Posts Tagged ‘urinalysis’

It’s hard to believe that almost 1.5 million people per year have to be hospitalized for a urinary tract infection (UTI).   Women are the most susceptible to UTIs due to female anatomy.  UTIs are typically limited to the bladder which leaves the patient with pain.  Serious consequences occur when the UTI spreads to the kidneys; hence it is important to get care as soon as possible.

What causes UTI

Almost everyone has some risk of getting a UTI but some people are more prone to getting UTIs than others:

  • Anyone with an abnormality of the urinary tract that obstructs the flow of urine such as a a kidney stone or enlarged prostate
  • People with diabetes or problems with the body’s natural defense system
  • Sexual activity that can move microbes from the bowel or vaginal cavity to the urethral opening.
  • Use of catheters, or tubes, placed in the urethra and bladder. Catheters interfere with the body’s ability to clear microbes from the urinary tract.
  • People with spinal cord injuries or other nerve damage near the bladder may have a difficult time emptying their bladder completely and bacteria can grow and stay in the bladder.

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How are UTIs diagnosed?

Typically, your health provider will ask about your urinary symptoms and then they will test a sample of urine to see if bacteria is present and to see if white blood cells are present.  If white blood cells are present it is because they are being produced to fight infection. Bacteria can be found in the urine of healthy individuals also, so a UTI is diagnosed by symptoms and laboratory tests.  The person will be asked to give a “clean catch” urine sample by washing the genital area and collecting a “midstream” sample of urine in a sterile container. This method of collecting urine helps prevent bacteria around the genital area from getting into the sample and confusing the test results.  Those people who have recurring infections may need to have the urine cultured.  The urine sample is put in a dish and the bacteria is encouraged to grow.  This assists with identifying the type of bacteria and may help determine the appropriate antibiotics to treat the infection.

How are UTIs treated?

Most UTIs are caused by bacteria so the treatment of choice is antibiotics or antimicrobials.   Which type of medication and the length of taking the medication is dependent on the type of bacteria, patient history and other causes of infection.

Take Control of Your Health!

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.

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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.
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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.

Take control of your health!

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.


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