Asymptomatic Bacteriuria and Pyuria in Premenopausal Women

Thomas M. Hooton, Pacita L. Roberts, Ann E. Stapleton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Asymptomatic bacteriuria and pyuria in healthy women often trigger inappropriate antimicrobial treatment, but there is a paucity of data on their prevalence and persistence. Methods: To evaluate the prevalence and persistence of asymptomatic bacteriuria and pyuria in women at high risk of recurrent urinary tract infection, we conducted an observational cohort study in 104 healthy premenopausal women with a history of recurrent urinary tract infection with daily assessments of bacteriuria, pyuria, and urinary symptoms over a 3-month period. Results: The mean age of participants was 22 years, and 74% were white. Asymptomatic bacteriuria events (urine cultures with colony count ≥105 CFU/mL of a uropathogen on days with no symptomatic urinary tract infection diagnosed) occurred in 45 (45%) women on 159 (2.5%) of 6283 days. Asymptomatic bacteriuria events were most commonly caused by Escherichia coli, which was present on 1.4% of days, with a median duration of 1 day (range, 1-10). Pyuria occurred in 70 (78%) of 90 evaluable participants on at least 1 day and 25% of all days on which no symptomatic urinary tract infection was diagnosed. The positive predictive value of pyuria for E. coli asymptomatic bacteriuria was 4%. Conclusions: In this population of healthy women at high risk of recurrent urinary tract infection, asymptomatic bacteriuria is uncommon and, when present, rarely lasts more than 2 days. Pyuria, on the other hand, is common but infrequently associated with bacteriuria or symptoms. These data strongly support recommendations not to screen for or treat asymptomatic bacteriuria or pyuria in healthy, nonpregnant women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1332-1338
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • ASB
  • Antimicrobial stewardship
  • Asymptomatic bacteriuria
  • Pyuria
  • UTI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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