Does Bowel Bacteria Show Up in a Urinalysis?

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Urinalysis Overview

Urinalysis is often performed to evaluate patients for kidney disorders, urinary tract infections(UTI) and metabolic diseases. A urinalysis is also helpful in the screening and monitoring of patients with diabetes.

Urine sent to the laboratory is tested for its physical properties, and biochemical and microscopic content. Physical analysis test for its acidity, color, specific gravity and transparency. Biochemical tests are performed using a single strip of urine dipstick for the measurement of proteins, glucose or sugar, blood, ketones and leukocyte esterase, among many others. And the microscopic assay is often performed to evaluate for the presence of bacteria, crystals and blood cells present in the urine sample.

Pathophysiology of Urinary Tract Infection

One of the most common conditions that require urinalysis is urinary tract infection. Urinary tract infection is often caused by organisms like Escherichia coli and the Enterococcus species. These bacteria are normally present in the gastrointestinal tract. They may however, get into the urinary tract through sexual activities, and when wiping the rectal area towards the direction of the urethra. Because of this anatomical differences, women are more prone to develop UTI than men. The infection, also known as cystitis, then develops. Symptoms include burning sensation while urinating, passing out cloudy urine, frequent urge to urinate and pain in the lower abdomen. When cystitis is not treated accordingly, the infection can go up and affect the kidneys.

Urinalysis Test for Bowel Bacteria

The urine dipstick used during the routine urinalysis can indicate presence of bacteria in the urine sample. Presence of bacteria in the urine sample may also come from contamination due to improper collection, and when the urine has been left standing for a long period before being analyzed.

Results from the routine urinalysis may indicate presence of bacteria, but it does not identify what type of bacteria is present in the urine sample. Another test, such as a urine culture, is often done in order to count the number of bacteria present and to determine the specific type of the infecting organism. When the urine culture grows two or more organisms present in the urine sample, the sample is frequently deemed contaminated. Growth of bacteria like Lactobacillus, a normal inhabitant of the urethra, may also not relate to the cause of urinary tract infection. Organisms often implicated in the development of UTI in men and women are Escherichia coli and Group D Streptococcus. Other organisms like Mycoplasma and Chlamydia can also cause UTI, and are frequently transmitted through sexual contact.

Does Bowel Bacteria Show Up in a Urinalysis?

To summarize, bowel bacteria can show up in the urine sample, but urinalysis may not be able to identify what specific type is actually present. A positive nitrate test and leukocyte esterase test is usually an indication of the presence of bacteria. A urine culture is frequently needed to specify the type of infecting agent.

References Routine Urinalysis Normal Laboratory Study Values

NKUDIC: Urinary Tract Infections in Adults