What Your Urine Says About Your Health

Among the most often recommended medical testing done today is the testing of urine, or urinalysis. This test is used to detect and manage a wide range of disorders such as urinary tract infections, kidney disease and diabetes.

Our kidneys remove waste material, fluids and other substances from our blood. The urine can contain many different clues to how our body is working. The results of urine tests can be affected by diet, dehydration, medicines, exercise and many other factors.

Urinalysis involves checking the appearance, concentration and content of urine. Abnormal urinalysis results may point to a disease of illness. For example, a urinary tract infection (UTI) can make urine look cloudy instead of clear. Increased levels of protein in urine can be a sign of kidney disease. Unusual urinalysis results often require more testing to uncover the source of the problem.

Why would a urinalysis be recommended?

  • To check your overall health. A urinalysis might be recommended as part of a routine medical exam, pregnancy checkup, pre-surgery preparation or on hospital admission to screen for a variety of disorders.
  • To diagnose a medical condition. Urinalysis may help diagnose the cause of various symptoms. These symptoms could include abdominal pain, back pain, frequent or painful urination, blood in your urine or other urinary problems.
  • To monitor a medical condition. If you’ve been diagnosed with a medical condition such as kidney disease or a urinary tract disease, doing a urinalysis on a regular basis can be done to monitor the condition and effectiveness of ongoing treatment.

The analysis of urine has three parts:

  1. Visual examination of the urine sample for color and clearness. Blood may make urine look red or the color of tea or cola. As previously stated, infection may make urine look cloudy.

  2. A dipstick examination, which uses a chemically treated strip.  Strips can check for many things in addition to protein and glucose including:  pregnancy, legal and illegal drugs that are processed by the kidney, the pH of urine which can indicate kidney stones, urinary infections or chronic kidney disease.  

  3. Urinalysis also includes examining a small amount of urine under a microscope.  Some of the things a microscopic exam can reveal are:  number of red blood cells which can be indicative of kidney damage, kidney stones or bladder cancer, white blood cells which are a sign of infection or inflammation in the kidneys, bacteria which is usually a sign of infection somewhere in the body, crystals which can indicate chemical imbalance that can lead to kidney stones.

Urinalysis does not answer all the questions about our health.  Sometimes, it can provide a clue to send us in the direction of understanding health problems. Our urine can provide vital information regarding our state of health or the presence of a disease process. So, when you are asked to “pee in the cup”, you now know how important it can be for your medical care. Be Blessed.

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