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Urine Test

How It Is Done continued...

This method collects the urine your body is making right now.

  • Urinate into the toilet or urinal. Do not collect any of this urine.
  • Drink a large glass of water, and wait about 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Then get a urine sample. Follow the instructions above for collecting a clean-catch urine sample.

Return the urine sample to the lab. If you are collecting the urine at home and cannot get it to the lab in an hour, refrigerate it.

24-hour urine collection

Your doctor may ask you to collect your urine for 24 hours.

  • The collection period usually starts in the morning. When you first get up, urinate—but don't save this urine. Write down the time that you urinated to mark the beginning of your 24-hour collection period.
  • For the next 24 hours, collect all your urine. Your doctor will usually provide you with a large container that holds about 1 gal (4 L) and has a small amount of preservative in it. Urinate into a smaller, clean container, and then pour the urine into the large container. Avoid touching the inside of the container with your fingers.
  • Keep the large container in the refrigerator during the collection period.
  • Urinate for the final time at or just before the end of the 24-hour period. Add this urine to the large container, and write down the time.
  • Avoid getting toilet paper, pubic hair, stool (feces), menstrual blood, or other foreign matter in the urine sample.

Return the urine sample to the lab.

How It Feels

There is no discomfort in collecting a urine sample.

Risks

There is no chance for problems in collecting a urine sample.

Results

A urine test checks different components of urine, a waste product made by the kidneys camera.gif.

The normal values listed here—called a reference range—are just a guide. These ranges vary from lab to lab, and your lab may have a different range for what's normal. Your lab report should contain the range your lab uses. Also, your doctor will evaluate your results based on your health and other factors. This means that a value that falls outside the normal values listed here may still be normal for you or your lab.

Urine test results
Color

Normal: Pale to dark yellow

Abnormal: Many foods and medicines can affect the color of the urine. Urine with no color may be caused by long-term kidney disease or uncontrolled diabetes. Dark yellow urine can be caused by dehydration. Red urine can be caused by blood in the urine.

Clarity

Normal: Clear

Abnormal: Cloudy urine can be caused by pus (white blood cells), blood (red blood cells), sperm, bacteria, yeast, crystals, mucus, or a parasite infection, such as trichomoniasis.

Odor

Normal: Slightly "nutty" odor

Abnormal: Some foods (such as asparagus), vitamins, and antibiotics (such as penicillin) can cause urine to have a different odor. A sweet, fruity odor may be caused by uncontrolled diabetes. A urinary tract infection (UTI) can cause a bad odor. Urine that smells like maple syrup can mean maple syrup urine disease, when the body can't break down certain amino acids.

Specific gravity

Normal: 1.005–1.0301

Abnormal: A very high specific gravity means very concentrated urine, which may be caused by not drinking enough fluid, loss of too much fluid (excessive vomiting, sweating, or diarrhea), or substances (such as sugar or protein) in the urine. Very low specific gravity means dilute urine, which may be caused by drinking too much fluid, severe kidney disease, or the use of diuretics.

pH

Normal: 4.6–8.01

Abnormal: Some foods (such as citrus fruit and dairy products) and medicines (such as antacids) can affect urine pH. A high (alkaline) pH can be caused by severe vomiting, a kidney disease, some urinary tract infections, and asthma. A low (acidic) pH may be caused by severe lung disease (emphysema), uncontrolled diabetes, aspirin overdose, severe diarrhea, dehydration, starvation, drinking too much alcohol, or drinking antifreeze (ethylene glycol).

Protein

Normal: None

Abnormal: Protein in the urine may mean that kidney damage, an infection, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), or glomerulonephritis is present.

Protein in the urine may also mean that heart failure, leukemia, poison (lead or mercury poisoning), or preeclampsia (if you are pregnant) is present.

Glucose

Normal: 1–15 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or 60–830 micromoles per liter (mcmol/L) in a 24-hour sample.1

A one-time urine collection, if normal, will be negative for glucose.1

Abnormal:Intravenous (IV) fluids can cause glucose to be in the urine. Too much glucose in the urine may be caused by uncontrolled diabetes, an adrenal gland problem, liver damage, brain injury, certain types of poisoning, and some types of kidney diseases. Healthy pregnant women can have glucose in their urine, which is normal during pregnancy.

Ketones

Normal: None

Abnormal: Ketones in the urine can mean uncontrolled diabetes, a very low-carbohydrate diet, starvation or eating disorders (such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia), alcoholism, or poisoning from drinking rubbing alcohol (isopropanol). Ketones are often found in the urine when a person does not eat (fasts) for 18 hours or longer. This may occur when a person is sick and cannot eat or vomits for several days. Low levels of ketones are sometimes found in the urine of healthy pregnant women.

Microscopic analysis

Normal: Very few or no red or white blood cells or casts are seen. No bacteria, yeast cells, parasites, or squamous cells are present. A few crystals are normally seen.

Abnormal:

Red blood cells in the urine may be caused by kidney or bladder injury, kidney stones, a urinary tract infection (UTI), inflammation of the kidneys (glomerulonephritis), a kidney or bladder tumor, or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). White blood cells (pus) in the urine may be caused by a urinary tract infection, bladder tumor, inflammation of the kidneys, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), or inflammation in the vagina or under the foreskin of the penis.

Depending on the type, casts can mean inflammation or damage to the tiny tubes in the kidneys, poor blood supply to the kidneys, metal poisoning (such as lead or mercury), heart failure, or a bacterial infection.

Large amounts of crystals, or certain types of crystals, can mean kidney stones, damaged kidneys, or problems with metabolism. Some medicines and some types of urinary tract infections can also increase the number of crystals in urine.

Bacteria in the urine mean a urinary tract infection (UTI). Yeast cells or parasites (such as the parasite that causes trichomoniasis) can mean an infection of the urinary tract.

The presence of squamous cells may mean that the sample is not as pure as it needs to be. These cells do not mean there is a medical problem, but your doctor may ask that you give another urine sample.

Volume

Normal: 800–2,500 milliliters (mL) per 24 hours.1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 04, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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