Urinalysis (Urine Tests)

What is a urinalysis?

Urinalysis is a test of your urine. It checks for infection and substances in the urine that indicate kidney or other diseases.

Why is it done?

This test may be done to check your overall health. It may also be done to check for:

  • Bacteria in the urine, which may be a sign of infections of the urinary tract (kidneys, bladder, and the tubes that connect them)
  • Blood in the urine, which may be a sign of an infection, bladder cancer, or a blood disorder
  • Sugar in the urine, which may be a sign of diabetes
  • Proteins in the urine, which may be a sign of kidney problems
  • Crystals in the urine, which may be a sign of kidney stones

How do I prepare for this test?

Make sure your healthcare provider knows about any medicines, herbs, or supplements that you are taking. You may need to avoid taking certain medicines before the test because they might affect the test result. Ask your provider before stopping any of your regular medicines.

How is the test done?

There are 2 methods for collecting a urine specimen:

  • For the clean-catch method, you clean your genital area, start urinating, and then catch some of the urine in a cup.
  • The catheterization method may be used if you have trouble with the clean-catch method, or if a sample is needed from an infant or young child. Your healthcare provider cleans the genital area and then passes a thin flexible tube through the opening of the bladder to collect a sample of urine.

The urine is sent to the lab and tested. If you have an infection, it may take several days to find out what kind of germ is causing it. Knowing what germ is causing the infection helps your provider choose the right medicine to treat it.

Ask your health care provider when and how you will get the result of your test.

What does the test result mean?

The tests can show the presence of:

  • An infection of the urinary tract
  • A disease
  • A problem with the urinary tract, such as kidney stones

What if my test result is not normal?

Test results are only one part of a larger picture that takes into account your medical history and current health. Sometimes a test needs to be repeated to check the first result. Talk to your healthcare provider about your result and ask questions such as:

  • If you need more tests
  • What kind of treatment you might need
  • What lifestyle, diet, or other changes you might need to make
Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-03-04
Last reviewed: 2014-05-07
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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