Urine Culture Test

A urine culture test identifies the bacteria or yeast that is causing a urinary tract infection (UTI). If the bacteria multiply, an antibiotic sensitivity test can identify the antibiotic most likely to kill those particular bacteria.

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What is Urine Culture and Sensitivity test? 

A cultured urine test can detect the presence of pathogens or harmful microbes in your urine. These pathogens that cause urinary tract infections (UTIs) can enter the urinary tract system through the urethra, where they can multiply and give rise to the infection. The most common symptoms of UTI are pain while urinating, fever, and an urge to urinate frequently. Your doctor may recommend this test if they suspect a UTI.

What are the other names for the Urine Culture and Sensitivity test? 

The other names are Urine C/S, Culture & Sensitivity-Urine, and Urine Culture.

What test parameters are included in the Urine Culture and Sensitivity test?

There is only one parameter.


What does a Urine Culture and Sensitivity test measure? 

The urine culture and sensitivity tests are performed to detect and diagnose a micro-bacterial infection of the urinary tract. These metabolic processes in the body produce the products called metabolites that are present in the blood. Some of them are utilised by cells, while others are waste products that are filtered out of the blood by the kidneys in the form of urine. 

Urine is produced by the kidneys and it passes through the ureters into the urinary bladder where it is stored until the urinary bladder is full. Once the urinary bladder is full, it releases the urine through another tube called the urethra to the outside of the body. This pathway followed by the kidneys is called the urinary tract. This urinary tract might be infected by some microorganisms which cause various conditions. The urine is normally sterile, but if a urinary tract infection occurs, the pathogenic microorganism can be found in the urine. A urine sample is then collected and cultured to detect if there is any such infection and to identify the microorganism causing it.

The collected urine sample is placed on an agar medium (nutrient solution mixed with agarose gel) and incubated at a 37० C temperature for 24 to 48 hours. If anything is present, this allows the microorganisms to grow in the sample. Growing microorganisms from the different types of colonies on the agar are studied further in a laboratory to determine the exact microbe causing the UTI.

Once the microorganism is identified, an antibiotic susceptibility test is performed to guide the treatment for UTI. This may be done in two ways. The conventional method involves the use of small filter paper discs with antibiotics of known concentration and placing them on an agar plate where the pathogen is cultured. This antibiotic creates a small circular area around the discs where the microorganisms do not form colonies. The radius of this zone is measured on the scale to estimate the efficiency and strength of that antibiotic in treating UTIs. The other method also involves using an automated machine to detect the sensitivity pattern to find out which antibiotic can be used to treat the infection.


What’s the normal range? 

The culture yields no growth after 48 hours of incubation.

Who should get a Urine Culture and Sensitivity test? 

A urine culture and sensitivity can be ordered when you have any signs and symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI) and/or the results of a urinalysis show that you may have a UTI.

Usually, the signs and symptoms of a UTI include:

  • Strong and frequent urge to urinate, even when you have just gone and there is little urine voided

  • Pain and/or a burning sensation during urination

  • Cloudy, strong-smelling urine

  • Lower back pain

You can also have pressure in the lower abdomen and small amounts of blood in the urine. If  UTI is more severe and/or has spread into the kidneys, this can also cause flank pain, high fever, shaking, chills, nausea, or vomiting.

Sometimes, antibiotics might be prescribed without performing a urine culture for young women who have signs and symptoms of a UTI and those who have an uncomplicated lower urinary tract infection. If there is any suspicion of a complicated infection or symptoms that do not respond to the initial treatment, then a culture test for the urine is recommended.

Pregnant women who do not have any symptoms are suggested to be screened with a urine culture early in their pregnancy (e.g., during the second trimester) or during the first prenatal visit for bacteria in their urine.

Are preparations needed for the  Urine Culture and Sensitivity test?

The urine sample must preferably be the midstream urine (part of urine that comes after the first and before the last stream). Collect the urine sample in a sealed, sterile container provided by our sample collection professional. Please make sure that the container doesn't come in contact with your skin.

What is the cost of a Urine Culture test?


What is the type of sample required? 

This test requires a urine sample.

Who performs a Urine Culture and Sensitivity test?

A healthcare provider, who is also called a phlebotomist, usually asks the patient/customer to collect the midstream urine, but any healthcare provider trained in collecting urine can perform this task. These samples are sent to a lab where a medical laboratory scientist prepares the samples and processes the tests on analysers or manually.

What should I expect during my Urine Culture and Sensitivity test?

A urine culture requires a clean urine sample. This term means there are a lot of microorganisms in the air. The urine sample is as free from other outside contaminants as possible, such as normal bacteria that live on your skin. You may provide this sample at the lab testing facility. In certain situations, you may be able to collect the urine sample at home.

Steps include:

  • Wash hands with soap and warm water thoroughly.

  • Wipe thoroughly to clean with antiseptic wipes the opening of the urethra (the vulva and vaginal area or the head of the penis).

  • Please let out a small amount of urine into the toilet and then stop midstream.

  • Place a sterile container under the vulva or penis before you resume peeing. Don’t let the container touch your skin.

  • Collect the designated amount of urine in the sterile container (usually 1 to 2 ounces). And most people fill the cup before they finish peeing.

  • And stop midstream again (if possible) and hold the sterile container out of the way until you’re done urinating.

  • Keep the sterile container down, place a lid on it (if provided), and put it in the designated collection area. Please don’t forget to wash your hands again.

What are other ways to collect a urine sample?

A healthcare provider may use one of these methods for infants and young children, and adults who are ill, hospitalized, or elderly. A healthcare provider can use one of these methods:

  • Catheterization: The healthcare provider inserts a catheter (a thin, flexible tube) through the urethra to reach your bladder. And the urine flows out of the catheter into a sterile container or a collection bag.

  • Aspiration: The healthcare provider inserts a thin needle through the numbed abdominal skin into your bladder to aspirate the urine into a collection bag or sterile container.

  • Urine bag (U bag): For infants and young children, you can attach a urine collection bag sticky with adhesive directly to their penis or over their vulva. After your child urinates, you can empty their urine into a lidded sterile container. Keep the sterile container refrigerated until you can drop it off at the laboratory or your healthcare provider’s office.

What should I expect after my Urine Culture and sensitivity test?

Once the healthcare provider has collected the urine sample, it will be sent to the laboratory for processing or testing. When the reports are ready, your healthcare provider will share the results with you.

What is the risk of the  Urine Culture and Sensitivity test?

Collecting a urine sample is not painful unless you are experiencing any pain while urinating because of an existing urinary tract infection (UTI). And there aren't any risks associated with preparing for or collecting urine.

When can I expect my Urine Culture and Sensitivity test results?

These reports are available via email or WhatsApp within 48 hours of the collection of the blood sample.

What do the results of a Urine Culture and Sensitivity test mean?


The results of urine culture and sensitivity are often interpreted in conjunction with the results of a complete urinalysis and with regard to how the sample was collected and whether any symptoms were present. Since some of the urine samples have the potential to be contaminated with bacteria normally found on the skin (normal flora), care must be taken with interpreting the culture results.

Positive urine culture: This is typical. The presence of a single type of bacteria growing at higher colony counts is considered a positive urine culture.

  • For clean urine samples that have been properly collected, cultures with greater than 100,000 colony forming units (CFU)/milliliter of one type of bacteria usually indicate infection.

  • And in some cases, however, there may not be a significantly high amount of bacteria even though infection is present. Sometimes, the lower numbers (1,000 up to 100,000 CFU/mL) might indicate the infection, especially if you have any symptoms present.

  • Likewise, for samples that are collected by using a technique that minimizes the contamination, such as a sample collected with a catheter, results of 1,000 to 100,000 CFU/mL can be considered significant.

The results from the urinalysis can also be used to help interpret the results of a urine culture. For example, the positive leukocyte esterase (a marker of the white blood cells) and the nitrite (a marker for bacteria) help confirm a UTI.


If a culture is positive, antibiotic susceptibility testing may be performed to guide the treatment therapy.

Although there are a variety of bacteria that can cause UTIs, most are due to Escherichia coli (E. coli), a bacteria that is common in the digestive tract and found routinely in the stool.


Usually, the other bacteria that commonly cause UTIs include

  • Proteus

  • Klebsiella

  • Enterobacter

  • Staphylococcus

  • Acinetobacter

Occasionally, a UTI may be due to a yeast such as Candida albicans.

Negative urine culture: The culture that is reported as “No growth in culture after 48 hours of incubation” usually indicates that there is no infection. If there are any symptoms that might persist, however, a urine culture test can be repeated on another sample to look for the presence of the bacteria at lower colony counts or the other microorganisms that may cause the symptoms. Usually, there is the presence of white blood cells and a low amount of microorganisms in the urine of a symptomatic person, a condition that is known as an acute urethral syndrome.

Contamination: If the culture growth shows several different types of bacteria are present, it is likely that the growth is due to the contamination. This is especially true in voiding the urine samples if the organisms that are present include Lactobacillus and/or other common nonpathogenic vaginal bacteria in women. If the symptoms persist, the healthcare practitioner can request a repeat urine culture on a sample that was more carefully collected. However, if there is one type of bacteria present in significantly higher colony counts than the others, for example, 100,000 CFUs/mL versus 1,000 CFUs/mL, then additional testing can be done to identify the predominant bacteria.


What are normal Urine Culture and Sensitivity test results?

The culture yields no growth after 48 hours of incubation.

Reference ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Usually, some labs use different measurements or may test different samples. Speak to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.


What other tests might I have along with this test?

Complete Urine Examination, Ultrasound abdomen (USG).

How do I book a Urine Culture and Sensitivity test at home?

Log on to www.orangehealth.in and submit your details. Our highly trained, professional, and vaccinated eMedics will be at your doorstep within 60 minutes or at the time booked by you.

Order now & get your sample collected in 60 minutes

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