Urinalysis and Culture

What is urinalysis?

Urinalysis is a diagnostic test that examines urine’s physical, chemical, and microscopic characteristics. It provides important insights into overall health and helps in detecting various conditions.

Here are some key components of a urinalysis:

Physical examination: This involves assessing the urine’s colour, clarity, and odour.

  • Colour: Regular urine colour can vary from clear to pale yellow. Unusual colours, such as red or brown, may indicate the presence of blood or other abnormalities.
  • Clarity: Normal urine is generally clear. Cloudiness or turbidity may indicate the presence of bacteria, white blood cells, or other substances.
  • Odor: Urine typically has a mild odour. Strong or foul-smelling urine could indicate infection or certain medical conditions.

Chemical analysis: This includes evaluating the presence of substances such as glucose, protein, blood, nitrites, bilirubin, leukocytes, and pH levels in the urine.

Microscopic examination: This involves examining the urine sample under a microscope to identify the presence of red blood cells, white blood cells, bacteria, crystals, or other cellular elements.

Urinalysis helps diagnose urinary tract infections, kidney diseases, diabetes, dehydration, and other conditions. It is often performed as a routine screening test or in response to specific symptoms or concerns.

How urine sample is collected for a urinalysis test?

A midstream urine sample is usually collected using a sterile container to minimize contamination.

  • Choose a clean, sterile container for collecting the urine. An individual can obtain a sterile container from a laboratory or a pharmacy.
  • Clean the genital area with water, start urinating into the toilet, and let the first few seconds of urine flow pass.
  • Place the sterile container under the urine stream to collect a midstream portion of the urine (30-60 mL).
  • Finish urinating in the toilet.
  • Make sure to avoid touching the inside of the container or the rim with hands or genital area to prevent contamination.
  • Once the midstream urine sample is collected, securely close the container with its lid.

What is a urine culture test?

A urine culture is a laboratory test that helps identify the specific bacteria or organisms causing a urinary tract infection (UTI).

How urine culture test is conducted?

Collection: A midstream urine sample is usually collected using a sterile container to minimize contamination.

Culturing process: The urine sample is spread on a special medium that encourages bacterial growth. It is then incubated for a certain period to allow the bacteria to multiply.

Identification: After incubation, the cultured bacteria are identified to determine the type and quantity of bacteria present.

Urine culture helps doctors choose the most appropriate antibiotic treatment for UTIs by identifying the specific bacteria and determining their susceptibility to different antibiotics.

Who may require a urine culture test?

The doctor typically orders a urine culture test if an individual experiences recurrent or difficult-to-treat urinary tract infections (UTIs).

The typical symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI) include:

  • Pain and discomfort, usually in the lower back and abdominal region
  • Pain or a burning sensation during urination
  • Fever
  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Difficulty in initiating or maintaining a steady urine stream

It is important to follow the doctor’s instructions on collecting the urine sample and discuss the results with them for proper diagnosis and treatment.


  1. Mayo Clinic. Urinalysis. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/urinalysis/about/pac-20384907
  2. Cleveland Clinic. Urinalysis. Available from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/17893-urinalysis
  3. Urine Culture Test. Available from: https://www.testing.com/tests/urine-culture/

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