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Urinalysis

Urine appearance and color; Routine urine test

Urinalysis is the physical, chemical, and microscopic examination of urine. It involves a number of tests to detect and measure various compounds that pass through the urine.

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Female urinary tract
Male urinary tract

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How the Test is Performed

A urine sample is needed. Your health care provider will tell you what type of urine sample is needed. Two common methods of collecting urine are 24-hour urine collection and clean catch urine specimen.

The sample is sent to a lab, where it is examined for the following:

PHYSICAL COLOR AND APPEARANCE

How the urine sample looks to the naked eye:

MICROSCOPIC APPEARANCE

The urine sample is examined under a microscope to:

CHEMICAL APPEARANCE (urine chemistry)

Examples of specific urinalysis tests that may done to check for problems include:

How to Prepare for the Test

Certain medicines change the color of urine, but this is not a sign of disease. Your provider may tell you to stop taking any medicines that can affect test results.

Medicines that can change your urine color include:

How the Test will Feel

The test involves only normal urination, and there is no discomfort.

Why the Test is Performed

A urinalysis may be done:

Normal Results

Normal urine varies in color from almost colorless to dark yellow. Some foods, such as beets and blackberries, may turn urine red.

Usually, glucose, ketones, protein, and bilirubin are not detectable in urine. The following are not normally found in urine:

Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different samples. Talk to your provider about the meaning of your specific test results.

What Abnormal Results Mean

Abnormal results may mean you have an illness, such as:

Your provider can discuss the results with you.

Risks

There are no risks.

Considerations

If a home test is used, the person reading the results must be able to see the difference between colors, because the results are interpreted using a color chart.

Related Information

Urinary tract infection - adults
Diabetes
Urine - bloody
Protein in diet
Vitamin C
Acute nephritic syndrome
Acute tubular necrosis
Alkalosis
Alport syndrome
Analgesic nephropathy
Anorexia
Atheroembolic renal disease
Bladder stones
Urinary tract infection - children
Chronic kidney disease
Congenital nephrotic syndrome
Cystinuria
Delirium
Dementia
Dementia due to metabolic causes
Diabetes insipidus - central
Diabetes and kidney disease
Epididymitis
Failure to thrive
Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis
Goodpasture syndrome
Heart failure - overview
Hemolytic-uremic syndrome
Henoch-Schönlein purpura
Type 1 diabetes
IgA nephropathy
Injury - kidney and ureter
Interstitial nephritis
Urge incontinence
Lupus nephritis
Malignant hypertension
Medullary cystic kidney disease
Membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis
Membranous nephropathy
Myelomeningocele
Necrotizing vasculitis
Nephrotic syndrome
Type 2 diabetes
Orchitis
Ovarian cancer
Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH)
Polycystic kidney disease
Post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis (GN)
Prerenal azotemia
Primary amyloidosis
Prostate cancer
Prostatitis - bacterial
Reflux nephropathy
Renal papillary necrosis
Distal renal tubular acidosis
Proximal renal tubular acidosis
Renal vein thrombosis
Retrograde ejaculation
Rhabdomyolysis
Secondary systemic amyloidosis
Stress urinary incontinence
Systemic lupus erythematosus
Scleroderma
Traumatic injury of the bladder and urethra
Ureterocele
Urethral stricture
Urethritis
Granulomatosis with polyangiitis
Wilms tumor

References

McPherson RA, Ben-Ezra J. Basic examination of urine. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 28.

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Review Date: 1/31/2015  

Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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