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Asymptomatic Bacteriuria

Asymptomatic bacteriuria is a common condition in which bacteria are present in the urine but there are no symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI). It usually goes away without treatment, but it can be permanent in some people.

Asymptomatic bacteriuria is common in pregnant women, older adults, and people who need a catheter to urinate. Pregnant women are screened for it and treated with antibiotics, because asymptomatic bacteriuria can cause preterm labor and other problems if not treated.

Doctors disagree about whether treatment is needed for this condition or if treatment should be reserved for UTIs with symptoms. But three groups that should be treated for asymptomatic bacteriuria include:

  • Pregnant women.
  • People who have had kidney transplants.
  • People who are about to have surgery involving the urinary tract.

Last Revised: May 13, 2013

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Avery L. Seifert, MD - Urology

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