WHAT IS URINE ANALYSIS?
The urine analysis is also called “Urinalysis” or “Urine test“. Though the main term used is urinalysis and it is simply known as the test of the urine.
The urinalysis involves conducting sequences of tests and doctors use the urine samples to diagnose conditions and disorders like diabetes, kidney disease, and urinary tract infections.
The urine test includes observing the content, concentration, and appearance of a urine sample taken as results tend to show abnormalities if present. When a urine sample is taken and after observations, the urine looks cloudy then it can be related to a urinary tract infection (UTI).
Also, if after testing, there is a high level of protein indicated in the urine, then, it might be a sign of kidney disease. Though, in some cases, some urinalysis can produce strange results in which further testing and research are required to deduct the problem.
WHY IS URINALYSIS DONE?
The urinalysis is done most times for keeping tabs on the health by searching for any form of disorder present in the system. The reasons for performing a urinalysis are explained below:
- A routine health check to maintain good health. Sometimes, it is used for pregnant patients to prepare for surgery or check for certain symptoms of infections and diseases.
- The urinalysis is often performed to examine a medical condition most likely when the patient observes pain in the abdominal section, the back, also feeling pain while urinating or even blood in the urine. Conducting the urine test can aid in detecting the problem.
- One of the critical reasons for performing a urine test is to monitor a health condition like a urinary tract infection or kidney disease. If the patient is diagnosed with any of these conditions, then, urinalysis is necessary for monitoring the condition and how efficient the treatment program is.
A urinalysis might also be used for screening drugs in the system and pregnancy testing. Though, these tests all measure different things i.e the pregnancy tests search for a hormone called Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) which is not included in a typical urinalysis while the screening for drugs checks for specific drugs depending solely on the diagnosis.
Everyone is eligible for the urinalysis as it is used to check for symptoms in the human system that could aid early discovery i.e if diagnosed, thereby, leading to early treatments and possible fast recovery.
HOW TO PREPARE
Food intake is allowed before the test but not all food types are permitted as some meals influence the result. For example beets, they affect the color of the urine. Also, drug intake must be related to the doctor before conducting the test.
The steps involved in performing the urine analysis are explained below starting from the preparation for the urinalysis, to how it is done to what is done after.
Before the Urinalysis
When the only test to be performed is the urine analysis, an empty stomach is not required, you can eat before the test but you should be careful with the kind of food intake as some foods can discolor the urine.
If other tests are going to be conducted, it is advisable to stay on an empty stomach according to the instructions given by the doctor.
Medications taken should also be communicated to the doctor alongside vitamins, supplements, over-the-counter drugs.
Also, a lady on her monthly period must inform the doctor too before performing the test.
During the Test
A method known as the clean catch is the best for urine analysis. A container will be given to the patient either to take home or while in the hospital all depending on the condition of the patient.
For ambulatory patients, the urine sample should be taken immediately after waking up in the morning.
Hospitalized patients can also take samples in the morning, but for patients who can’t urinate then like babies or deformed patients, the doctor inserts a flexible tube known as the catheter into the urinary tract or the bladder depending on the gender to obtain urine samples.
The steps involved in the urinalysis are listed below:
- The opening of the urinary tract is properly cleaned. The men must use a white clean sheet to clean the tip of the penis properly while the women must use a clean sheet to wipe their labia front to back properly before all taking the urine sample as cells and bacteria may be present on the surface skin which can affect the samples and the interpretation of the result.
- Begin to pee into the toilet.
- Then stop midstream and place the container given in the stream of the urine.
- Guide the urine flow into the container and pee a volume of 1 to 2 ounces.
- Continue the urination into the toilet.
- Afterwards, take the urine sample to the doctor for the test to be conducted.
After the Test
In some cases, the urine sample is not always delivered immediately due to some impedance. It is advisable to deliver the urine sample within 60 minutes of excretion but in cases where it is not delivered within the time frame, the urine sample is to be refrigerated except informed otherwise by the doctor.
The urinalysis gives information of the occurrences in one’s system as it observes signs and symptoms to provide the doctor an idea of conditions affecting the patient. Though, it can not fully predict the condition affecting the patient but it can provide options to deduct from to pinpoint and give clues that can aid further research and tests to diagnose the patient.
Therefore, when the result comes out and it just has little abnormalities without symptoms of any sickness, then the doctor does not need to conduct further tests but if a kidney disease or urinary tract infection (UTI) is discovered, the doctor ought to create a treatment program to enhance rapid recovery.
The results can be categorized into three different phases and these phases are the “gross visual examination”, the “chemical examination” also referred to as the “urine dipstick”, and the “microscopic examination” or “observation of the urine sediments”.
- Gross Visual Examination
This kind of examination involves the observation of the appearance, mainly the color and clarity. When the color of the urine is red or dark brown, it indicates there is blood in the urine.
Then, if the urine is foamy, it is an indication of kidney disease present in the body while urine that is not clear i.e cloudy shows that an infection is present in the system. Though, urine colors are sometimes affected by food intake.
- Chemical Examination
This involves a chemical process that utilizes a dipstick with strips of chemicals present which is dipped into the urine to observe irregularities.
The color of the strip changes depending on the substance present or the high level of substances in the system. The urine dipstick observes:
This shows the level of concentrated particles in the urine as an abnormal concentration indicates a lack of fluid in the system.
The dipstick checks for the level of acidity in the urine by observing the pH level which detects a kidney or urinary tract problem.
The ketones indicate sugar levels in the system so the number of ketones detected in the system might mean the presence of diabetes so a follow-up test is mandatory.
The quantity of protein in the urine should be low, anything other than that raises suspicions of a kidney problem.
Sugar levels in the urine are normally undetectable but if detected otherwise, further tests for diabetes should be conducted.
When the urine color is red or dark brown indicating the presence of blood in the urine, a further test is required to diagnose a kidney problem or blood irregularity.
This is a result of the breakdown of red blood cells, therefore, the presence of this in the urine indicates possible liver damage or disease.
The presence of leukocytes or nitrites esterase which are both products of white blood cells predicts a sign of a urinary tract infection (UTI).
- Microscopic Examination
The observation of the urine sediments is done with the aid of a microscope.
After observations, if the below-listed properties are present or above normal levels, then follow up tests are required:
- Bacteria or yeast.
- Red blood cells (erythrocytes).
- Crystals indicating possible kidney stones.
- White blood cells (leukocytes).
- Casts; showing a high level of protein.
Due to the natural means of extracting urine samples by excretion of urine to perform the urinalysis, there are no complications, risks, or side effects involved in the process.
WHO PERFORMS THE TEST?
In most cases, the patient is responsible for extracting the samples except for cases of deformed or babies where the doctor uses the catheter. The lab technician is responsible for examining the urine sample.
There is no specific duration for the output of the result as it depends on the lab technician examining the results. It can be immediately or it can take a period.
Also, it is dependent on the diagnosis to be made or the symptoms present as further testing might be required in some cases. For some cases, the test can be once, and for other cases, a follow-up is required.
The cost of urinalysis varies depending on the country or hospital. The cost in USA is between the range of $200 to $1000.
How accurate are the results gotten from the test?
The results are always accurate if due process is followed by ensuring to avoid some meals that tend to influence the result like food containing beets.
Also, cleaning the urinary opening properly also increases the accuracy of the result as improper cleaning can affect the results due to surrounding substances around the opening.
Also, taking a urine sample when it is more concentrated i.e morning can affect accuracy alongside time taken to deliver the urine sample, 60 minutes deadline, or refrigerate.
What should be done if a sign of the disease is detected after testing?
In cases like this, further tests are conducted by the doctor to confirm the presence of such disease, then, a treatment plan is schemed to aid enhance recovery.
What can be done if the urine is unable to come out when it is more concentrated?
A flexible tube device known as the catheter can be inserted into the urinary opening to collect urine samples.
What is the best time to take a urine sample?
The best time to take the urine test is in the early hours of the day preferably early morning, when the urine will be more concentrated.
What color should Urine be for a drug test?
The color of the urine varies for some persons all dependent on the food intake and the diagnosis. Some colors are red or dark brown indicating the presence of blood, some are gold or lighter shades of yellow.