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Alternative Names Return to topUrine appearance and color; Routine urine test
Definition Return to top
Urinalysis is the physical, chemical, and microscopic examination of urine. It involves a number of tests to detect and measure various compounds that pass through the urine.
How the Test is Performed Return to top
A urine sample is needed. Your health care provider will tell you what type of urine sample is needed. For information on how to collect a urine sample, see:
There are three basic steps to a complete urinalysis:
Physical color and appearance:
The urine specific gravity test reveals how concentrated or dilute the urine is.
See also: Urine chemistry
How to Prepare for the Test Return to top
Certain medicines change the color of urine, but this is not a sign of disease. Your doctor may tell you to stop taking any medicines that can affect test results.
Medicines that can change your urine color include:
How the Test Will Feel Return to top
The test involves only normal urination, and there is no discomfort.
Why the Test is Performed Return to top
A urinalysis may be done:
Additional conditions under which the test may be performed:
Normal Results Return to top
Normal urine may vary in color from almost colorless to dark yellow. Some foods (like beets and blackberries) may turn the urine a red color.
Usually, glucose, ketones, protein, bilirubin, are not detectable in urine. The following are not normally found in urine:
Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
What Abnormal Results Mean Return to top
For specific results, see the individual test article:
Risks Return to top
There are no risks.
Considerations Return to top
If a home test is used, the person reading the results must be able to distinguish between different colors, since the results are interpreted using a color chart.
References Return to top
McPherson RA, Ben-Ezra J, Zhao S. Basic Examination of Urine. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR. McPherson & Pincus: Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 21st ed. Philadelphia, Pa: W.B. Saunders Company; 2006:chap 27.Update Date: 3/14/2009 Updated by: Linda Vorvick, MD, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.