Join for Just $16 A Year
- Discounts on travel and everyday savings
- Subscription to AARP The Magazine
- Free membership for your spouse or partner
A urinalysis is a laboratory test done to detect problems with your body that can appear in your urine.
Many illnesses and disorders affect how your body removes waste and toxins. The system that takes care of that is broadly called the excretory system, and includes your lungs, kidneys, urinary tract, skin, and bladder. Problems with any of these parts of your body can affect the appearance, concentration, and content of your urine (Mayo).
Urinalysis is not the same as drug screening or pregnancy tests, although all three tests involve a urine sample.
There are several reasons your doctor may order you to undergo urinalysis.
Urinalysis is often used as pre-emptive screening during pregnancy checkups, prior to surgery, or part of a routine medical exam or physical.
Your doctor may order urinalysis if he or she suspects you certain conditions, or you experience certain symptoms, including:
If you’ve been diagnosed with any of these conditions, your doctor may use urinalysis testing to check on the progress of treatments or tracking the progression of a disease.
Urinalysis carries no risks to the patient as it simply requires you to urinate in a cup.
One of the best ways to prepare for giving a urine sample is to make sure you drink enough water to provide an adequate sample.
Prior to the test, tell your doctor about any medications or supplements you take as these may affect the results.
Urinalysis is performed in a laboratory setting. This may be at your doctor’s office, hospital, or specialized testing facility.
You’ll be given a plastic cup. You’ll take the cup to the bathroom. There, in a private setting, you’ll urinate into the cup. If you have too much urine and not enough cup, you can finish urinating in the toilet.
When you’re finished, you’ll place the lid on the cup and wash your hands. You’ll either bring the cup out of the bathroom with you, or leave it in a special box inside the bathroom.
After you’ve provided your sample, your portion of the test is done. The sample will then be sent to a lab, or remain in the hospital if they have the necessary equipment.
The urine sample will be tested by appearance, under a microscope, and with specialized strips treated with chemicals to test for the following (UU):
When the results from your urinalysis are complete, your doctor will review them with you.
Abnormal results from urinalysis typically requires additional screening methods to adequately determine the cause of your problems. This could include blood tests, imaging tests (CT scans, MRI, etc.), or other diagnostic procedures.
Written by: Brian Krans
Updated on Feb 15, 2013
Medically reviewed by Brenda B. Spriggs, MD, MPH, FACP
Enter your symptoms in our Symptom Checker to find out possible causes of your symptoms. Go.
Enter any list of prescription drugs and see how they interact with each other and with other substances. Go.
Enter its color and shape information, and this tool helps you identify it. Go.
Find information on drug interactions, side effects, and more. Go.
From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.
Members get a free Rx card from AARP® Prescription Discounts provided by Catamaran.
Members get 10 free health tests from Walgreens Way to Well Health Tour with AARP®.
Members learn the ABCs of buying health insurance with Aetna’s 15-Minute Health Insurance Guide.
Caregiving can be a lonely journey, but AARP offers resources that can help.