A urinalysis involves checking the appearance, concentration and content of urine. Abnormal urinalysis results may point to a disease or illness. Your urine sample is evaluated in three ways: visual exam, dipstick test and microscopic exam.
A lab technician examines the urine’s appearance. Urine is typically clear. Cloudiness or an unusual odor may indicate a problem, such as an infection.
Blood in the urine may make it look red or brown. Urine color can be influenced by what you’ve just eaten. For example, beets or rhubarb may add a red tint to your urine.
A dipstick — a thin, plastic stick with strips of chemicals on it — is placed in the urine to detect abnormalities. The chemical strips change color if certain substances(like blood, sugar, ketones, proteins and even acidity) are present or if their levels are above normal.
During this exam, several drops of urine are viewed with a microscope. If any of the following are observed in above-average levels, additional testing may be necessary:
|Urinanalysis Parameter||Normal Values|
|Reaction (pH)||Acid (5,5-6)|
|Protein||Negative or traces (< 30 mg/dl)|
|Urobilinogen||Negative or traces (< 0,2 EU/dl ή <1 mg/dl)|
|Epithelial cells||0-4 p.v.f.|
|Pus cells||0-4 p.v.f.|
|Crystals||No abnormal crystals present|
|Amorphous salts||A few|
The causes vary depending on the variations in testing parameters. Urine can be a variety of colors, most often shades of yellow, from very pale or colorless to very dark or amber. Unusual or abnormal urine colors can be the result of a disease process, several medications (e.g., multivitamins can turn urine bright yellow), or the result of eating certain foods. For example, some people can have red-colored urine after eating beets; the color is from the natural pigment of beets and is not a cause for worry. However, red-colored urine can also occur when blood is present in the urine and can be an indicator of disease or damage to some part of the urinary system. Another example is yellow-brown or greenish-brown urine that may be a sign of bilirubin in the urine.
Urine clarity refers to how clear the urine is. Usually, labs report the clarity of the urine using one of the following terms: clear, slightly cloudy, cloudy, or turbid. “Normal” urine can be clear or cloudy. Substances that cause cloudiness but that are not considered unhealthy include mucus, sperm and prostate fluid, cells from the skin, normal urine crystals, and contaminants such as body lotions and powders. Other substances that can make urine cloudy, like red blood cells, white blood cells, or bacteria, indicate a condition that requires attention.
In certain liver diseases, such as biliary obstruction or hepatitis, excess bilirubin can build up in the blood and is eliminated in urine. The presence of bilirubin in urine is an early indicator of liver disease and can occur before clinical symptoms such as jaundice develop. Positive test results may indicate liver diseases such as viral hepatitis, cirrhosis, liver damage due to drugs or toxic substances, or conditions associated with increased RBC destruction (haemolytic anemia). When urine urobilinogen is low or absent in a person with urine bilirubin and/or signs of liver dysfunction, it can indicate the presence of liver or bile obstruction.
Protein in the urine may be a sign of kidney disease. Small amounts of albumin may be found in the urine when kidney dysfunction begins to develop. Glucose in the urine indicates diabetes. In a person who has diabetes, ketones in urine may also be an early indication of insufficient insulin. When this test is positive and/or the WBC count in urine is high, it may indicate that there is inflammation in the urinary tract or kidneys. The most common cause for WBCs in urine (leukocyturia) is a bacterial urinary tract infection (UTI), such as a bladder or kidney infection.
While you can’t control everything that affects bladder health, there are some steps you can take to improve bladder health. Follow these tips to keep your bladder healthy: