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Urinalysis

Reasons to Get One, What to Expect, Associated Risks & More

Simply put; urinalysis is an analysis of the urine. It is used to detect and manage a wide range of diseases, even some that have not caused significant signs or symptoms. It is a very common test that involves checking the appearance, concentration, and content of urine.

Some of the reasons why a urinalysis might be performed are to:

  • Diagnose a medical condition – If you have been experiencing any abdominal pain, painful urination, blood in the urine, or flank discomfort, a urinalysis might be used to find out if there are any underlying causes. Some common medical conditions that urinalysis can diagnose include urinary tract infections (UTI), kidney infections, kidney stones, uncontrolled diabetes, protein in urine, kidney inflammation (glomerulonephritis), and drug screening.
  • Monitor a medical condition – If you’ve been diagnosed with a medical condition such as kidney disease or a urinary tract disease, your doctor may recommend routine urinalysis to monitor your condition and treatment.
  • Check your overall health – If you are pregnant, prepping for surgery, or are simply undergoing a routine medical exam, your doctor may recommend urinalysis to get a comprehensive picture of your health.

So, what does urinalysis involve? For both men and women, the method of collection is pretty much the same – you pee in a cup! However, you may not know that the clean-catch method is best, which involves passing the cup into your urine stream only after you’ve let the initial stream of urine go into the toilet. Roughly one to five ounces are needed for a urine sample, which is typically taken to a laboratory for an analysis.

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In the lab, there are several ways that your urine can be analyzed. A visual exam is when the lab technician examines the urine’s appearance, checking for unusual color, cloudiness, or odor. A dipstick test involves dipping a thin, plastic stick with strips of chemicals on it into the urine to detect abnormalities. Microscopic urinalysis is when the urine is studied under a microscope to find certain cellular debris and bacteria.