Urinalysis is a mix of tests that come into play depending on your medical condition and the symptoms you showcase. However, in most cases, your urine gets tested on these three aspects:
- Color and appearance
Let’s dive into each aspect individually and learn how and what it includes.
The title explains what the test would involve. As a part of this test, the healthcare practitioner tests your urine sample w.r.t the naked eye and checks if it looks clear, cloudy, or in a different color (pale yellow, dark yellow, or any other).
Depending on how concentrated or dilute your urine is, your urine color can vary from normal yellow to colorless or pale yellow to deep amber shade.
Your diet plays a significant role in changing your urine color alongside other supplements and medications that you’re consuming. But if the urine color is unusual, it can trigger the possibility of you suffering from a disease. For example, you get red-colored urine due to blood in your urine, which indicates damage to your urinary system.
In case you have cloudy urine, chances are that sperm or skin cells are present within. The presence of red blood cells, white blood cells, or bacteria too can make your urine cloudy and indicate signs of medical conditions like:
- Sexually-Transmitted diseases or infections (STDs and STIs)
- Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
- Kidney stone
In this scenario, the healthcare providers use specialized test strips called – dipsticks to test your urine sample. These strips have chemical pads that change color when they come in contact with different substances. The percentage of color change on the dipstick indicates the amount of substance present.
These are the standard tests that rely on a dipstick while analyzing your urine sample collection:
- Protein Urine Test: Measures the amount of protein in your urine. High protein levels can indicate heart failure, kidney issues, and dehydration.
- Urine pH Test: It measures your urine's acid-base (pH) level. Higher pH symbolizes kidney issues alongside UTI, while a lower pH indicates diarrhea and diabetes-related ketoacidosis.
- Bilirubin Urine Test: For non-medical folks, bilirubin is a yellow pigment in bile – fluid produced by your liver. Its presence in your urine can indicate liver or bile duct issues.
- Glucose Urine Test: This measures the quantity of glucose in your sample, and its presence can be a sign of diabetes or gestational diabetes.
- Nitrite Urine Test: If the test result is positive, it indicates that you suffer from a urinary tract infection (UTI). However, if bacteria cannot convert nitrate (a substance present in your urine) into nitrite, you may also show symptoms of UTI, irrespective if your test results are negative.
- Leukocyte Esterase Test: Leukocyte esterase is an enzyme in your white blood cells. A positive result means inflammation in your kidneys or urinary tract, which happens due to the presence of white blood cells in your urine sample leading to bacterial urinary tract infection (UTI).
- Urine-specific Gravity Test: This shows the concentration of chemical particles in your urine sample, and abnormal levels may indicate different health conditions.
Once you've given your sample for complete urine analysis, the lab technicians will check it under a microscope to check for microscopic particles/substances in your urine, like cells, mucus, bacteria, and other germs.
It involves the following microscopic tests:
- Red blood cell (RBC) urine test: If the count of RBCs is higher, it indicates that your urine contains blood. A higher than normal level of RBC indicates signs of bladder/kidney and/or urinary tract problems.
- White blood cell (WBC) urine test: Higher count of white blood cells or a positive test result for leukocyte esterase enzyme indicates an infection or inflammation in your urinary tract.
- Epithelial cells: These cells cover the internal & external surfaces of your body. Some epithelial cells are generally present in your urine, but an increased count of these cells may indicate signs of an infection, inflammation, and/or cancer in the urinary tract.
- Urinary casts: These are tube-like structures that might be present in your urine and form when the kidney cells release protein. According to medical experts, a few casts may symbolize kidney issues, while others are considered normal.
- Bacteria, yeast, and parasites: If any form of bacteria enters your urinary tract, it might trigger a urinary tract infection (UTI), contaminating your urine sample. For example, yeast can contaminate the sample for those suffering from vaginal yeast infection.