A urine culture is a test to see if there are bacteria in your urine.
A urine culture is done to diagnose an infection in the urinary tract. The urinary tract includes your:
The test will tell your healthcare provider:
Sometimes the test is done after treatment to make sure an infection is gone.
You may need to avoid taking certain medicines before the test because they might affect the test result. Make sure your healthcare provider knows about any medicines, herbs, or supplements that you are taking. Don't stop any of your regular medicines without first consulting with your healthcare provider.
Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any questions about the test.
There are 2 methods for collecting a urine specimen: the clean-catch method and the catheterization method.
The urine is sent to the lab and tested. If you have an infection, it may take several days to find out what kind of germ is causing it.
Ask your health care provider when and how you will get the result of your test.
A negative test result is a normal result, which means no bacteria grew in the culture and you probably do not have an infection.
Usually a positive test result means you have a urinary tract infection. However, the result could be positive when you don't have an infection if too many bacteria from your skin got into the sample.
Test results are only one part of a larger picture that takes into account your medical history, physical exam, and current health. Sometimes a test needs to be repeated to check the first result. Talk to your healthcare provider about the results and ask questions, such as: