A urine culture is a test to find and
identify germs (usually bacteria) that may be causing a
urinary tract infection (UTI). Urine in the bladder
normally is sterile—it does not contain any bacteria or other organisms (such
fungi). But bacteria can enter the
urethra and cause an infection.
sample is kept under conditions that allow bacteria and other organisms to
grow. If few or no organisms grow, the test is negative. If organisms
grow in numbers large enough to indicate an infection, the culture is
positive. The type of organisms causing the infection are
identified with a microscope or by chemical tests.
infections are more common in women and girls than in men. This may be partly
because the female urethra is shorter and closer to the
anus, which allows bacteria from the intestines to
come into contact more easily with the urethra. (See a picture of the
female urinary tract .) Men also have an antibacterial substance in their
prostate gland that reduces their risk.
If the urine culture is positive, other tests may be done to help choose
which antibiotic will do the best job treating the infection. This is called
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
May 21, 2012
©1995-2012, Healthwise, Incorporated, P.O. Box 1989, Boise, ID 83701.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
For more information,
How this information was developed.