A urinalysis is a test to test your urine. It is used to detect and manage a wide range of disorders, like urinary tract infections, kidney disease, and diabetes.
A urinalysis includes checking the appearance, concentration, and content of the urine. For example, a urinary tract infection could make urine look cloudy instead of clear. Increased levels of protein in urine could be a sign of kidney disease.
Unusual urinalysis results often require more testing to find the source of the issue.
A urinalysis is a common test that is done for several reasons:
Other tests, such as pregnancy testing and drug screenings, may rely on a urine sample, but these tests look for substances that are not included in a typical urinalysis.
If you are having only a urinalysis, you could eat and drink before the test. If you are having other tests, you may need to fast before the test. Your health care provider will give you certain instructions.
Many drugs, including non-prescription medications and supplements, could affect the results of a urinalysis. Before a urinalysis, inform your doctor about medications, vitamins, or other supplements you take.
You may collect a urine sample at home or at your health care provider's office. Providers generally give out containers for urine samples. You may be asked to collect the sample at home first thing in the morning when your urine is more concentrated.
In some cases, if needed, your provider could insert a thin, flexible tube (catheter) through the urinary tract opening and into the bladder to collect the urine sample.
The urine sample is sent to a laboratory for analysis. You could return to your usual activities immediately.
For a urinalysis, your urine sample is assessed in three ways: visual exam, dipstick test, and microscopic exam.
A laboratory technician examines the urine's appearance. Urine is generally clear. Cloudiness or an unusual odor could indicate a problem, like an infection. Protein in urine could make it appear foamy.
Blood in the urine could make it look red or brown. Urine color could be influenced by what you have just eaten or by certain drugs you are taking. For example, beets or rhubarb may tint your urine red.
A dipstick — a thin, plastic stick with strips of chemicals on it — is put into the urine. The chemical strips change color if specific substances are present or if their levels are above typical levels. A dipstick test checks for:
Sometimes performed as part of a urinalysis, this test involves viewing drops of concentrated urine — urine that has been spun in a machine — under a microscope. If any of the following levels are above average, you may need more tests:
A urinalysis alone generally does not provide a definite diagnosis. Depending on the reason your provider recommended this test, you may need follow-up for unusual results. Evaluation of the urinalysis results with other tests could help your provider determine the next steps.
Getting standard test results from a urinalysis does not guarantee that you are not ill. It might be too early to detect disease or your urine can be too diluted. Inform your provider if you still have signs and symptoms.
For specifics about what your urinalysis results mean, speak with your health care provider.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from disorders like UTI or kidney disease, our expert providers at Texas Specialty Clinic will take care of your health and help you recover.