Urinalysis is the physical, chemical, and microscopic examination of urine. It involves a number of tests to detect and measure various compounds that pass through the urine.
Urine appearance and color; Routine urine test
How the test is performed
A urine sample is needed. Your health care provider will tell you what type of urine sample is needed. Two common methods of collecting urine are
The sample is sent to a lab, where it is examined for the following:
Physical color and appearance:
What does the urine look like to the naked eye?
Is it clear or cloudy?
Is it pale or dark yellow or another color?
The urine sample is examined under a microscope to look at cells, urine crystals, mucus, and other substances in the sample, and to identify any bacteria or other germs that might be present.
Chemical appearance (
A special stick (dipstick) tests for various substances in the urine. The stick contains little pads of chemicals that change color when they come in contact with the substances of interest.
How to prepare for the test
Certain medicines change the color of urine, but this is not a sign of disease. Your health care provider may tell you to stop taking any medicines that can affect test results.
Medicines that can change your urine color include:
How the test will feel
The test involves only normal urination, and there is no discomfort.
Why the test is performed
A urinalysis may be done:
As part of a routine medical exam to screen for early signs of disease
If you have signs of
diabetesor kidney disease, or to monitor you if you are being treated for these conditions
To check for
blood in the urine
To diagnose a
urinary tract infection
Additional conditions under which the test may be performed:
- Acute bilateral obstructive uropathy
Acute nephritic syndrome Acute tubular necrosis
- Acute unilateral obstructive uropathy
Alkalosis Alport syndrome Analgesic nephropathy Anorexia nervosa Atheroembolic renal disease Atrial myxoma Bladder stones
- Chronic bilateral obstructive uropathy
- Chronic glomerulonephritis
Chronic or recurrent urinary tract infection Chronic renal failure
- Chronic unilateral obstructive uropathy
- Chronic urethritis
- Complicated UTI (pyelonephritis)
Congenital nephrotic syndrome Cystinuria Delirium Dementia Dementia due to metabolic causes Diabetes insipidus — central Diabetic nephropathy/sclerosis Enuresis Epididymitis Failure to thrive Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis Goodpasture syndrome Heart failure Hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) Henoch-Schonlein purpura Insulin-dependent diabetes (IDD) IgA nephropathy (Berger disease) Injury of the kidney and ureter Interstitial nephritis Irritable bladder
- Left-sided heart failure
Lupus nephritis Malignant hypertension (arteriolar nephrosclerosis) Medullary cystic kidney disease Membranoproliferative GN I
- Membranoproliferative GN II
Membranous nephropathy Myelomeningocele (children) Necrotizing vasculitis Nephrotic syndrome Noninsulin-dependent diabetes (NIDD) Orchitis Ovarian cancer Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) Polycystic kidney disease Post-streptococcal GN Prerenal azotemia Primary amyloidosis Prostate cancer Prostatitis, acute
- Prostatitis, chronic
- Prostatitis, nonbacterial
- Pyelonephritis, acute
- Rapidly progressive (crescentic) glomerulonephritis
Reflux nephropathy Renal papillary necrosis Renal tubular acidosis, distal Renal tubular acidosis, proximal Renal vein thrombosis Retrograde ejaculation Rhabdomyolysis
- Right-sided heart failure
Secondary systemic amyloidosis Stress incontinence Systemic lupus erythematosus Systemic sclerosis (scleroderma)
- Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura
Traumatic injury of the bladder and urethra Ureterocele Urethral stricture Urethritis Wegener granulomatosis Wilms tumor
Normal urine may vary in color from almost colorless to dark yellow. Some foods (like beets and blackberries) may turn the urine a red color.
Usually, glucose, ketones, protein, and bilirubin are not detectable in urine. The following are not normally found in urine:
Red blood cells
White blood cells
Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your health care provider about the meaning of your specific test results.
What abnormal results mean
Abnormal results may mean you have an illness. Your health care provider will discuss the results with you.
What the risks are
There are no risks.
If a home test is used, the person reading the results must be able to tell the difference between different colors, since the results are interpreted using a color chart.