Pros: Easy to use; convenient at home test; fast results; accurate results; easy to read
Cons: hard to find in my local drug stores; false negative results under certain conditions
AZO Test Strips are a convenient do-it-yourself test to check for urinary tract infection AKA UTI. They are simple to use and accurate.
There are several great factors about this product such as: it is a convenient and less expensive way for those without insurance to first determine if they have a UTI prior to contacting a doctor. Also, for people who have experienced UTI previously or are prone to them the signs are usually pretty clear and these test strips will help to confirm or rule out the possibility of a UTI. AZO Test Strips also allow patients to take an active role with (their) physician in the management of (their) health.
The Signs & Symptoms of a UTI
I am very lucky that I have not suffered from many UTIs as my sisters and mother have. But I have had a few and I know the signs and symptoms to look for. I also know they can include all of the following or just some of them: urinary pain, burning, urgency or frequency to urinate, fever, some people may even have blood in the urine or it may be cloudy or have a strong smell, and/or low back or groin pain.
Regardless, if you think you have a UTI, I would suggest using the AZO Test Strips. If the test indicates a positive result then contact a doctor. However, if the test is negative, but the signs/symptoms continue for more than 2 3 days a visit or call to your doctor would be recommended.
These test strips are manufactured by Bayer Corporation for Amerfit Brands. They test for Nitrite (or bacteria) and WBC which is produced by the body when there is an infection. The 3 test strips came in a black bottle with a twist on cap. The bottle has color blocks (negative and positive) on the side for comparing test strips. The main box is teal and white and has enormous lettering. It cant be missed on a store shelf. On one end of the box even contains the lot number and expiration date.
The actual test strip is white with Bayer printed on it. It is very thin and flexible and just a little over 3 inches long. On one end are two little square pads one is a pad for testing White Blood Cells (WBC) and the other tests for Nitrite.
I first learned about the AZO Strips after going into a CVS drugstore. I had developed low back pain and was going to the bathroom more than usual. I was procrastinating about seeing a doctor and my husbands job down-sized leaving him unemployed and our family without medical insurance. So a friend recommended that I take AZO Cranberry Tablets. While looking for the tablets, I noticed a couple of brands of UTI test kits. I decided to compare the box of AZO Test Strips to the other brand of UTI test strips and decided to go with AZO. Why? The box stated the test was more effective than nitrite-only test, it is #1 pharmacist recommended, and the product claimed to be the same UTI test pads used by most doctors. I really did not want to pay $12.00 for a box of test strips that contained 3 little dip sticks. However, I also did not want to make a costly trip to the doctor that I thought might be unnecessary.
I waited until the next morning to test since the directions stated that the results would be more reliable with first urine. I also used a cup (as they do in the doctor office) to collect my sample the directions also stated this was an acceptable way of testing as well.
The directions were easy to follow: It is pretty much as basic as removing the strip from the bottle, urinating on it for 1-2 seconds and then waiting 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, compare the test strip to the color blocks on the bottle. If the test is positive for nitrite the test pad will be pink. If the test pad is positive for WBC the pad will be dark tan or purple.
Included in the package is a chart on how to read the results. Of course if there is no change on the test pads the test is negative. Any other change (you can have a positive WBC and negative Nitrite and vice versa or both positive) is a sign of a UTI and a doctor or health care provider should be contacted.
The test strips worked and confirmed that I had a UTI. Needless to say, I still had to pay a doctors bill which included another urine test ($15.00 for the test when 3 AZO tests cost me $12.00)!
The strips saved me from an unnecessary trip to the doctor months later. After I developed low back pain that lasted for more than a week I felt as though maybe a test with the strips would be beneficial. The test was negative and within a few days the low back pain was gone.
According to the manufacture under certain conditions a person may get a negative result even though they have a UTI. Sometimes infections can be caused by bacteria that does not change nitrate to nitrite or a diet which does not include nitrates. Nitrates naturally occur in vegetables such as green beans, carrots, squash, spinach and beets. Also, if the urine has not been held in the bladder long enough or if there are only a small number of WBCs the result may be negative. Also taking more than 500 mg of vitamin C in 24 hours may cause an incorrectly negative nitrite result. The drug tetracycline may cause an incorrectly negative WBC result.
The Good now what's the Bad
Of course I suppose the test limits I described above could be considered bad/negative. Although the test strips have been accurate with my experience, the enclosed product pamphlet did state that studies showed 97% accuracy for the nitrite test and 85% accuracy for the WBC test.
I have had a very hard time finding these test strips in my local stores. The only place I have found them (locally) is CVS Drug Store. However, I know they can be ordered from various online retailers.
I certainly do not mean to imply by this review of AZO Test Strips that they should replace a physicians diagnosis and treatment of UTI. However, for quick at home results without the initial cost of a doctor visit I highly recommend AZO Test Strips. With the continual rise in cost of medical care and for the 40 million who are uninsured, I feel tests such as these places us in more control and helps in the decision whether to seek medical care.
For any other info, to see a line of AZO products or for FAQ you can visit www.azoproducts.com.
Thank you for reading my review of AZO Test Strips.