Click here to return to the LMHS Home Page

 

Print-Friendly
Bookmarks

Urine specific gravity test

Urine density

 

Urine specific gravity is a laboratory test that shows the concentration of all chemical particles in the urine.

How the Test is Performed

 

After you provide a urine sample, it is tested right away. The health care provider uses a dipstick made with a color-sensitive pad. The color the dipstick changes to will tell the provider the specific gravity of your urine. The dipstick test gives only a rough result. For a more accurate result, your provider may send your urine sample to a lab.

 

How to Prepare for the Test

 

Your provider will ask you to temporarily stop taking any medicines that may affect the test results. These may include dextran and sucrose. Be sure to tell your provider about all the medicines you take. DO NOT stop taking any medicine before talking to your provider.

Also tell your provider if you recently received intravenous dye (contrast medium) for an x-ray. Contrast dye can also affect test results.

 

How the Test will Feel

 

The test involves only normal urination. There is no discomfort.

 

Why the Test is Performed

 

This test helps evaluate your body's water balance and urine concentration.

 

Normal Results

 

Osmolality is a more specific test for urine concentration. The urine specific gravity test is easier and more convenient, and is usually part of a routine urinalysis. The osmolality test may not be needed.

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

 

What Abnormal Results Mean

 

Increased urine specific gravity may be due to conditions such as:

  • Loss of body fluids (dehydration)
  • Diarrhea that causes dehydration
  • Heart failure
  • Sugar (glucose) in the urine
  • Syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH)

Decreased urine specific gravity may be due to:

  • Damage to kidney tubule cells (renal tubular necrosis)
  • Diabetes insipidus
  • Drinking too much fluid
  • Kidney failure

 

Risks

 

There are no risks with this test.

 

 

References

Fogazzi GB, Garigali G. Urinalysis. In: Johnson RJ, Feehally J, Floege J, eds. Comprehensive Clinical Nephrology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 4.

Gerber GS, Brendler CB. Evaluation of the urologic patient: history, physical examination, and urinalysis. In: Wein AJ, Kavoussi LR, Novick AC, et al, eds. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 3.

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.

BACK TO TOPText only

 
  • Female urinary tract

    Female urinary tract

    illustration

  • Male urinary tract

    Male urinary tract

    illustration

    • Female urinary tract

      Female urinary tract

      illustration

    • Male urinary tract

      Male urinary tract

      illustration

    A Closer Look

     

    Talking to your MD

     

      Self Care

       

        Tests for Urine specific gravity test

         
         

        Review Date: 8/29/2015

        Reviewed By: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

        The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
        adam.com

         
         
         

         

         

        A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.