1. The doctor’s office called back to say they need a new urine sample, the first was contaminated. What happened?
If the skin and genital area were not cleaned well prior to collecting the sample, the urine culture may grow three or more different types of bacteria and is assumed to be contaminated. The culture will be discarded because it cannot be determined if the bacteria originated inside or outside the urinary tract. A contaminated specimen can be avoided by following the directions to carefully clean yourself and by collecting a mid-stream clean catch urine sample.
2. My doctor said I had symptoms of a urinary tract infection and prescribed antibiotics without performing a urine culture. Why?
Bacteria known as Escherichia coli (E. coli) cause the majority of lower urinary tract infections. This microorganism is usually susceptible to a variety of antibiotics, such as trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, ciprofloxacin, and nitrofurantoin. In most people with uncomplicated disease, the UTI will be resolved after therapy with one of these antibiotics. Based on this information, your doctor may prescribe one of them without performing a culture.
If your infection is not treated, it can move from the lower urinary tract to the upper urinary tract and infect the kidney itself, and possibly, enter the bloodstream, causing septicemia. Signs and symptoms of septicemia include fever, chills, elevated white blood cell count, and fatigue. If your doctor suspects that you have septicemia, he or she will typically order a blood culture and will prescribe antibiotics accordingly.
4. What puts me at risk for recurrent urinary tract infections?
There are a wide variety of factors that predispose a person to acquire a UTI. After the neonatal period, the incidence in females is higher than in males due to the anatomical differences in the female genitourinary tract. In infants and young children, congenital abnormalities are associated with UTI. In adults, sexual intercourse, diaphragm use, diabetes, pregnancy, reflux, neurologic dysfunction, kidney stones, and tumors all predispose to UTI. In a hospital, nursing home, or home care setting, indwelling catheters and instrumentation of the urinary tract are major contributing factors to acquiring a UTI.
This article was last reviewed on December 6, 2012. | This article was last modified on February 24, 2015.
The review date indicates when the article was last reviewed from beginning to end to ensure that it reflects the most current science. A review may not require any modifications to the article, so the two dates may not always agree.
The modified date indicates that one or more changes were made to the article. Such changes may or may not result from a full review of the article, so the two dates may not always agree.