How To Test Your Urine pH While Taking Methotrexate

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This information will help you test the pH level of your urine at home while you’re taking methotrexate (MEH-thoh-TREK-sayt).

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About Your Urine pH Level

A pH test measures the pH level of a substance. Levels of pH range from 0 to 14. The best pH level of your urine while you’re taking methotrexate is 7 or higher.

Your care team will test your urine pH level while you’re in the hospital. Your urine pH level tells your healthcare provider if you need medication or fluids. They will give these to you intravenously (into your vein, called an IV). If your urine pH level is too low, the medications will help raise it. This can help prevent long-term kidney damage.

You will need to keep testing your urine pH level at home, every time you urinate (pee). Your healthcare provider will tell you how long to do this.

 
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How to Test Your Urine pH Level at Home

To test the pH of your urine at home, you will need these supplies:

  • A clean, dry urine container (also called a “hat” or urinal) to save your urine. You cannot test urine that is in the toilet bowl. This will give an incorrect pH reading.
  • pH strips. You will use one strip each time you test.
  • Gloves (especially if you’re a caregiver helping test someone else’s urine).
  • A clean, dry paper towel, or disposable waterproof plastic pad (such as a chux).
  • A trash can.

Your care team will give you supplies, or home care will send them to you. You may need to buy more supplies if you run out before you’re done testing your pH at home.

Hat urine container, urinal, and waterproof pad

Figure 1. A hat urine container (left), urinal (center), and waterproof pad (right)

Types of pH Test Strips

You will test your pH with either paper or plastic pH test strips (see Figure 3). Each will come with a pH indicator on the package or container. When you test your pH level, you will compare your test strip to this indicator.

Plastic

Plastic pH test strips are pre-cut and come ready to use.

Paper

Paper pH test strips usually come on a roll. You will rip off a piece every time you test. The piece should be long enough to put a drop of fluid on.

Plastic and paper pH test strips

Figure 2. Plastic pH test strips (left) and paper pH test strips (right)

Collecting Your Urine Sample and Testing the pH Level

When testing your urine pH level, remember to always start with clean, dry hands. Gather your supplies and place them on a clean flat surface. Take one pH test strip from the package or bottle and set it aside.

  1. Pee into the clean, dry urine container.
  2. Put on the gloves. Dip the end of your pH test strip into the urine. The test strip will change colors.
  3. Hold the test strip up to the pH indicator on the pH strip package or container. Compare the color of your pH strip to the indicator to find your urine pH level.
  4. Make a note of your pH level and the time of the pH test. You can write these on a pH log, in a notebook, or in a notes app on your phone.
  5. Pour any urine still left in the urine container into the toilet, then flush.
  6. Rinse the container with warm water. Let it dry before you use it again.
  7. Wrap the used test strip in the paper towel or pad. Throw it away into the trash.
  8. Wash your hands.
  9. Store your unused pH strips in a cool, dry place until your next pH test.
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What do I do after getting my urine pH test results?

You may need to take additional medication if your urine pH is less than 7. Follow the instructions your healthcare provider gave to you based on your urine pH level.

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When to Call Your Healthcare Provider

  • If while you’re awake, after more than 4 hours, you’re still not able to pee.
  • If you have questions or concerns.
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