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- Patient Comments: Urinalysis - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Urinalysis - Results
- What is a urinalysis?
- What can urinalysis results show?
- Who is involved in the interpretation of urinalysis?
- What types of doctors perform urinalysis?
- What does urinalysis involve?
- What is macroscopic urinalysis?
- What is urine dipstick chemical analysis?
- What are the pros and cons of dip sticks?
- What is microscopic urinalysis?
- How is microscopic urinalysis done?
- What kind of cells can be detected?
- What can the presence of red blood cells in the urine mean?
- What can the presence of white blood cells in the urine mean?
- Other than urinalysis, what are other common urine tests available?
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What does urinalysis involve?
Urinalysis is done by collecting a urine sample from a patient. The optimal sample tends to be an early morning urine sample because it is frequently the most concentrated urine produced in the day. Typically, no fasting is required before the collection of urine sample and routine medications can be taken before the test, unless otherwise instructed by the ordering physician.
Methods of collection are slightly different for female and male patient.
- For females, the patient is asked to clean the area around the urethra with a special cleansing wipe, by spreading the labia of the external genitals and cleaning from front to back (toward the anus).
- For men, the tip of the penis may be wiped with a cleansing pad prior to collection.
- The urine is then collected in a clean urine specimen cup while the patient is urinating. It is best to avoid collecting the initial stream of urine. After the initial part of urine is disposed of in the toilet, then the urine is collected in the urine container provided. Once about 30 to 60 ml (roughly 3 to 5 tablespoons) are collected in the container for testing, the remainder of the urine may be voided in the toilet again. This is called the clean catch or the midstream urine collection.
The collected urine sample should be taken to the laboratory for analysis, typically within one hour of collection. If transportation to the lab could take more than one hour, then the sample may be refrigerated.
In some patients who are unable to void spontaneously or those who are not able to follow instructions other methods may be used, such as placing a catheter (a small rubber tube) through the outside opening to the bladder (urethra) to collect the sample directly from the bladder.
What is macroscopic urinalysis?
Macroscopic urinalysis is the direct visual observation of the urine, noting its quantity, color, clarity or cloudiness, etc.
Normal urine is typically light yellow and clear without any cloudiness. Obvious abnormalities in the color, clarity, and cloudiness may suggest possibility of:
- an infection (cloudy urine),
- dehydration (dark urine color) ,
- red blood in the urine, also referred to as hematuria (red urine color),
- liver disease (urine the color of tea), or
- breakdown of muscle (orange or tea colored urine).