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My doctor found that I had a lot of bacteria growing in my urine but he said I didn’t need antibiotics because it’s not an infection. I don’t have any symptoms but I thought that bacteria in my urine means that I have a urinary tract infection. What does this mean for me?

Given that your age is greater than 65, two possibilities are likely:

  1. If the bacteria growing from your urine culture are multiple species, it is likely to be a contaminant and thus the test is voided and no antibiotics are prescribed. A new test would need to be ordered to confirm if you have any bacteria in your urine.
  2. Secondly, if you are not experiencing any urinary symptoms (fever, urge/dribbling, burning with urination, pelvic pain), it is likely that you have “asymptomatic bacturia” (defined as bacteria growing in the urinary tract without any symptoms of infection). Clinically, asymptomatic bacturia means that bacteria is growing on a urine culture but there are not many white blood cells (markers of immune response). Antibiotics are not routinely given for patients with asymptomatic bacturia but a repeat urine culture should be done in 2-3 months or if any symptoms do arise.