Urine Testing uses urine samples from patients analyzed it using a number of different tests. This can help doctors diagnose certain diseases or to monitor their progress.
The color, odor and amount of urine can already indicate whether something is wrong. If, for instance, someone passes only a little very dark urine, it could be a sign that they have not had enough to drink – or that their kidneys are no longer working properly. Cloudy or flaky urine could be a sign of a urinary tract infection. If the urine is reddish in color, there might be blood in it.
Rapid urine test
A rapid urine test is the quickest way to test urine. This involves dipping a test strip with small square colored fields on it into the urine sample for a few seconds. After that you have to wait a little for the result to appear. However, they are not intended for self-diagnosis purposes, and should be used in consultation with a doctor.
Rapid urine tests are usually done as part of routine examinations – for example at a family doctor’s office, during antenatal visits, when being admitted to the hospital, or before surgery. They are also used in people who have acute symptoms like lower abdominal pain, stomach ache or back pain, frequent painful urination, or blood in their urine. Some people who have diabetes use this test to check their sugar levels.
What substances can a rapid urine test detect?
following substances can be checked using a rapid urine test:
- pH value (measure of the acidity of the urine. Normal values, depending on diet, range from about 5 to 7, where values under 5 are too acidic, and values over 7 are not acidic enough). A pH value over 7 may be a sign of a bacterial urinary tract infection
- Protein (not usually found in urine). High protein levels may be a sign of nephritis (a kidney inflammation)
- Sugar (glucose, not usually found in urine). Ketones and sugar in urine are signs of high blood sugar
- Nitrite (not usually found in urine). Leukocytes or nitrite may be a sign of a bacterial infection
- Ketone (a metabolic product, not usually found in urine)
- Bilirubin (breakdown product of hemoglobin, not usually found in urine)
- Urobilinogen (breakdown product of bilirubin, not usually found in urine)
- Red blood cells (erythrocytes, not usually found in urine)
- White blood cells (leukocytes, not usually found in urine)
Rapid urine tests are not always reliable so it might be a good idea to have a more detailed test done in a lab.
Urinalysis is an initial basic test of the main features of the blood and used to find the cause of – or monitor – urinary tract infections, bleeding in the urinary system, or kidney or liver disease. It can also be used for diabetes, some diseases of the blood, and bladder stones.
It is often part of a routine examination and is frequently performed when people are admitted to hospital and before surgery. It can also be used to check abnormal results from a rapid urine test. Complete urinalysis is done in a laboratory. It usually involves three steps:
- Assessment of the color, cloudiness and concentration of the urine
- Examination of the chemical composition of the urine using a test strip
- Examination of the urine under a microscope to look for bacteria, cells and parts of cells
What does urinalysis test for?
In addition to the substances that can be detected using a rapid test, urinalysis can also test for the following:
- Creatinine (breakdown product of muscle metabolism, an indicator of kidney function)
- Bacteria (not usually found in urine)
- Urinary casts (cylindrical stuck-together structures that form in the renal tubules, not usually found in urine). Urinary casts are usually a sign of kidney disease, such as an inflammation of the renal pelvis
- Crystals (found if there are high concentrations of certain substances in the urine, not usually found in urine). Cholesterol crystals can be caused by high levels of cholesterol in the urine
- Epithelial cells (cells that line the ureter, bladder and urethra)
A urine culture is a test done in a laboratory to see whether there are bacteria or fungi in urine. A sample was put in a closely tight container and leave in the incubator for one to two days. If there are bacteria or fungi in the urine, visible colonies can grow. You can often already see what type of bacteria or fungi they are, based on the size, form and color of the colonies.
What do the results tell us?
Urine cultures are usually done to detect bacteria and fungi in urine when testing for a urinary tract infection. If bacteria are found during laboratory testing, then the type of antibiotic needed is usually determined at the same time.
24-hour urine collection
This test involves collecting urine over a period of 24 hours. Every single drop of urine is collected in a container which usually already has a substance in it to prevent bacteria from growing while the urine is still being collected. The urine should be kept in a refrigerator for the entire 24-hour period and is then tested in a laboratory.
What do the results tell us?
- Protein– High levels of protein in urine, known as proteinuria, can be caused by conditions such as heart failure, diabetes, inflammation of the renal pelvis, urinary tract infections, kidney disease or kidney cancer.
- Creatinine-If too little of the metabolic product creatinine is being filtered out of the blood by the kidneys, the kidneys may not be working properly. High levels of protein in urine, known
- Hormones– Some disorders of the endocrine (hormonal) system increase the amount of hormones and their metabolic products in the urine.
Pregnancy test can help detect if a woman is pregnant. Pregnancy tests can be bought in pharmacies, drugstores, department stores and on the internet.It is done like rapid urine tests, using a urine sample in the morning after getting up.
The urine of pregnant women contains a special hormone known as human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which is produced in the placenta. The results might be false if a woman does the test too soon, is taking medicine or drinks a lot of fluids before doing the test. Only a doctor can say for sure whether you are pregnant or not.
Other urine tests
Drugs can also be detected in urine for a while after being used:
- cannabis– can be detected up to several weeks after being consumed.
- cocaine, ecstasy or heroin-can show up in test results for up to five days.