Cystitis - Diagnosis

The first step in diagnosing cystitis is often a physical examination. A doctor examines the patient's abdomen and lower back. Swelling of the kidneys or bladder can often be felt.

The next step in diagnosis is collection of a urine sample. Normal human urine is sterile. It does not contain bacteria, blood, pus, or other abnormal substances. The presence of any of these substances in urine suggests the presence of an infection.

The patient is asked to urinate into a collecting bottle. The urine can then be tested immediately with a dip stick. A dip stick is a strip of paper that contains one or more testing chemicals. The chemicals change colors if certain abnormal substances are present in the urine. The urine may also be examined using a microscope.

If questions remain about a diagnosis, more advanced tests can also be used. For example, a dye may be injected into the urinary tract and X-ray photographs taken. The dye helps the shape of the urinary tract stand out more clearly. Any abnormal structures present can be seen on the X-ray photograph.

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