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Urinalysis

Alternate Names

  • routine urine test
  • urine appearance and color

Definition

A urinalysis is a test that has two components.

How is the test performed?

First, the person washes around the urethra, the tube that passes urine out of the body. This prevents contamination of the sample with bacteria in the area.
The person then carefully collects their urine (about 60ccs or "2 shot glasses full"). The person then covers the container and gives it to the healthcare provider.
The sample is usually sent to a laboratory for urinalysis, but some physicians do their own testing in the office.
It is best to do most tests within 15 minutes from the time the urine was collected.

What is involved in preparation for the test?

People may ask their doctors how to prepare for the test. Sometimes physicians prefer early morning specimens.

What do the test results mean?

Normal test results for urine are:
  • color: varies from colorless to dark yellow. Certain foods may stain it.
  • specific gravity: ranges from 1.006 to 1.030. The higher the number, the more concentrated the urine. The urine osmolality is a better test.
  • pH, or relative acidity or alkalinity: ranges from 4.6 to 8.0. The average is 6.0, which is slightly acidic.
  • sugars, ketones, and proteins: None present.
  • blood: no red blood cells or hemoglobin are present.
  • bilirubin: none.
  • white blood cells: none.

Abnormal test results for urine are:
  • color: reddish suggesting blood or cloudy suggesting infection..
  • specific gravity: depends on when the specimen was collected. Early morning urine should be concentrated (1.014 or more). Low morning specimens may indicate kidney disorders.
  • pH: overly alkaline urine (close to 8 or above) may suggest a bacterial infection. This warrants medical attention.
  • sugar and ketones, usually tested together: high levels of glucose and ketones may indicate diabetes.
  • protein: any present may indicate kidney disorders.
  • blood: any present may indicate bleeding from the kidney or surrounding structures, a urinary tract infection, or trauma from rigorous exercise.
  • bilirubin: may indicate blood, liver or bile duct disease.
  • nitrites and white blood cells: their presence may indicate a urinary tract infection.
An abnormal urinalysis usually leads to more tests like protein collections, kidney function tests, images, like a CT scan or ultrasound, and specialty evaluation, like a urologist or kidney specialist .

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