What you should know about urinalysis test

General overview on urinalysis test

Urine is the waste product of body metabolism. This waste product is mainly produce through urinary truck system. The main organ of urinary truck system is the kidney. The kidney plays a major important role in the elimination of urine which is a very important function for different bodily activities. It also helps in regulation of balance of water in the body and more also gets rid of substances that are produced during metabolic processes and are no longer needed by the body. If urinary truck system fails to work normally the result can be accumulation of waste product (toxins).Accumulation of this waste product may lead to kidney dysfunction and infection.

Your urine can tell a lot about your current health and sometime a test is required to make diagnosis and rule out any abnormalities in kidney function. A simple test that you can do at home is urinalysis by dipstick method.

What is urinalysis?

Urinalysis is useful procedure as an indicator of health or disease, and such is a part of routine health screening. Urinalysis involves checking any abnormalities in urine since urine undergoes many physiological changes during state of disease and body dysfunction before alteration to a significant extend. A urinalysis checks appearance, concentration and content of urine and is used to detect a wide range of medical disorders, such as urinary tract infections (UTI’s), kidney disease and diabetes.

What is Urinalysis kit and reagent stripes (dipstick) 

In order to undertake this test, we as Laboratory technologist team we have been using different urinalysis kit. urinalysis kit contains several reagents strips. Reagent strips for urinalysis are plastic strips to which several separate absorbent reagent test areas are affixed. The reagent strips are packaged in plastic vials containing a desiccant and closed with a tightly fitting plastic stopper cap and aluminum foil cover. This reagent are also called dipstick stripes .The dipstick urinalysis is often used as the initial screen for the detection of patients for chemical abnormalities. Diabetic patients often monitor their own disease for signs of glycosuria, proteinuria and urinary tract infections by home testing of urine. Thus, the examination of urine can be performed in a variety of clinical settings, including emergency rooms, outpatient clinics, private physicians’ offices, and patients’ homes. Good news about this stripes is that they are easy to use such that any person can do a test and be able to interpret the result at home. This reagent strip can be used in general evaluation of health and aids in diagnosis and monitoring of metabolic or systemic disease that affect kidney function, endocrine disorder and disorder of the urinary track system. Strips will change color if certain substances are present or if certain levels are above, or below, normal which can indicate the presence of compounds like:

  1. Leucocyte
  2. Nitrites,
  3. Urobilinogen
  4. Proteins,
  5. pH
  6. Blood
  7. Specific gravity
  8. Ketones,
  9. Bilirubin
  10. Glucose
  11. Ascorbic acid
  12. Hemoglobin
  13. Harmful pathogens
  14. Micro-Albumin

The test mostly gives both qualitative and quantitative detection of the above analyte in the urine:

IMPORTANT NOTE: The test strips are available without a prescription at your local pharmacy or online stores such as Amazon on the Internet, however, home use urine test strips are intended for self-diagnosis purposes, and should be used in consultation with your doctor. It is always preferable to consult a medical practitioner if you have any health concerns though dipstick urinalysis is convenient, false-positive and false-negative results can occur. The information given here will only help you carry out urinalysis test at home which is a self-screening test to check any abnormalities in your urine. Therefore in case of any abnormalities detected it always wise to consult your doctor who can initiate treatment.

Why should you do a urinalysis test?

  • Urinalysis is often used as a preemptive screening during a pregnancy checkup to ensure both mother and child health.
  • As part of a routine medical or physical examination that assure you fitness from urinary tract infection, diabetes, liver disease and any other kidney related infection.

You may also want to do a urinalysis test by yourself at home if you experience certain symptoms, such as:

  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Back pain
  • Blood In your urine
  • Painful urination

How should you prepare for the test?

For urinalysis test you can eat and drink normally before the test and ensure that you take plenty of water. Many drugs, including nonprescription medications and supplements, can affect the results of a urinalysis. Therefore, before urinalysis test avoid taking medications such as vitamins or other supplements.

What can you expect?

Depending on your situation, you may collect a urine sample at home. You may collect urine sample first thing in the morning because at that time your urine is more concentrated, and accurate result may be more obvious.

To get the most accurate results, the sample may need to be collected midstream, using a clean-catch method. This method involves the following steps:

How to collect midstream urine using clean-catch method

  1. Cleanse the urinary opening. Women should spread their labia and clean from front to back. Men should wipe the tip of the penis.
  2. Begin to urinate into the toilet directly.
  3. Pass the collection container into your urine stream.
  4. Urinate at least 1 to 2 times (30 to 59 milliliters) into a clean collection container.
  5. Finish urinating into the toilet.
  6. Deliver the sample at the site where you want to carry out the test and do the test as soon as possible.

How can you do the test?

The directions must be followed exactly and it is necessary to use fresh, well mixed un-centrifuged urine for optimal results, the test strips must be maintained in a tightly capped in the plastic vial to assure reagent reactivity.


  1. Open the bottle containing reagent strip and quickly remove number of strip you want.
  2. Recap immediately the bottle after removing strip to avoid moisture contact with the strip. 
  3. Immerse the strip into urine sample for 1-2 seconds
  4. Remove the strip from the urine and hold it horizontally so color pads do not bleed onto each other
  5. Wait for exalt time shown on the bottle to read the result
     Match color on strip with color on bottle label (read the color at the listed time for most accurate results.

What results can you expect?

When performing a urinalysis test at home, you should evaluated sample in two ways i.e. visual and dipstick examination.

Visual exam

In visual examination you should examine your urine 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 also be influenced by what you take as a food or a drink.

Dipstick test

A dipstick as discussed above is a thin, plastic stick with strips of chemicals on it .It is usually placed in the urine to detect abnormalities where by chemical reagent on the strips change color when certain substances are present or if their levels are above normal.

What does dip stick analyze in the urine?

Urinalysis dip stick reagent is able to analyze the follow parameter in the urine:

  •  pH: The pH level indicates the amount of acid in urine or alkalinity in urine. Abnormal pH levels may indicate a kidney or urinary tract disorder.
  • Specific gravity: The specific gravity is a measure of concentrated of particles in your urine. A higher than normal concentration often is a result of not drinking enough fluids especially water.
  • Protein: Low levels of protein in urine are normal. Small increases in protein in urine usually aren’t a cause for concern, but larger amounts may indicate a kidney problem.
  • Glucose: Normally the amount of sugar (glucose) in urine is too low to be detected. Any detection of sugar on this test usually calls for follow-up testing for diabetes.
  • Ketones: Ketones are produced when the body burns fat for energy or fuel. They are also produced when there is not enough insulin to help your body use sugar for energy. High ketone levels in urine may indicate diabetic ketoacidosis which is a complication of diabetes that can lead to a coma or even death
  • Bilirubin: Bilirubin is a product of red blood cell breakdown. Normally, bilirubin is carried in the blood and passes into your liver, where it’s removed and becomes part of bile. Bilirubin in your urine may indicate liver damage or disease.
  • Nitrites or leukocyte: Presence of this esterase parametersis an evidence of infectionand a sign of a urinary tract infection. This esterase’s parameters is also an indicative of product of white blood cells in the body when detected in your urine.
  • Blood: Blood in your urine is an indicative of kidney damage, infection, kidney or bladder stones, kidney or bladder cancer, or blood disorders.

Medical Laboratory Scientist

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