What is Urinalysis?
As the name suggests, urinalysis analyzes your urine and pee on the visual, chemical, and microscopic aspects. It’s a reputable health test that indirectly helps medical practitioners detect signs of potential health conditions and diseases that might threaten your living.
In general, a urinalysis, also known as a urine test, urine analysis, and UA, helps your doctor:
- Check your overall health: In most cases, a urinal analysis is a part of routine medical exams or pre-surgery preparations or helps your healthcare provider check for different medical disorders that might affect you.
- Diagnose a medical condition: If you’re experiencing issues like back or abdominal pain, frequent urination, etc., you might get a recommendation for urinalysis to understand the variety of signs and symptoms.
- Monitor and treat a condition: This scenario comes into play when you’ve been diagnosed with a medical disease like UTI. You might frequently undertake the urine analysis test to help the doctor monitor your medical condition at regular intervals and suggest potential treatment steps.
Why Do You Need to Undertake the Urinalysis Test?
According to medical experts, urine tests significantly aid in detecting and measuring different compounds that pass through the urine. Your doctor may advise you to undertake the urinalysis test if you’re experiencing the following symptoms:
- Severe back pain or abdominal pain
- Excessive pain while you’re urinating
- Noticing blood in the urine
- Getting the urge to urinate frequently
Urine test forms the base of most medical conditions and assists doctors in detecting medical problems whose symptoms are yet to appear. The test can help detect diseases like:
- Liver or kidney issues
- Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
Depending on the severity of your medical condition, your doctor may suggest frequent visits for regular testing as a precautionary step to closely evaluate and monitor your health condition. The test can be performed at all ages, even for children who show signs of UTI.
Tests Included in a Urine Test: A Snapshot
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.
Difference between Urinalysis & Urine Culture Test
Urinalysis testing becomes essential when you're showcasing signs of kidney problems, urinary tract issues, etc. The test also comes in handy to evaluate your overall medical condition and scan through your body for disorders like diabetes or liver-related problems.
As a part of the urine test, once you've given your urine sample, it gets tested chemically, microscopically, and for any changes in color and appearance. In most cases, the sample gets collected using the clean-catch method or another sterile method.
Urine culture, on the contrary, helps detect urinary tract infections. In this test, microorganisms are allowed to grow under laboratory conditions. It helps detect the presence of bacteria and other microbes present in the urine sample.
Generally, the urine culture test doesn't include the urinalysis; however, it too involves collecting the non-contaminated urine sample by inserting the sterile catheter or leveraging the clean-catch method.
How to Prepare for a Urinalysis Test?
Before you go for the urine sample test, you must drink ample liquids, as it will allow you to go to the washroom and produce a urine sample. Sometimes, your doctor may ask you to bring a sample of your first-morning void.
If you're on medication or supplements, your healthcare provider may ask you to stop them completely a few days before your test date. It's because these can significantly change the color of your urine, which may affect your test results too.
Also, during your complete urine examination, inform your doctor if you're on period, as according to medical experts, vaginal discharge or menstrual blood can significantly interfere with your test results.
What to Expect During and After the Urinalysis Test?
The urine sample collection process varies for both genders, and so does the methodology. You're likely to give your sample at the laboratory or the doctor's office, and the experts rely on the clean-catch method to ensure your sample remains contamination-free. Your doctor may sometimes ask you to use a catheter for sample collection, especially when you cannot provide a sample using the clean-catch method.
In the clean-catch method, you get a specimen cup, sterile wipes, and specific instructions from your doctor on collecting the sample. So, before you proceed with the same, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
Here's a quick overview of the steps of how you can give your sample using the clean-catch method or using a catheter and how the steps vary for each gender:
Using the clean-catch method if you’re a Woman:
- Sit on the commode with legs spread apart.
- Open your labia using two fingers and use one of the sterile wipes to clean your labia’s inner folds thoroughly from front to back.
- Use the other sterile wipe to clean over your urethra.
- Once cleaned, urinate a small amount into the toilet and stop after a few seconds.
- Hold the specimen cup a few inches away from your urethra and urinate into the cup directly.
- Depending on your instructions, fill the cup in either half or complete.
- Once done, finish urinating and step out of the washroom.
Using the clean-catch method if you’re a Men
- Use the sterile wipe to clean the head of your penis. If it’s uncircumcised, remove the foreskin to ensure a thorough cleaning.
- Start urinating in the toilet and then stop after a few seconds.
- Hold the specimen cup a little away from your urethra and directly urinate into the cup filling it either half or complete (based on the instructions you got).
- Once done, finish urinating and step out of the washroom.
Using a catheter for urine collection
If you're using a catheter for urine sample collection, follow these steps:
- Either you or the doctor should thoroughly clean the urethra opening and surrounding area using an antiseptic solution.
- Insert the catheter through the urethra
- Once done, the urine will start draining into the sterile container.
- Request your doctor to remove the catheter once enough urine is collected for testing
Once you've given your sample, it's sent for lab testing, and you can expect your test results in the next 1-2 business days. However, in some cases, the doctor may test the sample immediately and run dipstick tests (to check for the presence of different substances).
Are there Any Risks associated with the Urine Test?
If you've given your urine sample using the clean-catch method, there are no risks involved as it's a painless procedure and a non-invasive test.
But if you used the catheter option, you may experience subtle signs of infection, which may be painful and cause discomfort for the next 1-2 days. However, consult your healthcare provider immediately if the pain continues for a long time.
Urinalysis Test Results & What Do They Mean?
As stated earlier, urinalysis is a mixture of tests you undertake after getting a recommendation from your doctor. Thus, depending on which form of urine test (chemical, visual, or microscopic) you take, the doctors generate your test report.
In the case of chemical testing, your report will show if the results are positive/negative and/or will highlight the amount of substance present in your urine sample. In the case of microscopic testing, you will learn the number of substances (Little/Few, Moderate, or Many) present in your sample.
However, if you're opting for the visual test, your test report will list the following:
- Name of the urine test you undertook
- Measurement of your urine test result
- The standard normal range for that specific test
- Information if your test result falls in the normal or abnormal range
You will also get insights on the color of your urine sample, which would likely be either of the following:
- Slightly cloudy
- Turbid (a term often used to symbolize an opaque sample or a thick one with suspended substances)
Please know that urinalysis gives doctors a basic idea about your medical condition. The results can help your healthcare provider understand if you need to undertake additional tests or not.
Remember that any form of medication, supplements, or the presence of the substance, alongside other circumstances like stress, anxiety, and exercise, can significantly influence your test results. For example, protein in your urine signifies that you are suffering from kidney disease.
A normal result sometimes doesn't rule out the possibility of you suffering from chronic kidney disease, so tread your steps carefully. So, if your test results are on the higher side, you might have to undergo additional tests like blood tests or imaging tests to diagnose a medical condition successfully.
To ensure you're interpreting your test results correctly, connect with your doctor and get the answers to all your queries.
Why Should You Book Your Urinalysis Test with HealthcareOnTime?
If you're booking your urine analysis test at home, you must consider HealthcareOnTime any day. It's because they are a NABL/ISO-accredited diagnostic center with a PAN-India presence and experienced doctors and other medical experts completely at your disposal 24*7.
Another factor that makes HealthcareOnTime, the go-to option is that its urine test price is one of the best compared to its counterparts and thus affordable for almost every individual.
So, check out the HealthcareOnTime website today and book your urinalysis test without delay!