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Urinalysis Test – Symptoms, Test Includes, & Risk

Urinalysis is a popular test that assesses several areas of your health using a urine sample. Your healthcare provider may order a urinalysis test to monitor or screen for some health conditions. It may also aid in diagnosing a urinary tract infection.

What isa urinalysis test?

Urinalysis or urine test examines the urine’s chemical, microscopic and physical aspects. It may include several tests that measure and detect different compounds in the urine. Healthcare professionals use urinalysis tests to monitor and screen health conditions like diabetes, kidney disease and liver disease. It may also help in diagnosing urinary tract infections.

Your healthcare professional will assess your symptoms before recommending tests under urinalysis.

Which tests does urinalysis include?

Your doctor may include several tests in your urinalysis, and the tests will depend on your current health conditions and symptoms. The lab technician will examine the urine sample for urinalysis under these broad aspects.

  • Microscopic findings
  • Chemical findings
  • Colour and appearance

Urine appearance and colour

During most urinalysis testing, the lab technician will examine the appearance of the urine. They will check if the urine is cloudy, clear, dark yellow, pale, or another colour. The normal colour of the urine is a shade of yellow. It may also range from colourless to pale yellow or deep amber, depending on the dilution or concentration of the urine.

Different things affect the urine’s colour, including foods you eat like beets, supplements and medications. However, the unusual colour of urine may indicate ahealth condition.

For example, if the urine is red, blood is in the urine and may be a sign of damage or disease in the urinary tract.

Cloudy urine does not always indicate you’re unhealthy. For example, skin and sperm cells may make the urine cloudy. However, other substances like bacteria, white blood cells and red bleed cells can make urine cloudy and are harmful, indicating conditions such as:

  • Urinary tract infection or UTI
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney stones
  • Sexually transmitted infections and diseases (STIs and STDs)
  • Dehydration

Chemical findings

The healthcare provider will use a special strip known as a dipstick to determine the chemical aspect of the urine. The dipstick tests for chemicals in the urine. The strip has chemical pads that change colour when contacting specific substances in the urine.

The extent of colour change on the chemical pads gives an approximate value of substances in the urine. For instance, a slight change in colour in the protein’s chemical pad indicates a small protein level in the urine, but a deep colour change will indicate a high amount of protein.

Your healthcare provider may include the following tests requiring a urinalysis dipstick.

  • Protein urine test

This test checks the presence and levels of proteins like albumin in a urine sample. If the protein level is higher than normal, it may indicate health issues such as dehydration, kidney disease or heart failure.

  • Urine pH level test

This test checks the pH or acid-base level of a urine sample. A urine sample with high pH indicates conditions such as urinary tract infection or UTI and kidney issues, while a low pH may be due to diarrhoea and diabetes-related ketoacidosis.

  • Ketone urine test

Ketones accumulate in your body when the body breaks down fatty acids and fats to serve as the fuel for energy. It usually occurs when the body has insufficient carbohydrates or sugar to act as fuel. The ketone urine test is usually for diagnosing ketoacidosis resulting from diabetes.

  • Glucose urine test

This test measures sugar or glucose in the urine. A healthy person doesn’t have glucose in the urine as this usually indicates gestational diabetes or diabetes.

  • Bilirubin urine test

Bilirubin is the yellowish pigment in the bile produced by the liver. If bilirubin is present in the liver, you may have bile duct or liver condition.

  • Nitrite urine test

If nitrite is present in the urine, it indicates UTI, but some bacteria cannot convert nitrate to nitrite, so your nitrate test may be negative when bacteria are in the urine.

  • Urine-specific gravity test

This test checks the concentration of the chemical particles in the urine. An abnormal result may be a sign of different health issues.

  • Leukocyte esterase test

You need to know that leukocyte esterase is actually an enzyme in most WBCs or white blood cells. If this test is positive, you may have kidney or say, urinary tract inflammation. The common cause of white blood cells in the urine is bacterial UTI.

Urine microscopic findings

The laboratory technician may examine the urine sample with a microscope to check for minute particles in the urine, such as:

  • Cell fragments
  • Mucus
  • Cells
  • Bacteria
  • Urinary cysts
  • Crystals

The microscopic test may include the following.

  • Red blood cell or RBC urine test

An increased number of red blood cells in the urine indicates the presence of blood. However, the test will not identify the source of the blood. For example, blood in urine may be due to vaginal bleeding or contamination with haemorrhoids; this test cannot differentiate them.

In certaincases, elevated RBC levels in the urine indicated urinary tract, bladder or kidney problems.

  • White blood cells or WBC urine test

An elevatednumber of white blood cells and a positive leukocyte esterase may indicate an inflammation or infection in the urinary tract.

  • Epithelial cells

These are the cells lining the external and internal body surfaces, hollow organs and body cavities.The urinary tract is lined with epithelial cells. While it is normal for epithelial cells to be present in the urine, elevated levels indicate inflammation, infection or cancer of the urinary tract.

  • Urinary casts

Urinary casts are small tube-like particles that may be present in the urine. They are from protein the kidney cells release. Some types of casts are due to kidney issues, but some are normal.

  • Yeast, parasites and bacteria

Bacteria may enter the urinary tract and urethra, causing UTIs. The urine sample may also get contaminated with parasites, yeast and bacteria, especially for those with a vagina. Yeast contamination in urine is common with a vaginal yeast infection.

Some people also have the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis in their urine, which causes trichomoniasis.

Why is urinalysis necessary?

Health care professionals request a urinalysis test for different reasons because the urine sample can give an insight into different aspects of your health. A doctor may order the test for the following reasons.

  • You are experiencing signs of health problems such as kidney disease or diabetes.
  • As a part of routine medical exams to check for early signs of some health conditions
  • To diagnose UTI or urinary tract infection
  • As a part of a preparatory check for surgery
  • To monitor health conditions for treatments such as kidney disease or diabetes

How common is the urinalysis test?

Urinalysis is quite common. This test is a non-invasive and simple way to check different health aspects.

How is a urine culture different from urinalysis?

Aurine culture test UKrequires growing bacteria from theurine sample in the laboratory. This test diagnoses different infections, including a urinary tract infection. This test isn’t part of a routine urinalysis test.

However, it also requires a mid-stream urine sample or inserting a catheter through your urethra into the bladder to collect urine.

If a urinalysis test shows signs of an STI, the doctor may request a urine culture in the lab with the urine sample provided for the urinalysis test. A urine culture test will determine the bacterium that causes the UTI.

A urinalysis test may include different tests, assessments and measurementsof different areas of your health.

How can I prepare for the urinalysis test?

Before a urinalysis test, ensure you take a lot of fluid so you can produce the urine sample. Depending on why you need the urinalysis test, the healthcare professional may need the urine sample to be your first urine in the morning.

Some medications may alter the colour of the urine, so your doctor may advise you to cease taking any medication that may affect your test result. Do not stop a medication except your doctor instructs you.

If you are on your period, ensure you inform the provider before producing the urine sample because menstrual blood and vaginal discharge can affect your urinalysis result.

What do I expect during the urinalysis test?

Most times, the urinalysis test is in the doctor’s office or lab and requires a clean catch method for urine sample collection. This aims to prevent contaminating the sample with genital cells. You can collect the urine, or your provider can do so with a catheter.

In the clean-catch urine sample collection method, the provider will provide sterile wipes and a specimen cup, including instructions on collecting the urine sample. Before collecting your sample, wash your hands with water and soap.

How to collect a clean catch urine sample for people with labia

For thosewith labia, collect clean catch urine with the following steps.

  • Sit on the toilet and spread your legs apart
  • Open your labia with two fingers, then use a sterile wipe to clean the inner labia folds, but wipe from front to back
  • Using another sterile wipe, clean over the urethra. This is the opening your urine follows from
  • Urinate into the toilet
  • Step your urine flow and hold the urine sample container a few inches from your urethra
  • Urinate into the cup. Ensure it is half full or as instructed by the provider
  • Finish urinating in the toilet

How to collect clean catch urine for people with a penis

For those with a penis, collect clean catch urine with the following steps.

  • Wipe the head of your penis using a sterile wipe, but if you have an uncircumcised penis, pull back the foreskin before cleaning the area properly.
  • Urinate into the toilet
  • Step your urine flow and hold the cup a couple of inches from the urethra
  • Urinate into the sample cup as your provider instructed or half full
  • Finish urinating in the toilet

How to collect a urine sample using a catheter

You can collect your urine sample with a catheter, or the health care provider will assist you using these steps

  • Thoroughly clean the area surrounding the urethral opening with an antiseptic solution
  • Insert the thin rubber tube called a catheter into the urethra
  • Urine will drain into the sterile container
  • Remove the catheter

What you should expect after the urinalysis test

After collecting the urine sample, the healthcare professional will send the sample to the lab to test and view the urine under a microscope. The provider may immediately examine the urine sample with a dipstick test.

What are the risks of urinalysis?

Collecting urine with the clean catch method for the urinalysis test has no risks. The procedure is non-invasive and painless. If the urine sample collection is with a catheter, the risk of infection is present. The sample collection may also cause discomfort and pain.

When will I get my urinalysis test result?

Usually, urinalysis test results are available within 1 – 2 working days.

How can I interpret the urinalysis test result?

Depending on the test your healthcare professional ordered for the urinalysis, your test may have a few or manymeasurements.

The laboratory and urinalysis results will have this information.

  • The urine test’s name and the parameters measured
  • The measurement, assessment or number of your urine test result
  • The normal result range of the tests
  • Information indicating if the result is abnormal or normal

Urine clarity shows how clear the urine sample was at the time of sample collection. Most labs categorise urine clarity as:

  • Turbid (thick or opaque in suspended solution)
  • Clear
  • Cloudy
  • Slightly clouded

If the urinalysis involves a chemical test like nitrite or urine test, the result will be positive or negative and may indicate the number of substances.

If the test involves a microscopic urine test like checking for bacteria or RBCs, the result will be:

  • Many
  • Moderate
  • Few

What is the meaning of a urinalysis result?

A urinalysis result can have different interpretations because it involves different tests. An abnormal urinalysis test may indicate a medical issue but doesn’t always give a conclusive result.

Further testing will be necessary if the result is abnormal, like an imaging or blood test to diagnose the specific condition.

Generally, the higher the concentration level of the normal substance like RBCs or glucose, the higher the chances of a medical issue being present. Urinalysis is rarely used alone for diagnosing conditions. But, the result can give insight into the general and point the doctor in the right direction for the right diagnosis.

You can consult your doctor if you do not understand your result.

Do I need to be concerned if my urinalysis result is abnormal?

If a parameter in the urinalysis test result is abnormal, it doesn’t mean you have a medical issue. Different factors can affect your urinalysis result, including the following.

  • Contamination of germs and other substances like menstrual blood or vaginal discharge during the sample collection
  • Some supplements and medications, such as vitamin C supplements and metronidazole
  • Error when processing the urine sample

Your doctor will consider your current medications, medical history and result to determine if you need further testing.

When do I need to contact my doctor?

If a change in your urine, like a change in consistency, odour and colour, occurs, ensure you consult your doctor. Contact your doctor if you notice UTI symptoms, including a burning sensation while urinating or a persistent urge to pee.

You can visit Private Blood Tests London for your urinalysis or private urine culture test. Feel free to reach us on 020 7183 0244 to schedule an appointment for your urine test.