Disease and health disorders can affect your body’s ability to get rid of waste or toxins. Urinalysis is a common laboratory test used to examine urine. The results can help diagnose or rule out health concerns. Urinalysis is different from a pregnancy test or drug screening, even though each requires a urine sample.Find a CareNow® clinic near you
What is urinalysis?
Urinalysis is used to analyze the content of your urine. Healthcare providers use results to diagnose or screen for diseases or other health concerns. Urinalysis is also used before surgery, during pregnancy or as part of routine exams to screen for potential concerns.
Urine samples may be analyzed in three ways:
- Visual exam: A technician examines the urine’s appearance, looking for cloudiness (which indicates infection), signs of blood or abnormal odors.
- Dipstick test: Thin, plastic sticks with chemical strips are placed in urine. The strips check for substances such as acidity, protein, blood and sugar. Changes in color on the strips can indicate problems.
- Microscopic exam: Drops of urine are examined under a microscope. Additional testing may be needed if the technician finds abnormal levels of contents. High white blood cell counts, bacteria or yeast can indicate infection. Red blood cells can point to kidney disease or blood disorders. Protein casts can suggest kidney disease, and crystals could indicate kidney stones.
Why is urinalysis important?
Urinalysis can help healthcare providers detect or monitor various health concerns, including:
- Urinary tract infections
- Kidney stones
- Kidney disease
- High blood pressure
- Liver disease
What should I expect with urinalysis?
A healthcare provider will collect a urine sample to send to the lab for testing. You will be asked to urinate into a sterile cup. Your provider will give more specific instructions on how to collect a clean sample. You can return to usual activities right away.
A healthcare provider may recommend additional tests based on urinalysis results.
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