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Prenatal Panel >> Urine Culture
Urine Culture and Sensitivity
(Urine C & S)

A Urine C & S will be ordered when your doctor suspects you have a urinary tract infection, to determine the exact organism responsible for the infection. The word "culture" means to grow, and test literally grows the bacteria so that they can test different antibiotics on it. Some antibiotics may kill the bacteria, and some antibiotics have no effect on the bacteria. This is the "sensitivity" part. If a bacterium is sensitive to an antibiotic, it would be a good choice for treatment of the infection. If it is not sensitive, then it is resistant to the antibiotic and it won't produce a cure. Following treatment, another Urine C & S may be done to ensure the infection is completely cleared up. You will be given instructions on the method for a midstream clean-catch specimen collection.

When is the urine C & S test done?

  • As a part of the prenatal panel
  • To diagnose a urinary tract infection (UTI) and determine what kinds of germs are causing it
  • To find out whether treatment for a UTI worked

What will the results of urine C & S tell me?

Normal results: Normally, no more than a small number of germs will be present in the urine if there's no infection.

Negative test: Bacteria are present in levels less than 10,000/ml

Abnormal results:

Positive test: Positive: Bacteria are present in levels greater than 100,000/ml

If a larger number of germs are present, the laboratory technician or pathologist will use a microscope or chemical tests to determine the specific types growing in the culture. The technician also may run tests to determine which medications will be most effective if the doctor diagnoses an infection.

How is the urine C & S test done?
Collecting the specimen should only take a few minutes. You will be asked to urinate into a clean sample cup / bottle in the doctor's office or the laboratory. You will then urinate into the toilet, stop momentarily, and then urinate again into the collection container. Catching the urine in "midstream" is the goal.

Are there any special precautions or preparations?
The container shouldn't touch your skin. Be sure to wash your hands before and after this process. Sometimes it's preferable to collect a sample first thing in the morning after you awake.

When will I get the results?
The results of the urine culture will be available in 1-3 days. Your doctor will go over the results with you and explain what they mean.

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