A urinalysis is a test used to analyze urine and diagnose possible conditions. This test can be performed in the doctor's office simply by collecting a urine sample from the patient. It can help detect the presence of infection or diseases that may not present with any symptoms.
A urinalysis may be performed as part of a routine medical exam to screen for early signs of illness. A urinalysis may be used to check for the following characteristics:
Urinalysis may also check for the presence of the following, in order to diagnose certain diseases or conditions:
- pH levels
- Red or white blood cells
- Hormone levels-especially during pregnancy
Reasons for Urinalysis
Urinalysis is used to detect various conditions and diseases, some of which may include:
- Urinary tract infection
- Kidney stones
- Kidney disease
- Bladder infections
- High blood pressure
Urinalysis may also be performed to monitor chronic conditions.
Methods of Urinalysis
The mechanics of testing the urine collected in a urinalysis are performed in several different ways.
Dip Stick Tests
A test strip or stick can be dipped into the specimen, providing a color change to signify positive or negative results of specific tests.
A straightforward test that involves a physical observation of the sample which measures physical characteristics of the urine.
A doctor may use the specific gravity of various substances within the urine to determine its composition, usually through the aid of a refractometer.
A sample of urine is examined under a microscope by looking for indications of infection, bacteria, or white blood cells in the urine. It may also be examined for the presence of of glucose, protein and other substances, which can be indicators of certain conditions.
It is important to notify the doctor of any medications or vitamins the patient is currently taking before undergoing a urine analysis. Many forms of medication, vitamins and even foods that are eaten can affect the results of this test.
- National Institutes of Health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
- U.S. National Library of Medicine