tract infection (UTI)1. This blog post will delve into the causes, symptoms, and treatments of nitrituria.

Understanding Nitrituria

Healthy urine contains nitrates, a type of nitrogen chemical2. When bacteria enter your urinary tract, they convert these nitrates into a different nitrogen chemical called nitrites2. The presence of nitrites in urine is not normal and usually indicates a UTI1.

Causes of Nitrituria

The primary cause of nitrites in urine is bacteria in your urinary system2. These bacteria can enter your body through your urethra and travel to your bladder, causing inflammation known as cystitis2. From the bladder, a UTI can spread to your kidneys, leading to a kidney infection2.

Women and people assigned female at birth are more prone to getting nitrites in their urine due to their shorter urethras, which make it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder2. Additionally, the urethral opening’s proximity to the anus can increase exposure to E. coli bacteria in feces, a common cause of UTIs2.

Symptoms of a UTI

When nitrites in urine cause a UTI, you may experience symptoms such as abdominal pain or pressure, blood in urine (hematuria), painful urination (dysuria), frequent urination, cloudy or foul-smelling urine, fatigue, fever, lower back pain, and urinary incontinence (leaking urine)2.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis typically involves a urinalysis or urine test. A special test strip called a urine dipstick is inserted into the urine sample to test for nitrite-positive urine2.

Treatment for nitrituria depends on its underlying cause. For instance, UTIs are typically treated with antibiotics2. It’s important to complete the full course of antibiotics to ensure all bacteria are eliminated and prevent reinfection2.


Nitrites in urine are typically a sign of an underlying issue with your urinary tract. If you suspect you have this condition, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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