How to Collect Urine Sample for Urine Culture?

A urine culture is a test conducted to discover bacteria and other harmful substances that cause infections. To do this test, a sample of urine is mixed with a chemical that multiplies the growth of germs. If it leads to zero germs, then the culture is negative but if it multiplies then the culture is positive.

A urine culture is done in people with symptoms of a urinary tract infection such as pain and blood in the urine. A urine culture is also done after a routine urine test becomes positive for bacteria and nitrites.

A urine sample is particularly important in knowing if the identified organisms resulted from the urinary tract and not from urethral or vaginal infection. After a urine culture, there’s usually the presence of only one type of bacteria in significant quantities. If there’s the presence of more than two types of microorganisms, it may be an infection with multiple pathogens, but it’s usually a result of specimen infection.

Results that demonstrate no increase after 24 or 48 hours usually mean that there’s no urinary tract infection. When symptoms become severe, a urine culture should be redone on another sample to discover the bacteria that were in insignificant amounts in the initial sample.

Before collecting a urine sample it’s important to understand the type of urine sample that’s required by health professionals. A mid-stream urine collection means you only collect the mid part of the urine while avoiding the first or last part of urine that comes out. This lessens the chance of the sample being affected by bacteria from your hands, the skin surrounding the urethra as well as the tube that removes urine from the body.

When to collect urine samples?

Your physician or healthcare professional may require a urine sample to help determine a specific health condition.

Urine is a combination of waste products filtered out of the body. If your urine sample contains anything other than waste, it may signal an underlying health problem.

Urine tests are done to determine underlying infections like urinary tract infection (UTI) or some sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as gonorrhea, chlamydia in men

if your urine contains any protein as a result of kidney damage – this is known as an ACR test

A urine culture is conducted to discover if symptoms such as pain or burning during urination originate from a urinary tract infection (UTI). The test can also discover what causes urinary tract infection and how to treat it.

Before taking the test, ensure not to urinate at least one hour prior to the test. Also, drink enough fluids 15-20 minutes before the test. You need to abstain from certain activities before the test. Ensure to collect a midstream urine sample to gain accurate results.

Urine Transfer Devices

Urine transfer devices are meant for easy and healthy sample transfer from the collection vessel. Urine transfer device makes it easy for your lab to sample urine from open urine collection cups.

Urine Collection Procedure

Urine collection can be done using the following methods including.

Clean-catch Method

The clean-catch method is the most popular method for urine culture test procedure.

Before using any of the methods, you are required to clean your hands and genitals with a cleanser. Then put your midstream urine in a urine sample collection container. Afterward, hand the urine sample container is sent to the lab for analysis.

Urinary Collection Bag

This is a common method of urine collection for infants and children. This method involves attaching a plastic bag to the child’s genitals using an adhesive until the child urinates. Afterward, the plastic bag is removed, and the urine is sent to the lab for analysis.


Some healthcare providers may request the urine sample to be collected using a thin hollow tube known as a catheter. In this method, the catheter is sent through the urethra into the bladder. Once the tube is in place, your health care provider will begin to collect the urine sample. The health care provider will fasten the end of the catheter before the urine enters the catheter collection bag attached to the bottom of the catheter. As the urine enters the tube, the healthcare professional will collect your urine sample by injecting a syringe. The urine cannot be collected from the bag because it becomes volatile when left outside for too long, making it unusable due to high amounts of bacteria.

Suprapubic Aspiration

This is the easiest method for urine culture test procedure for children. This method involves inserting a needle via the abdominal wall into the bladder to obtain a urine sample. This method is the best way to collect an uncontaminated urine sample.

How to take a urine culture?

Before collecting a urine sample, your doctor will give you a urine collection container or a urine specimen jar and explain how you should collect the urine sample.

Your urine sample can be collected at any time of day unless you are told by a doctor to collect it at a specific time of the day.

The different types of urine samples requested include random specimen, first-morning specimen, or timed collection.

To collect a urine sample, you should:

– Label your name, date of birth, and date on a sterile, screw-top container.
– Wash your hands.
– Start to pee and collect a sample of your “mid-stream” in a urine specimen jar.
– Close the urine sample container using the lit.
– Thoroughly wash your hands.
– Follow your doctor’s orders.

Storing a urine sample

urine samples should be used within 1 hour after being collected. However, if you plan on using it after an hour then you should put it in a urine specimen jar, place the container in a sealed plastic bag and store it in the fridge at around 4C. However stored urine samples are valid for only 24 hours.

When stored improperly for more than 24 hours, the bacteria in the urine sample can increase, which could affect the test results.

What happens after collecting the urine sample?

A urine sample is usually packed in accordance with compliance packaging. Urine culture results are usually available in 1 to 3 days.

While some urine test results may show a lot of bacteria, it doesn’t mean that your urine is infected. However, test results with bacteria mean your urine sample is contaminated.

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