Urine culture

What is a Urine Culture?

A urine culture is a laboratory test that is used to detect bacteria in a sample of urine. The test can identify bacteria in a urine sample so that an appropriate antibiotic can be prescribed for an infection. A urine culture test can also help find out the exact cause of symptoms like frequent urination, burning while urinating, pain in the lower abdomen, back pain, fever, fatigue, and cloudy or foul smelling urine.

Preparation for Urine Culture Test

It is important to follow certain instructions provided by the healthcare provider to get an accurate urine culture test result. These instructions usually include:

  • Notifying the doctor about any medication that is currently being taken; this is to reduce the chances of false positives or false negatives due to the presence of certain drugs.
  • Avoiding sexual intercourse for at least 24 hours before the test.
  • Cleaning the genital area with soap and warm water before collecting the sample.
  • Taking a first-morning sample or clean-catch sample for the test.
  • Not touching the opening of the urine container with the hands and not contaminating the sample.

Procedure of Urine Culture Test

The procedure of performing a urine culture test may vary, depending on the doctor’s preference. The following are the general steps followed for urine sample collection:

  • The medical professional will give a urine container to the patient in which they will collect the urine sample.
  • The patient will be asked to wash their hands and then clean the genital area with soap and water before passing urine into the container.
  • The patient will have to make sure that neither the container nor the genital area is contaminated by urine or other materials.
  • The patient will have to fill half of the container with urine.
  • The patient will have to close the container and label it properly before submitting it to the laboratory.

Types of Urine Culture Test

There are three types of urine culture tests:

  • Fiver-day culture test: This is a long-term test that involves collecting urine for five consecutive days. It allows for detecting infection-causing organisms that are present in small numbers.
  • Clean-catch culture test: This is the most commonly used urine culture test. It involves taking a single sample, usually in the first morning, to test for infection-causing organisms.
  • Catheter urine culture test: This type of culture test involves collecting urine from a catheter that is placed in a person’s bladder. The catheter may be left in place for several hours or up to one day, depending on the doctor’s instructions.

Risks of Urine Culture Test

A urine culture test is a safe procedure and associated with very few risks. However, improper collection of urine sample can lead to false results. For this reason, the patient should take special care while collecting and submitting the urine sample.

When is Urine Culture Test Recommended?

A urine culture test is recommended when a person has symptoms of bladder or urinary tract infection like frequent urination, burning during urination, lower abdominal pain, back pain, etc. It is also important to have a urine culture test if a person is taking antibiotics for a urinary tract infection to make sure that the infection has cleared and there is no more infection-causing bacteria present in the urine. People with weakened immune systems, or those who have had recent bladder catheterization, should also have a urine culture test to diagnose any infection at early stages.