Self-diagnosis: what diseases can be detected with a self-diagnosis?
To detect Covid, cystitis, cholesterol or HIV, there are many home test kits on pharmacy shelves. While not all of them are reliable, some are very useful.
They simplify our procedures and provide us with valuable information. What diseases can be detected with a self-test? How does it work ? Everything you need to know about self-diagnostics.
If we are familiar with Covid-19 self-screening tests, there are different types of self-screening to detect other diseases such as HIV, tetanus, cystitis. These tests can allow early detection of certain diseases. What are the diseases that can be detected with a self-test?
The Covid-19 antigen test
The do-it-yourself antigen detection test is one of the alternatives to find out whether or not a person is infected with Covid-19. It detects the antigens produced by the virus.
Nasal antigen tests can also be used in adults and children. We often think about it when we have been around someone who has tested positive or when we have a fever. For the High Health Authority, however, these self-tests should be reserved for people who are not symptomatic or contact cases. There is a risk of false negative, and it is safer to do a PCR test in these cases. Self-assessments remain for people who work in a risky profession, such as teachers. It should then be repeated 1-2 times a week to increase the chances of detecting the virus.
How to perform a covid-19 self-test?
To perform a self-test for Covid-19, the swab is pushed vertically into one nostril, 2 or 3 cm, and then tilted forward. Continue until you meet slight resistance, before performing 5 rotational movements. The swab is then immersed in the solution for 10 seconds. Finally, 4 drops of the latter should be placed in the cassette. All you have to do is wait 10-15 minutes to read the results.
If the result is positive, it is most likely that you have been infected with the virus. We isolate ourselves and do a confirmation PCR test.
Blood tests to detect HIV
The HIV self-test detects the presence of antibodies produced by the body against HIV. The HIV blood test is recommended when you want to stop using condoms or consider pregnancy.
When should an HIV test be done after unprotected sex?
You can also resort to self-diagnosis of the AIDS virus in case of doubt about an old sexual relationship, dating back at least 3 months. If the sexual intercourse is more recent, it is better to go to a specialized center to consider taking preventive treatment and doing a laboratory test.
How to perform a serology test yourself to detect an STI such as HIV?
The lancing device is used by pressing on the index finger and squeezing to obtain a first drop of blood. We clean it and press the fingertip again. The blood is then collected with the tube, which is placed in the place provided in the holder. Results appear after 15 minutes.
If the test is negative, it means that you probably have not been infected with HIV. However, a false negative is possible and repeat testing is recommended to reduce this risk. If the test is positive, contact your doctor for a confirmation blood test.
Tetanus test with a blood test
The screening blood test looks for the presence of antibodies directed against toxins produced by the bacteria Clostridium tetani, which causes tetanus. Tetanus self-testing is recommended for people who are not sure where they are on their booster shots.
How does a tetanus blood test work?
The finger is pricked with the lancing device, then massaged to obtain a large drop of blood. The pipette is then brought into contact with the blood. Finally, it is placed in the cassette with 5 drops of diluent solution. We wait 10 minutes.
Is the test positive? This means that we still have defenses against tetanus. If it is negative, you should call your doctor for a prompt withdrawal.
Gluten intolerance: a single validated self-test
There are many tests in pharmacies, but they are not reliable because they do not measure all the correct indicators. To be reliable, the test must measure IgA anti-transglutaminase antibodies and possible total IgA deficiency.
A self-test for gluten intolerance is intended for people whose digestive symptoms lead to suspicion of celiac disease: diarrhoea, stomach pain, bloating, tiredness, weight loss. It can also be used if, once diagnosed, we want to check the effectiveness of your gluten-free diet.
How to perform a gluten intolerance self-test?
The test should be done before you have eliminated gluten from your diet. After applying the lancing device, the blood is collected with a tube that is placed in a bottle of diluent. 3 drops of this sample are collected and placed in the intended place. Results are readable after 5 minutes.
If the result is positive, it is a sign that we are making antibodies against gluten. You should see a gastroenterologist. The diagnosis will be confirmed by a blood test and sometimes a biopsy of the small intestine.
Urine test strips, a type of cystitis detection
They allow detecting the presence of white blood cells (leukocytes) and nitrites in the urine, markers of infection. Urine strips can be used when a woman suspects that she has cystitis. If she presents symptoms such as frequent urination, burning, a feeling of heaviness in the lower abdomen, it is recommended to perform a screening to establish treatment. This self-test also makes it possible to verify the absence of infection, even if a sensation of irritation remains at the end of treatment.
How to use urine strips to detect cystitis?
The first urine of the morning (the most concentrated) should be collected in a cup. We dip the strip for 1-2 seconds, then wait 1-2 minutes, the time for the color to appear.
What to do with the results?
A positive result means there is a bacterial infection. If you are prone to recurrent cystitis, take your usual treatment. Otherwise, you should see a doctor to perform an ECBU. This urinalysis confirms the presence of a germ and guides towards the most appropriate antibiotic. It is also recommended after several nearby recurrences, to verify that the germ is indeed sensitive to the prescribed antibiotic.
Vaginal self-sampling: mycosis, vaginosis
This test makes it possible to differentiate the two infections by measuring the pH of the vagina. Vaginal self-sampling is recommended for women who have abnormal vaginal discharge, irritation, or a burning sensation.
How to perform a vaginal self-sampling?
The test should be used at least 24 hours after the end of your period and 12 hours after intercourse. It is not recommended for pregnant women, who should consult a doctor, or for postmenopausal women. For the latter, this is explained by the fact that the pH of the vagina changes after menopause, which distorts the test results. A plastic rod is inserted into the vagina and twisted several times before it is removed. After 10 seconds, the tip color gives the result.
If the test reveals an acidic pH, it indicates a yeast infection, which can be treated with an over-the-counter treatment. If you have a vaginal infection, you should see your doctor for a more accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.