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Test Overview

The strips change color if a substance is present at a level that is above normal. Some of the things a dipstick examination can check for include:. A urinalysis can help to detect many diseases before you feel symptoms. Finding and treating a problem early can help keep serious diseases from getting worse.

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Some of the things a dipstick examination can check for include: Acidity pH is a measure of the amount of acid in the urine. A pH that is above normal may be a sign of kidney stones, urinary infections, kidney problems, or other disorders. Protein is an important building block in the body. Everyone has protein in their blood. But it should only be in your blood, not your urine.

Your kidneys play a role in this process. Healthy kidneys remove waste products and extra water from your blood, but leave behind the things your body needs, like protein. When kidneys are injured, protein leaks into your urine. Having protein in your urine suggests that your kidney's filtering units are damaged by kidney disease. Glucose sugar is usually a sign of diabetes. White blood cells pus cells are signs of infection. 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 testing.

Urine tests | healthdirect

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.

Return the urine sample to the lab.

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If you are collecting the urine at home and cannot get it to the lab in an hour, refrigerate it. 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. Abnormal: 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 urine.

Abnormal: 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 trichomoniasis. Abnormal: 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 diabetes. A 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 amino acids. Normal: 1. Abnormal: 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 diuretics.

Normal: 4. Abnormal: Some foods such as citrus fruit and dairy products and medicines such as antacids can affect urine pH. A high alkaline pH can be caused by severe vomiting, a kidney disease, some urinary tract infections, and asthma.

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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. Abnormal: Protein in the urine may mean that kidney damage, an infection, cancer, high blood pressure , diabetes, systemic lupus erythematosus SLE , or glomerulonephritis is present.

Protein in the urine may also mean that heart failure , leukemia , poison lead or mercury poisoning , or preeclampsia if you are pregnant is present. A one-time urine collection, if normal, will be negative for glucose. Abnormal: 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 pregnancy. Abnormal: Ketones in the urine can mean uncontrolled diabetes, a very low-carbohydrate diet, starvation or eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia , alcohol use disorder , 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.

Topic Contents

Low levels of ketones are sometimes found in the urine of healthy pregnant women. Normal: 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.

Clinical urine tests

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 bacterial infection. 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.

Normal: —2, milliliters mL per 24 hours. Gabica MD - Family Medicine. Author: Healthwise Staff. This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use.

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Microscopic Urinalysis

Test Overview A urine test checks different components of urine, a waste product made by the kidneys. A regular urinalysis often includes the following tests: Color.