What is urinalysis?

The urinalysis or urine culture is a diagnostic physical, chemical and microscopic, as well as microbiological examination that is performed on a urine sample of the patient. Because toxins and excess fluid are removed from the body in urine, analysis of urine can provide important health clues. Urinalysis can be used to detect certain diseases, such as diabetes, gout, and other metabolic disorders, as well as kidney disease. It can also be used to uncover evidence of drug abuse. Accurate urinalysis may require a clean sample of urine. Before a person gives a urine sample, he or she should drink plenty of fluids and wait until 1 or 2 seconds into the flow of urine before catching the urine in the receptacle. For some tests it is important to get the first urine of the day, which contains the highest concentration of toxins and other substances to be analyzed. For other tests, a 24-hour collection of urine may be needed.


What is the purpose of a urinalysis?

Urinalyses are performed for several health reasons. This includes the general evaluation of the patient’s health, diagnosis of metabolic or systemic diseases that affect kidney function, diagnosis of endocrine disorders (24 hour urine studies are often ordered for these tests), diagnosis of diseases or disorders of the kidney or urinary tract, monitoring of patients with diabetes, testing for pregnancy, and screening for drug abuse.

The urine sample is sent to a laboratory where it is examined for the following, its physical color and appearance (how the urine sample looks to the naked eye). Microscopic appearance where the urine sample is examined to check if there are any cells, urine crystals, urinary casts, mucus and other substances, and to identify any bacteria or other germs present in the urine. Its chemical appearance is also examined, in which a special strip (dipstrip) is used to test for substances in the urine sample. The strip has pads of chemicals that change color when they come in contact with the urine, which may have substances of interest.


Which patients can undergo the urinalysis exam?

The urinalysis examination is prescribed by the doctor when they suspect any infections of the urinary tract. Women who are in their days of menstruation can’t undergo this examination. It is also necessary and important to inform your doctor of any medication you are currently taking as it may affect the results of the examination. Prior medical history of the patient may be required by the doctor.


Is the urinalysis exam dangerous or painful?

The exam is neither painful nor dangerous to the patient, and is a non-invasive procedure.


How is the urinalysis exam performed?

The urine collection must be that of a morning sample and be delivered to the hospital. The patient should have an appropriate sterile container purchased, which can be found in pharmacies or provided by the laboratory, taking care not to touch the inside or the edges with their hands. The patient should first was their hands and then the genital area accurately. Collect inside the container the intermediate jet of urine, do not collect the first 2 seconds of urine flow and the last 2 seconds.