Asymptomatic bacteriuria is a significant number of bacteria in the urine that occurs without usual symptoms such as burning during urination or frequent urination.
Asymptomatic bacteriuria may not need treatment, which makes it different from a bacterial
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Asymptomatic bacteriuria occurs in a small number of healthy individuals. It more often affects women than men. The reasons for the lack of symptoms are not well understood.
Most patients with asymptomatic bacteriuria do not need treatment because the bacteria are not causing any harm. Persons who have urinary catheters often will have bacteriuria, but most will not have symptoms.
Certain people are at a higher risk for kidney infections if they develop asymptomatic bacteriuria. The following increases your risk:
- Infected kidney stones
- Kidney transplant
- Older age
- Pregnancy — up to 40% of pregnant women with untreated asymptomatic bacteriuria will develop a kidney infection
Vesicoureteral refluxin young children
By definition, asymptomatic bacteriuria causes no symptoms. The symptoms of a urinary tract infection include burning during urination, an increased urgency to urinate, and increased frequency of urination.
Signs and tests
Asymptomatic bacteriuria is detected by the discovery of significant bacterial growth in a urine culture taken from a urine sample.
Pregnant women, kidney transplant recipients, children with vesicoureteral reflux, and those with infected kidney stones are more likely to be given antibiotics.
Giving antibiotics to persons who have long-term urinary catheters in place may cause additional problems. The bacteria may be more difficult to treat and the patients may develop a yeast infection.
If asymptomatic bacteriuria is found before a urinary tract procedure, it should be treated to prevent complications. The course of treatment in these cases depends on the person’s risk factors.
Untreated, asymptomatic bacteriuria can lead to a kidney infection in high-risk individuals.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if the following symptoms occur:
Difficulty emptying your bladder
Flank or back pain
Pain with urination
You will need to be evaluated for a bladder or kidney infection.