Nitrites in Urine

Nitrites in Urine

Nitrites are nitrogen-oxygen chemical units, usually in the form of salts, that are found naturally in the environment. In the human body, nitrites are produced by certain bacteria in the digestive system. Nitrites can also be present in urine due to an infection or an overgrowth of bacteria, and can be detected by testing the urine with a chemical test strip.

Preparation for Nitrite Testing

Urine samples for nitrite testing should be collected in a clean, dry container and tested immediately. It is important to follow careful specimen collection procedures to avoid contamination. If a sample must be stored, it should be refrigerated until it is tested.


Testing for nitrite in urine is simple and can be done quickly. A urine sample is collected and then tested with a chemical test strip. The test strip changes color to indicate if the nitrite levels in the urine are abnormal.

Types of Nitrites in Urine

  • Nitrates - The most common form of nitrite in urine is nitrate, which is a nitrogen-oxygen compound.
  • Ammonia - Ammonia is another form of nitrite found in urine and is a byproduct of certain types of bacterial metabolism.
  • Urea - Urea is a waste product produced by the body as it metabolizes proteins and other nitrogen-containing compounds.

Risks Associated with Nitrites in Urine

Nitrites can indicate the presence of certain types of bacteria in the urinary tract, which can lead to infection. If left untreated, these infections can cause serious health complications. Excessive amounts of nitrites in the urine can also indicate liver and kidney diseases, as well as certain types of cancer.

Why Do We Test for Nitrites in Urine?

Testing for nitrites in urine is useful in diagnosing urinary tract infections and other illnesses that are associated with abnormal nitrite levels in the urine. Nitrite testing is also helpful in determining how a patient's diet and lifestyle habits may be affecting their urinary health.

When Should You Test for Nitrites in Urine?

Nitrite testing should be done whenever a patient is experiencing any symptoms related to a urinary infection or other condition that may be associated with abnormal nitrite levels in the urine. Additionally, nitrite testing is a routine component of most yearly physicals and should be done on a regular basis to monitor for any changes in nitrite levels.