She added that it commonly takes 24-48 hours, but the culture helps the doctor decide which antibiotic to use.
The urine culture identifies the bacteria causing the infection and should be taken before the patient starts any antibiotic.
Urinary tract infections can be caused by bacteria including E.coli found in the bowels. They are suspected when:
- It is painful to pee; sometimes described as “burning.”
- The patient reports frequent and urgent urination.
- There is blood in the urine.
- Urine is cloudy.
- Urine may have a distinct odor.
Such infections are common among young women and the National Institutes of Health reports “data suggest that 1 in 3 women will have had a diagnosed and treated UTI by age 24 and more than half will be affected in their lifetime.”
UTIs should not be ignored because the bacteria can make its way to the kidneys, presenting a more serious problem.
High fever, pain in the side or lower back and vomiting may indicate an infection in the kidneys.
A great deal can be learned from a urinalysis. The Mayo Clinic describes three elements of the testing:
- Visual exam for clarity or blood.
- Dipstick in which a plastic strip with chemicals which change color to show acidity, concentration, protein levels, presence of sugar or ketones which suggests the need for follow-up testing for diabetes, bilirubin which may indicate liver damage or disease, blood and evidence of infection.
- Microscopic exam for white blood cells indicating infection, red blood cells indicating other possible medical conditions, crystals indicating kidney stones and bacteria.
For men, a UTI could indicate a more serious condition and Chopra suggests men with symptoms see a doctor