Urinalysis is a test performed to analyze a patient's urine in order to assess overall health and to screen for possible disease conditions. It is normally administered as part of a routine health examination, but also may be completed to aid in diagnosis a patient's symptoms.
Reasons for Urinalysis
In addition to being completed during the course of a routine medical examination, the test may also be performed on patients who are pregnant, being cleared for surgery, or to monitor certain chronic diseases as well as when a patient exhibits any urinary symptoms.
Urinalysis is used to evaluate for and monitor for conditions and diseases, including but not limited to:
● Bladder infections
● High blood pressure
● Kidney stones
● Chronic Kidney disease
● Liver disease
● Urinary tract infection
The Urinalysis Procedure
There are some instructions to follow when providing a urine specimen. A midstream urine sample is what is requested for urinalysis. Instruction include first the urethral opening should be cleansed with provided wipe. Next, the patient should urinate a small amount into the toilet before providing urinating in the container provided. The patient can then finish emptying the bladder into the toilet.
For the provider to evaluate the urine, the first step in urinalysis is simple observation. The urine is evaluated for color, odor, and clarity, any of which may provide clues to possible infection or other medical conditions. The next step in a urinalysis is testing the urine for the presence or levels of:
● Red or white blood cells
● PH levels
There are two parts of the urinalysis, a dipstick test which provides quick results for screening of urine as well as microscopic analysis which evaluates urine under microscopic. If needed the urine can be cultured to evaluate for presence of infection.
Methods of Urinalysis
There are a number of methods used to analyze the urine test. In addition to the physical observation already noted, these methods include those listed below.
Dip Stick Tests
A urine test strip or stick is dipped into the urine specimen. A change in the color of the strip or stick signifies a positive or negative result and quickly provides results
A refractometer is an instrument used to measure the specific gravity of substances found in the urine. This helps the doctor analyze the urine's composition.
A sample of urine ca be examined under a microscope to detect indications of infection, such as nitrites, bacteria, white blood cells, yeast or parasites. Urine is also examined microscopically for the presence of other substances which may indicate systemic disorders, or certain types of crystal sediments, which may be evidence of kidney stones.
It is important that the provider be informed of any medications, vitamins or health supplements the patient is taking since these may affect test results. For instance, some of the diabetes medications force glucose to be excreted in the urine.