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test checks different components of urine, a waste product made by the
kidneys. A regular urine test may be done to help find
the cause of symptoms. The test can give information about your health and
problems you may have.
kidneys take out waste material, minerals, fluids, and
other substances from the blood to be passed in the urine. Urine has hundreds
of different body wastes. What you eat and drink, how much you exercise, and how
well your kidneys work can affect what is in your urine.
100 different tests can be done on urine. A regular
urinalysis often includes the following tests:
A urine test may be done:
Do not eat foods that can color the
urine, such as blackberries, beets, and rhubarb, before the test. Do not
exercise strenuously before the test.
Tell your doctor if you are menstruating or close to starting your menstrual
period. Your doctor may want to wait to do the test.
Your doctor may ask
you to stop taking certain medicines that color the urine. These include
vitamin B, phenazopyridine (Pyridium), rifampin, and phenytoin (Dilantin). Be
sure to tell your doctor if you are taking
diuretics, which may affect the test results.
Talk to your doctor any concerns you have regarding
the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will
mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
A routine urine test can be done in your
doctor's office, clinic, or lab. You may also be asked to collect
a urine sample at home and bring it with you to the office or lab for
Collecting a urine sample from a small child or baby is done by using a special plastic bag with tape around
its opening. The bag is placed around the child's genitals until he or she urinates. Then you carefully remove
the bag. To collect a urine sample from a very sick baby, a doctor may use a urinary catheter through the
urethra or a needle through the baby's belly directly into the bladder (suprapubic tap).
collects the urine your body is making right now.
Return the urine sample to the lab. If you are
collecting the urine at home and cannot get it to the lab in an hour,
Your doctor may ask you to collect your urine for 24 hours.
Return the urine sample to the lab.
There is no discomfort in collecting a urine sample.
There is no chance for problems in collecting a urine sample.
A urine test checks different components
of urine, a waste product made by the
The normal values listed here—called a reference range—are just a guide. These ranges vary from lab to lab, and your lab may have a different range for what's normal. Your lab report should contain the range your lab uses. Also, your doctor will evaluate your results based on your health and other factors. This means that a value that falls outside the normal values listed here may still be normal for you or your lab.
to dark yellow
Many foods and
medicines can affect the color of the urine. Urine with no color may be caused
by long-term kidney disease or uncontrolled
diabetes. Dark yellow urine can be caused by
dehydration. Red urine can be caused by blood in the
Cloudy urine can
be caused by pus (white blood cells), blood (red blood cells), sperm, bacteria, yeast, crystals, mucus, or a
parasite infection, such as
Some foods (such
as asparagus), vitamins, and antibiotics (such as penicillin) can cause urine
to have a different odor. A sweet, fruity odor may be caused by uncontrolled
urinary tract infection (UTI) can cause a bad odor.
Urine that smells like maple syrup can mean maple syrup urine disease, when the
body can't break down certain
A very high
specific gravity means very concentrated urine, which may be caused by not
drinking enough fluid, loss of too much fluid (excessive vomiting, sweating, or
diarrhea), or substances (such as sugar or protein) in the urine. Very low
specific gravity means dilute urine, which may be caused by drinking too much
fluid, severe kidney disease, or the use of
Some foods (such
as citrus fruit and dairy products) and medicines (such as antacids) can affect
pH. A high (alkaline) pH can be caused by severe
vomiting, a kidney disease, some urinary tract infections, and
asthma. A low (acidic) pH may be caused by severe lung
disease (emphysema), uncontrolled diabetes, aspirin overdose,
severe diarrhea, dehydration, starvation, drinking too much alcohol, or
drinking antifreeze (ethylene glycol).
Protein in the
urine may mean that kidney damage, an infection, cancer,
high blood pressure, diabetes,
systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), or
glomerulonephritis is present.
in the urine may also mean that
leukemia, poison (lead or mercury poisoning), or
preeclampsia (if you are pregnant) is
1–15 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or 60–830 micromoles per liter (mcmol/L) in a 24-hour sample.1
A one-time urine collection, if normal, will be negative for glucose.1
Intravenous (IV) fluids can cause glucose to be in the
urine. Too much glucose in the urine may be caused by uncontrolled diabetes, an
adrenal gland problem, liver damage, brain injury,
certain types of poisoning, and some types of kidney diseases. Healthy pregnant
women can have glucose in their urine, which is normal during
Ketones in the
urine can mean uncontrolled diabetes, a very low-carbohydrate diet, starvation
or eating disorders (such as
anorexia nervosa or
bulimia), alcoholism, or poisoning from drinking
rubbing alcohol (isopropanol). Ketones are often found in the urine when a
person does not eat (fasts) for 18 hours or longer. This may occur when a
person is sick and cannot eat or vomits for several days. Low levels of ketones
are sometimes found in the urine of healthy pregnant women.
Very few or no red
or white blood cells or casts are seen. No bacteria, yeast cells, parasites, or
squamous cells are present. A few crystals are normally seen.
Red blood cells in
the urine may be caused by kidney or bladder injury,
kidney stones, a urinary tract infection (UTI),
inflammation of the kidneys (glomerulonephritis), a kidney or
bladder tumor, or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). White blood cells (pus)
in the urine may be caused by a urinary tract infection, bladder tumor,
inflammation of the kidneys, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), or
inflammation in the vagina or under the foreskin of the penis.
Depending on the type, casts can mean inflammation or damage to the tiny
tubes in the kidneys, poor blood supply to the kidneys, metal poisoning (such
as lead or mercury),
heart failure, or a
Large amounts of
crystals, or certain types of crystals, can mean kidney stones, damaged
kidneys, or problems with
metabolism. Some medicines and some types of urinary
tract infections can also increase the number of crystals in urine.
Bacteria in the urine mean a urinary tract infection (UTI). Yeast cells
or parasites (such as the parasite that causes trichomoniasis) can mean an
infection of the urinary tract.
The presence of
squamous cells may mean that the sample is not as pure
as it needs to be. These cells do not mean there is a medical problem, but your
doctor may ask that you give another urine sample.
800–2,500 milliliters (mL) per 24 hours.1
Reasons you may not be able to
have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
CitationsFischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009).
Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed.
Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.Other Works ConsultedChernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis:
Saunders.Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009).
Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed.
Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.
September 4, 2012
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Avery L. Seifert, MD - Urology
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