Urinalysis is examination of the urine by a physician, nurse or lab personnel. Chemical and microscopic examination of urine is a simple way to determine a large variety of conditions.
First, the color and clarity are noted. Ideally urine should be pale yellow and clear. Darker urine can indicate more concentrated urine and is seen in dehydration. Usually, this is due to the fact that many people do not drink enough water. Brownish reddish urine can be a sign of kidney or liver function.
After initial examination, urinalysis consists of assaying the urine’s chemistry. This consists of testing for the presence of glucose, protein, bilirubin ( a by-product of liver function), pH, ketones, white blood cells and red blood cells. The presence of glucose is indicative of diabetes, as is the presence of ketones, although ketones in the urine can indicate dehydration, as well.
Microscopic examination of the urine usually follows. This part of the urinalysis consists of taking a drop of urine on a slide and noting what is present. Epithelial cells are commonly found, bacteria may be present, red and white blood cells may be present as well as an occasional sperm or crystal.
The presence of red and white blood cells can indicate a urinary tract infection. If urinary tract infection is possible, the doctor may order a urine culture to determine the cause of the infection and the best antibiotic to treat it. In kidney disease, casts can be seen. These are rod shaped tubules discarded in the urine if kidney function is declining.
Uric acid, calcium oxalate or triple phosphate microscopic crystals can be seen in gout, kidney stones, or dietary means. They can be significant or not clinically significant depending on the patient’s overall condition.
Urinalysis has long been used by doctors to assist of many conditions. It is probably the oldest laboratory test, but still vital in diagnosing disease.
Other Urine Tests
- A qualitative test for pregnancy can be performed on urine. Qualitative means that it will only detect the presence or absence of the human chorionic gonadotropin, (HCG). Quantitative levels can be determined in blood serum to determine the actual level of HCG, which helps determine how far along a pregnancy is.
- Drug screening can also be done on urine.
- The STDs, Trichomonas, Chlamydia & Gonorrhea, can be seen and identified in urine, as well.
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Medical Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. The writer is not a physician or other health provider.