How It Feels
Collecting a urine sample does not cause
There is no chance for problems while collecting
a urine sample.
A urine culture is a test to detect and
identify organisms (usually bacteria) that may be causing a
urinary tract infection (UTI). Urine culture results
are usually ready in 1 to 3 days. Some organisms take longer to grow in the
culture; for this reason, results may not be available for several days.
No bacteria or other organisms (such as
fungi) grow in the culture. The culture result is
Organisms (usually bacteria) grow in the
culture. The culture result is positive.
count of 100,000 or more bacteria per
milliliter (mL) of urine may be caused by an
infection. A count ranging from 100 to 100,000 could be either caused by
infection or by contamination of the sample (you may need a repeat urine
culture). If the count is 100 or less, infection is unlikely; however, a count
of 100 or less may also be seen if you are already taking
If test results are positive,
sensitivity testing may be done to help make decisions
What Affects the Test
Reasons you may not be able to
have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
- Taking antibiotics or just finished taking
- Taking water pills (diuretics) or
drinking a large amount of liquid. This may dilute your urine and reduce the
number of bacteria in the sample.
- Taking a lot of vitamin C.
What To Think About
- A urine culture done in the early stage of a
urinary tract infection (UTI) may be less accurate than one that is done after
the infection becomes established.
- A urine culture may be done when
an abnormal result from a
urinalysis (such as an increased number of white blood
cells) shows signs of an infection. For more information, see the topic
- A urine culture is not
always done for a healthy woman with symptoms of a urinary tract infection and
a positive urine test result.
- A urine culture may be repeated after
the UTI has been treated to make sure the infection is cured.
health professional may collect a urine sample by placing a
urinary catheter into the bladder. This method is
sometimes used to collect urine from a person in the hospital who is very ill
or unable to provide a clean-catch sample. Using a catheter to collect a urine
sample reduces the chance of getting bacteria from the skin or genital area in
the urine sample, but catheter use sometimes causes a UTI.
who have a urinary catheter in place for a long time are at high risk of
developing a UTI.
- Collecting a urine sample from a small child or
baby may be done by using a special plastic bag with tape around its opening (a
U bag). The bag is attached around the child's genitals until he or she
urinates (usually within an hour). Then the bag is carefully removed. To
collect a urine sample from a very sick baby, a doctor may insert a needle
through the baby's abdomen directly into the bladder (suprapubic
- To diagnose
tuberculosis that has spread to the urinary tract, a
special test will be done using all of the first morning urine on three
- Sensitivity testing helps your doctor
choose the best medicine to treat specific types of bacteria or fungus that may
be causing a UTI.
- Some types of bacteria or fungi may take several weeks to grow in