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Urinalysis

  • Definition
    • 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.

  • Alternative Names
    • Urine appearance and color; Routine urine test

  • How the Test is Performed
  • How to Prepare for the Test
    • Certain medicines change the color of urine, but this is not a sign of disease. Your provider may tell you to stop taking any medicines that can affect test results.

      Medicines that can change your urine color include:

      • Chloroquine
      • Iron supplements
      • Levodopa
      • Nitrofurantoin
      • Phenazopyridine
      • Phenothiazine
      • Phenytoin
      • Riboflavin
      • Triamterene
  • 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 diabetes or 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
  • Normal Results
    • Normal urine varies in color from almost colorless to dark yellow. Some foods, such as beets and blackberries, may turn urine red.

      Usually, glucose, ketones, protein, and bilirubin are not detectable in urine. The following are not normally found in urine:

      • Hemoglobin
      • Nitrites
      • Red blood cells
      • White blood cells

      Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different samples. Talk to your provider about the meaning of your specific test results.

  • What Abnormal Results Mean
  • Risks
    • There are no risks.

  • Considerations
    • If a home test is used, the person reading the results must be able to see the difference between colors, because the results are interpreted using a color chart.

  • References
    • McPherson RA, Ben-Ezra J. Basic examination of urine. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 28.