The urine culture test is a simple test ordered by your physician to find out the germs in the urine that can cause an infection in the urinary bladder.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is more common in women than in men as a woman’s urethral opening is very close to the anus and vagina. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), out of 100 women, 50 will have UTI at some point in their life. Also, untreated UTI can cause permanent damage to the kidneys. So we highly recommend every woman who experiences the symptoms of urinary tract infection to get tested for urine culture. We also recommend men getting tested as well.
The article below covers all the significant topics that are related to the urine culture test like the urine culture cost, what is Urinary Tract Infection, UTI Symptoms, test procedure, when, and how to get tested for a urine culture test.
- Urine culture test cost.
- What is a urine culture test?
- Why is a urine culture test done?
- UTI symptoms in women and men.
- Symptoms of UTI in toddlers and children.
- The normal range of urine culture test.
- How is the urine culture test performed?
- Is there any preparation required before the test?
- Are there any risks in the test?
- What does the test result mean?
- UTI Treatment.
- Provider Locations.
For our readers, who are very much interested in knowing the urine culture cost beforehand, we would like to begin with that section.
How much does the urine culture cost?
Our urine culture testing provider offers the urine culture test at $59 in different labs across the U.S. No prior appointment is required. Compare the price, order your test online and visit the nearest lab during lab business hours. Complete the procedure and get the results in your email in 2 to 3 business days.
The following table shows the cost of the urine culture test at one of our partner laboratories (CLIA – Certified) located across the U.S.
Name of our Partner Lab
Urine culture cost with insurance
Most of the health insurance policies in the U.S. covers the urine culture cost. However, the coverage offered by private health insurance companies and national health insurance programs like Medicare and Medicaid varies widely. So we recommend you to check the coverage of your health insurance plan with the insurance company before getting tested for urine culture.
Our urine culture testing provider does not accept any kind of health insurance plan. But, on request, they can provide you with an itemized receipt containing all the details like the name and code of the test, and CPT code that is necessary for insurance reimbursement purposes.
What is a urine culture test?
Urine culture is a test done to find out the germs such as bacteria and fungi in the urine that can lead to an infection in the urinary tract causing UTI. Urine is a fluid containing water and wastes produced by the kidneys and discharged through the urinary tract. Though the urine in the bladder is usually sterile, germs can enter the urinary tract through the urethra and result in UTIs, urinary tract infections like cystitis.
Urinary Tract Infections are of two types i.e. Lower tract infection and upper tract infection (also known as bladder infections). UTIs can be easily treated but if it is left untreated it can lead to kidney infection resulting in permanent kidney damage. So a urine culture is performed to find out the germs in the urine that can cause the urinary tract infection.
Why is a urine culture test done?
The urine culture test is done to diagnose a urinary tract infection. Your physician will order a urine culture test if you experience any of the symptoms that are caused by the bacteria entering the urinary tract or if you are at a higher risk of getting a UTI.
A urine culture test is also done after the treatment of urinary tract infection to make sure that the infection has completely gone away.
UTI symptoms in women
More women are vulnerable to urinary tract infections than men. The following are some of the UTI symptoms in women
- Dysuria (Burning sensation during urination)
- Foul and bad-smelling urine
- Pressure in the lower belly
- Pain and discomfort in the lower abdomen
- Lower back pain
- Periodic bathroom trips
- Presence of blood in the urine
- Nausea and vomiting
Symptoms of UTI in pregnancy
If you are pregnant, changes in hormone levels occur often and increase your risk for UTIs. UTIs during pregnancy are more likely to spread to the upper tract of the bladder resulting in kidney infections.
If you experience any symptoms of the UTI in early pregnancy or during your gestation period, then you should reach out to your doctor or physician immediately. UTIs during pregnancy can put both baby and the mother at complications, like premature birth and low birth weight of the infant. It is highly advisable to get treated early and rightly.
Causes of UTI in women
UTIs are caused by bacteria getting into the one-way urinary bladder.
- Sexually active women are prone to get infected with urinary tract infections.
- Women using certain types of birth pills like a diaphragm or spermicide.
- Pregnant women. Pregnancy hormones can influence the bacteria in the urinary tract, causing UTI in women.
- After menopause, due to vaginal dryness and loss of the estrogen hormone, it causes UTI in women.
- Women having diabetes can also be a reason for bladder infections.
UTI Symptoms in men
Men are less vulnerable to urinary tract infections. As men have a longer urethra than women, bacteria have to travel more to reach the bladder and cause infection. However, men also get infected, and the following are some of the UTI symptoms in men
- Periodic urinating
- Foul-smelling urine
- Pressure in the lower belly
- Burning or pain during urination
- Lower back pain
- Feeling tired
- Fever or chillness
- Milky, cloudy, or reddish color urine
- Confusion or mental changes (only in older people)
- Nausea and vomiting
Causes of UTI in men
Medical conditions like enlarged prostate, diabetes, kidney stones, inability to control urination, uncircumcised, surgery history or any procedure that involves the urinary tract, and not consuming enough fluids can cause urinary tract infection in men.
Men ages 20 to 35 have less probability of developing urinary tract infection unless it is caused due to multiple sexual contacts.
UTI symptoms in children
UTIs in babies or children are very common as they wet their bed during sleep, due to the inability to control bowel movements.
Toddler UTI symptoms are as follows
- Bedwetting is the major cause of UTI in toddlers
- Foul-smelling or blood-tinged urine
- Fever (sometimes the only symptom in babies)
- Frequent urination (urge to discharge very little urine)
- Nausea, vomiting or weight loss
- Burning sensation when your child urinates
- Pain below the child’s belly button
The normal range of urine culture test
Urine is sterile. But sometimes during the collection of the sample, the urine can be contaminated by bacteria. So, a urine sample containing up to 10,000 colonies of bacteria per ml is considered to be normal. The range greater than 100,000 colonies of bacteria per ml is considered to have a urinary tract infection. The range between 10,000 and 100,000 is considered to be indeterminate and so the urine culture test might be repeated to rule out a diagnosis.
How is the urine culture test performed?
The urine culture test is a simple test done using a sample of urine. The urine sample can be collected in four different ways.
1. Midstream clean-catch method
This is the most common method of collecting the urine sample. In this method, a healthcare provider will ask you to wash your hands and then wash your genital areas with a cleanser. Then he/she will provide you a cup to collect the urine. First, you have to pee in the toilet and then collect 2 to 3 ounces of midstream urine in the collection cup. After the sample is collected, give the cup to the healthcare provider who will send it to the lab for further testing.
2. Urinary collection bag
This collection method is mostly used in infants and children. For this procedure, a plastic collection bag is attached with an adhesive to the girl’s labia (either side of the vagina) or a boy’s penis. When the boy or girl starts urinating, the urine is collected in the bag which is then sent to the lab for analysis.
3. Urinary catheter
In some cases, a healthcare provider may have to collect the urine sample with the help of a catheter. For this procedure, he/she inserts a thin rubber tube around the urethra into the bladder. When the catheter is properly placed, the healthcare provider will be able to collect the urine sample and send it to the lab for testing.
4. Suprapubic aspiration
This method is rarely performed. During this procedure, your physician will collect the urine sample directly from the bladder with the help of a needle. This method is only performed in the case of the previous methods used to collect an uncontaminated urine sample is unsuccessful.
Is there any preparation required before the test?
For a urine culture test, there is no special preparation required besides washing the hands and genital areas before providing the sample. But before the test, inform your physician if you are taking any medications or vitamin supplements as they may interfere with the lab results and result in an inaccurate diagnosis.
Are there any risks in the test?
There are no possible risks or complications in the urine culture test. Sometimes when the sample is collected through a catheter, you might feel slight pressure and discomfort when the tube is inserted into the urethra. Hardly, a catheter may create a hole in the urethra or bladder. But do not worry, your physician will help you with the ways to ease the pain during the procedure.
What does the test result mean?
For the urine culture, the collected urine sample is allowed to grow bacteria or fungi for several days, if they are present. Then the sample is tested under a microscope. If the urine shows the growth of bacteria, then the urine culture test result is positive and it indicates an infection in the urinary tract. Most infections are caused by the bacterium E.coli that is usually present in the stool. If the urine sample does not show any growth of bacteria, then the result is negative and you are considered to be normal and not to have an infection.
A urinary tract infection is mostly treated with antibiotics. Your physician will prescribe the antibiotic based on the type of bacteria caused the infection and your medical history. The infection can also be treated by drinking plenty of water and urinating frequently as the bacteria may be flushed out every time.
Cystitis (upper tract infection) can be diagnosed with antibiotics. Mild-cystitis infection usually goes away in 3 to 4 days of the infection. If the symptoms are persistent after 4 days, it is highly recommended to visit a doctor and get tested for urine culture tests to detect and diagnose the bacterial infection.
Sometimes, when your immune system is weak due to a bladder infection, your physician may prescribe you vitamin C supplements to boost the immune system.
The urine culture test can be done in any of the following locations across the U.S. by visiting the nearest lab. To know the urine culture cost, refer to the first section of the article.
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Puerto Rico
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Frequently Asked Questions
Will insurance cover my testing cost?
No, insurance will not be covered in the billing. However, they will provide you a receipt for insurance reimbursement purposes.
How should I book my appointment?
You can choose the most suitable provider from above and make an appointment by following the instructions mentioned by them.
Can I cancel my lab test order?
Yes, you can cancel your lab test order anytime before your testing. A refund will be initiated after deducting the cancellation fee. However, cancellation is at the discretion of the provider.
Do the providers offer result interpretations?
Yes, a few providers may provide doctor consultation who will take you through the results and provide clarification if needed.
How do I receive my report?
To ensure your privacy, the test report will be mailed to you by the provider.
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