What Is a Uric Acid Urine Test?

A uric acid urine test does exactly what it sounds like: It checks how much uric acid is in your pee.

Your body makes uric acid when it breaks down purines – chemicals that are found in your body tissues and in many foods you eat.

Uric acid usually dissolves in the blood, passes through your kidneys, and leaves your body when you pee. But sometimes, too much of this acid stays in your body. Either your kidneys can’t get rid of enough of it or your body is making too much.

High uric acid doesn’t always cause health problems, but it can.

Why Do I Need This Test?

Your doctor might think you have gout, a painful type of arthritis. Gout usually happens when extra uric acid forms crystals that get stuck in your joints.

Also, if you have kidney stones, a uric acid urine test is a way for your doctor to figure out what’s causing them. One type of stone is formed when uric acid builds up in your urine and makes crystals that stick together. If the stone is big enough, it can block the flow of urine and be painful to pass when you pee. It could even damage your kidneys (though that usually doesn’t happen).

How Do I Take It?

This is not like other urine tests. It will take a whole day to complete. Your doctor wants what’s called a 24-hour collection.

Here’s what to do:

  1. When you wake up, pee in the toilet and write down the time.
  2. For the next 24 hours, collect every drop you pee in the container your doctor gives you.
  3. The next morning, try to get up at the same time you did the day before. Collect your first morning pee and write down the time.

Keep the container in the fridge in between bathroom visits. After you’re done, take it to the lab. The name of the lab will be included in your doctor’s instructions.

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What About Medicines I’m Taking?

Some medications can affect your test results:

Tell your doctor about any medicines you’re taking. You may need to stop some of them before the test, but don’t make any changes until you talk with him.

Ask your doctor about avoiding alcoholic drinks before and during the test. Alcohol slows down how fast your body gets rid of uric acid.

What Do the Results Mean?

Your doctor probably will call within a few days. He’ll talk to you about your results and may order more tests if they aren’t normal.

Most adults lose between 500 and 600 milligrams (mg) of uric acid in their pee every 24 hours. More than 800 mg is too much if you’re eating a normal diet.

Other than gout and kidney stones, high uric acid levels are seen in people:

Some foods and drinks can raise your uric acid because they’re high in purines:

  • Shellfish
  • Red meat
  • Organ meat, such as liver
  • Beer and liquor

Your doctor may want you to limit or avoid these foods.

He also may prescribe medication that lowers uric acid. This may prevent a new kidney stone from forming or another gout attack.

Although it’s not nearly as common, it’s also possible for your uric acid level to be too low. This is most often seen in people with kidney disease or lead poisoning.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by William Blahd, MD on January 25, 2017

Sources

SOURCES:

University of Rochester Medical Center: “Uric Acid (Urine).” 

American Association for Clinical Chemistry: “Uric Acid.” 

American Kidney Fund: “Kidney Stones.” 

National Kidney Foundation: “Kidney Stones.” 

Up-to-Date Wolters Kluwer: “Patient education: Collection of a 24-hour urine specimen (Beyond the Basics).” 

Nemours Foundation: Urine Test: 24 hour Analysis for Kidney Stones 

Genetics Home Reference: “Lesch-Nyhan syndrome.” 

Gout & Uric Acid Education Society: “The Gout Diet.” 

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Treatment of Gout.” 
 

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