ph test strips

pH test strips – How to test for Urine pH at home

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pH test strips can be a useful tool to gain insight into your health. Each month there are about twenty thousand searches for the term “Urine pH” in Google.  If you add other related search terms and other Search Engines, then the real figure is likely much higher. You might have found this article from a search engine result!

Urine pH is an important measure because it gives us insight into our body’s acid-base balance. The body needs to maintain our acid-base balance to ensure its healthy functioning. If our acid-base balance is abnormal it could be a sign of health issues. 

In this article we will show you how to test urine pH at home with urine pH test strips. We will take you through 5 steps to conducting the appropriate Home Urine Test and give you some good tips for understanding your results. These results can be used to track and manage conditions that effect your urine pH.

"An important kidney function is acid regulation. As cells metabolize, they continually produce acids. Foods that we eat can increase the acid in our body".

Mundt, Lillian; Shanahan, Kristy. Graff's Textbook of Urinalysis and Body Fluids (Page 12). LWW. Kindle Edition. Tweet

Test for urine pH at home

Acidosis (high blood acidity) or alkalosis (high blood alkalinity) can be a cause for concern and may indicate health problems. If you have reason to suspect you have abnormal acid-base balance it is important you understand what this means for your health.

You can test your urine pH in a doctor’s office or at home. The most common method of testing urine pH is with a urine pH test strip. 

Urine pH test strips

A Urine pH Test Strip allows you to test your Urine pH at home cheaply and effectively. These strips have been around for a long time and can be found in your local pharmacy or purchased on line inexpensively.

A Urine pH Test Strip is a strip of paper or plastic with reagent soaked pads on top. Each pad contains a different reagent that changes color when it comes into contact with urine.

To gain a test result, the test strip is dipped into a urine sample and the chemical in the pads react with the urine sample. The pads will change color dependent on how acidic or basic your urine is. 

To read a result, the reacted strip is compared to the color of the chemical pads to a colored reference grid on the manufacturer’s packaging. As a patient you need to match the color on your test strip to the color on the grid. Once the color has been identified the patient’s result is known.

Urine pH test strip results

A urine test strip is a semi-quantitative test which means that the results give you a range of values for your urine pH is not an exact value. This semi-quantitative method is generally enough to indicate if you have a problem or not.

A urine pH result will be a single number representing the pH of the urine. The scale for urine pH will start at about 4.5 and could go up to as high as 9. A range of about 5 to 8.5 is common. 

urine ph test strip
A urine test strip with a pH measure from 4.5 to 9.0

Step 1 - Select a urine pH test strip

There are many urine test strips to choose from and the first time purchasing your test strip can be a confusing experience.

The simplest way to measure your urine pH is to purchase a urine test strip which measures urine pH such as the Siemens Multistix 10 or he Roche Combur 10. There are also very specific tests available which measure only urine pH and they have a much more refined scale such as the one in the photo above. 

With these strips you can very quickly learn your urine pH and if you are in the normal range. 

Your local pharmacist or doctor can also recommend for a Urine Test Strip that tests urine pH or you can consult this guide on our website by clicking here. You can also consult our article on how to select a urine test dipstick by clicking here.

Step 2 - Do your urine pH test

To do the test you will need a disposable urine sample collection cup, a stopwatch and your urine strips. For those people who want to save their results, they should have the PURI application installed and opened on their phone.

Taking a sample from the first urination in the morning is good. Before taking the sample men should make sure their penis is clean and women should ensure that the area between the labia are clean to ensure there is no contamination.

To collect the sample have your urine collection cup on hand and urinate a small amount into the toilet bowl then stop. Place the collection cup in the appropriate area and pee into the cup, stopping before it overflows. You are now ready to use your urine sample to do your urine pH test.

Start the timer and dip your urine pH test strip into the urine at the same time (see instructions for how to use PURI here). Allow your strip to remain in the urine for as long as your manufacturer recommends, usually 1 to 2 seconds, and on removing the strip, wipe it on the side of the cup to remove any excess urine.

Wait until the correct time has passed to read your strip and then compare to the coloured grid provided in the manufacturer’s packaging.

We will take you through these steps briefly here, but if you want to see a great guide you can visit this article or you can visit the instructions on our website.

You have now completed your urine pH test.

Step 3 - Record your urine pH test result

Many urine test results end up in the rubbish bin. By saving your urine test results you are saving an important part of your health record. You can also provide to your doctor good information about your results that will give them more information when assessing your health.

A simple way to record results is to write them on a piece of paper, or type them into an excel spreadsheet, recording the date and time and the result of your test.

A better way is to download for free the PURI Urinalysis App from the Google Play Store or the iTunes app store. PURI safely stores your data, has a simple input screen making it easy to save your results.

PURI has other features such as a built in timer (as discussed above)  and the ability to store two photos of your results.

Step 4 - Record a photo of your results

Photos are can be viewed at a later date to confirm certain aspects of your test. Particularly useful is taking a photo of your urine sample. Much can be interpreted from the colour and the physical properties. Your doctor may find these photos useful in reviewing your your test results.

The other advantage of saving your test results in PURI is that you can share your results at a touch of a button. By clicking the share icon on your test results you can share your results with a contact within the app or send to anyone via email. The share function will share your test results and also the photos you have added to this test.

Another benefit of recording your results in PURI is that you can view graphs of the result which will allow you see trends. Is your urine pH stable? in the normal range? changing? etc. Storing your data electronically and having it on hand makes this type of analysis easier.

So now you have your results stored in a safe place the next step is to understand your results.

Step 5 - Understand your results

If you had a negative result then you can either stop testing, or if you wish, continue testing at regular intervals to be 100% sure of the result. A single result is a good indicator, but a series of results is much more reliable. You will have purchased more than 1 test strip so you might as well use them all.

If you received a positive result then it is time to understand your results better. Again, you might want to do a number of tests to double check your single result, for example, by testing every day for at least 3 days. That way you can gain confidence in your result and have more data to share with your doctor.

Armed with your test results you can seek a clear diagnosis of why you have abnormal pH. Some online research is always good as it will prepare you to understand the possible causes. That said, the best and most accurate way is to book an appointment with your Doctor. Your Doctor is trained to interpret your results and can initiate more detailed tests to arrive at a conclusive diagnosis. If your diagnosis requires special treatment, your doctor can refer you to a specialist. The most important for you is that you understand what is causing abnormal pH in your urine and begin a treatment program.

If you have saved your results in PURI you can easily share your results with a Doctor or Pharmacist at the click of a button. In that way, if your health provider offers remote service, they can view your results and advise you via email or the phone. You can also share your result with the PURI Pharmacist free of charge for an initial opinion.

Step 6 - Manage your condition

Hopefully you obtain a normal pH result in which case there may not be much more to do. A regime of ongoing screening can be helpful to pick up on symptoms early.

For patients whose test results have resulted in an abnormal result it is important that you follow your doctor’s advice. 

We hope you have found this article on how to test your urine pH at home useful. If you have any comments, feedback or questions then please let us know by filling out the contact form.

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Track your results with the PURI Urinalysis App

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About PURI urinalysis app

PURI is a urinalysis app which helps you by providing templates for many popular urine strips. Simply enter your results into PURI with a few screen clicks and you will save an important part of your health record. PURI allows you to save your results and keep this important part of your health record, track your results and provides two unique views of your data and allows you to share your results with a carer, family member or medical professional.

All the templates for the test strips mentioned in this article are available for free in the PURI app, available on itunes or google play.

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