Urine Test: About This Test

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Kidneys, ureters, bladder

What is it?

A urine test checks the colour, clarity (clear or cloudy), odour, concentration, and acidity (pH) of your urine. It also checks your levels of protein, sugar, blood cells, or other substances in your urine. This test is sometimes called a urinalysis.

Why is this test done?

A urine test may be done:

  • To check for a disease or infection of the urinary tract. The urinary tract includes the kidneys, the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder (ureters), and the bladder. It also includes the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body (urethra).
  • To check the treatment of conditions such as diabetes, kidney stones, a urinary tract infection (UTI), high blood pressure, or some kidney or liver diseases.

How can you prepare for the test?

  • Before the test, don't eat foods that can change the colour of your urine. Examples of these include blackberries, beets, and rhubarb.
  • Don't do heavy exercise before the test.
  • Tell your doctor if you are menstruating or close to starting your period. Your doctor may want to wait to do the test.
  • Tell your doctor about all the non-prescription and prescription medicines and herbs or other natural health products you take. Some of these can affect the results of this test.

What happens during the test?

A urine test can be done in your doctor's office, clinic, or lab. Or you may be asked to collect a urine sample at home. Then you can take it to the office or lab for testing.

Clean-catch midstream urine collection

  • Wash your hands before you start.
  • If the cup you are given has a lid, remove it carefully. Set it down with the inner surface up. Don't touch the inside of the cup with your fingers.
  • Clean the area around your genitals.
    • For men: Pull back the foreskin, if present. Clean the head of your penis with medicated towelettes or swabs.
    • For women: Spread open the genital folds of skin with one hand. Then use medicated towelettes or swabs in your other hand to clean the area where urine comes out (the urethra). Wipe the area from front to back.
  • Start urinating into the toilet or urinal. A woman should hold apart the genital folds of skin while she urinates.
  • After the urine has flowed for several seconds, place the cup into the urine stream. Collect about 60 millilitres of urine without stopping your flow of urine.
  • Don't touch the rim of the cup to your genital area. Don't get toilet paper, pubic hair, stool (feces), menstrual blood, or anything else in the urine sample.
  • Finish urinating into the toilet or urinal.
  • Carefully replace and tighten the lid on the cup, and then return it to the lab. If you are collecting the urine at home and can't get it to the lab in an hour, refrigerate it.

Double-voided urine sample collection

This method collects the urine your body is making right now.

  • Urinate into the toilet or urinal. Don't collect any of this urine.
  • Drink a large glass of water, and wait about 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Then get a urine sample. Follow the instructions above for collecting a clean-catch urine sample.
  • Take the urine sample to the lab. If you are collecting the urine at home and can't get it to the lab in an hour, refrigerate it.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines you take. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your test results.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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