What Does Your Urine Say About You?

A urinalysis paints your doctor a picture of who you are and what might be going on inside your body. Are you healthy? Are you a safe candidate for surgery? Are you pregnant? Do you have an infection? Do you use drugs? We think you’ll be surprised by what your urine says about you.

What is a urinalysis?

A urinalysis is a test that examines the appearance, concentration, and contents of your urine. It is the physical, chemical and microscopic analysis of urine used to:

  • Diagnose a variety of disorders, such as urinary tract infections, kidney disease, kidney stones, liver disease, diabetes or pregnancy.
  • Screen for infection, renal disease, and poorly controlled or undetected diabetes which might otherwise negatively affect an operation.
  • Monitor the overall health of people who have been diagnosed with medical conditions like urinary tract disease or kidney disease.

What To Expect From Your Urinalysis

Generally, there is not much preparation needed for a urinalysis. Unlike other tests, you can eat and drink normally up until the test. Always check with your doctor for specific instructions.

Some medications and supplements can affect urinalysis results. Let your doctor know if you are taking any medications, supplements or vitamins before your test as your doctor might have you refrain from taking them before the test.

At your appointment, a healthcare professional will provide you with a small container for a urine sample. You will be asked to go into a private restroom and produce between one and two ounces of urine. The container will then be taken for examination.

Urinalysis Results

After providing a urine sample, it will be sent to a lab (or brought to an internal lab) for analysis where it will be evaluated in three ways: visual exam, dipstick test, and microscopic exam.

Visual Exam

The urine sample will be examined for appearance, based on color and cloudiness.

  • The color of urine can indicate dehydration or blood in the urine, but might also take on a certain color based on a person’s diet.
  • Urine is typically clear, so cloudy urine is often a sign of infection. It is also common for cloudy urine to be accompanied by a strong or unusual odor.

Dipstick Test

A dipstick is a small, thin, plastic stick with strips of chemicals on it. It’s placed in the urine to detect abnormalities. The chemical strips change color if certain substances are present or if their levels are above normal. Urine dipsticks can check:

  • Acidity: The pH level indicates the amount of acid in the urine. Abnormal pH levels could be signs of a kidney or urinary tract issue.
  • Concentration: This shows how concentrated the particles are in the urine. A high concentration often means you’re dehydrated.
  • Protein: Protein is common in urine, but high levels could indicate a kidney problem.
  • Sugar: The normal amount of sugar in urine is too low to be detected. Any detection of sugar may lead to additional tests for diabetes.
  • Ketones: Any amount of ketones detected in the urine could also be a sign of diabetes and may require additional testing.
  • Bilirubin: Bilirubin is a product of red blood cell breakdown. Normally it is processed in the liver and turned into bile. Bilirubin in your urine could be a sign of liver damage or disease.
  • Infection: The presence of nitrites or leukocyte esterase in the urine could be a sign of a urinary tract infection.
  • Blood: Blood in the urine could be a sign of kidney damage, infection, disease, bladder stones, kidney cancer, bladder cancer, or a blood disorder.

Microscopic Exam

Microscopic exams involve taking a look at several drops of urine under a microscope. The urine is observed for above average levels of the following:

    • White blood cells – may be a sign of infection
    • Red blood cells – may be a sign of kidney disease, a blood disorder, or another medical condition
    • Bacteria or yeasts – may be a sign of infection
    • Casts – may be a sign of kidney disorders
    • Crystals – may be a sign of kidney stones

If any of the above are observed in above average levels, additional testing may be required.

We perform a number of in-office diagnostic tests, including urinalysis each day. Schedule an appointment at one of our Charlotte area locations and a member of our medical staff will gladly explain to you what they’ve found in your urinalysis.

If your urinalysis shows anything concerning, consider downloading our nutrition and healthy lifestyle guide. Good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle will promote a healthy body which will show in your urinalysis results.