Illness & Conditions - Medical Tests
A urine test checks different components of urine, a waste product made by the kidneys . A regular urine test may be done to help find the cause of symptoms. The test can give information about your health and problems you may have.
The kidneys take out waste material, minerals, fluids, and other substances from the blood to be passed in the urine. Urine has hundreds of different body wastes. What you eat and drink, how much you exercise, and how well your kidneys work can affect what is in your urine.
More than 100 different tests can be done on urine. A regular urinalysis often includes the following tests:
Why It Is Done
A urine test may be done:
How To Prepare
Do not eat foods that can color the urine, such as blackberries, beets, and rhubarb, before the test. Do not exercise strenuously before the test.
Tell your doctor if you are menstruating or close to starting your menstrual period. Your doctor may want to wait to do the test.
Your doctor may ask you to stop taking certain medicines that color the urine. These include vitamin B, phenazopyridine (Pyridium), rifampin, and phenytoin (Dilantin). 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?) .
How It Is Done
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.
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).
Clean-catch midstream one-time urine collection
Double-voided urine sample collection
This method collects the urine your body is making right now.
Return the urine sample to the lab. If you are collecting the urine at home and cannot get it to the lab in an hour, refrigerate it.
24-hour urine collection
Your doctor may ask you to collect your urine for 24 hours.
Return the urine sample to the lab.
How It Feels
There is no discomfort in collecting a urine sample.
There is no chance for problems in collecting a urine sample.
A urine test checks different components of urine, a waste product made by the kidneys .
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.
What Affects the Test
Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
What To Think About
Last Revised: September 4, 2012
Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
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