Rectal culture

Rectal Culture

A rectal culture is a medical diagnostic procedure employed to investigate potential bacterial or other infectious agents present in rectum and the surrounding tissues. It is typically performed to isolate, identify, and measure bacteria, fungi, parasite, or virus present in the anal canal. This procedure involves using a sample that is collected from the rectum via a swab, plastic loop, or other device.

Preparation for Rectal Culture

Generally, patients are advised to take a laxative or enema prior to the procedure in order to clear the colon of stool and debris. Patients must also refrain from taking any medications such as antibiotics, steroids, and antifungals before the procedure. If a patient is pregnant, a rectal culture is not advised.

Procedure for Rectal Culture

A rectal culture procedure is typically performed by a physician, nurse practitioner, or other healthcare professional. During the procedure, the practitioner will use a gloved finger to insert rectal swabs into the anal canal. The swab is then twirled around in order to collect cells and fluids for testing. The swabs are then sent to the lab for processing.

Types of Rectal Culture Analytes

  • Bacterial cultures, which are tests to identify which bacteria are present in the rectum.
  • Parasite cultures, which are tests to identify which parasite are present in the rectum.
  • Viral cultures, which are tests to identify which viruses are present in the rectum.
  • Fungal cultures, which are tests to identify which fungi are present in the rectum.

Risks of Rectal Culture

The risks associated with a rectal culture are generally low, though there can be some discomfort. The most common risks associated with the use of the procedure include infection, bleeding, and pain. The use of a lubricant may help to reduce any discomfort associated with the procedure.

Why is Rectal Culture Performed?

A rectal culture is typically performed to detect the presence of any bacteria, parasites, viruses, or fungi present in the rectal canal. It is often used to diagnose STDs and gastrointestinal infections. It may also be used to diagnose inflammatory bowel disease.

When is Rectal Culture Performed?

Rectal cultures should ideally be performed when symptoms associated with an infection, such as fever, pain or irritation, or an abnormal discharge, are present. It can also be used if a person has recently had sexual contact, or if a person is at high risk of having been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection.