The nurse hands you a cup, nods toward the restroom, and gives you instructions about what to do with your urine sample. Why? What can your doctor learn from testing your urine?
The expert providers at Northeast Florida Internal Medicine, Elyssa Blissenbach, MD, and Lea-Anne Griffis, APRN, order urine tests for a variety of reasons. We always discuss the results of any regular or diagnostic tests we ask you to take, and in this post, we give an overview of what kinds of things we can learn from urine tests, or urinalysis.
Several very common conditions can be diagnosed with urine tests. Urinalysis can also provide information to help your provider diagnose certain conditions. Following are some of the most common times you may be asked to take a urine test.
Several illnesses can be detected with urinalysis before you have any symptoms, so we often include a urine test as part of your regular, annual checkup. For example, diabetes, liver disease, and kidney disease can all be found through urine tests. If you have risk factors for any of those conditions, it’s likely your provider will include a urinalysis as part of your yearly physical.
If you’re taking a new prescription, need to have an X-ray, or think you may be pregnant, you’ll take a urine test to determine if you’re pregnant or not. Often, we require urine tests even when you’re sure you’re not pregnant. Urinalysis may also be part of a regular checkup during pregnancy.
A urine test can help us pinpoint the cause of any urinary tract problems you may have. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are very common and a urinalysis can help us prescribe the right medication.
If you have a condition such as kidney disease, you can expect regular urine tests as part of monitoring your condition.
When you tell us about your symptoms, we work to figure out why you’re experiencing them. Some symptoms are associated with conditions that can be diagnosed with urinalysis. Some of the things that indicate a urine test would be helpful include:
These symptoms could be related to a number of different issues, so testing to learn more information is crucial to making sure you get the most appropriate treatment.
When you take a urine test, we may be interested in the acidity of your urine. Abnormal acidity could be related to a kidney problem or a UTI. The level of various proteins in your urine may also be an indication of a kidney issue.
Your urine also contains glucose, or sugar, and the amount may indicate that you have diabetes or prediabetes.
Having a high number of white blood cells in your urine could be related to an infection or inflammation somewhere in your urinary tract. Nitrates in your urine may be associated with certain types of bacteria. Blood in your urine can also be an indication of infection.
Your liver produces a waste product called bilirubin. If you have bilirubin in your urine it could mean that your liver isn’t working properly because bilirubin is usually eliminated in your liver.
Your results are unique, both to you and to some extent, to the moment in time when you provide a urine sample. For example, if you’re just getting over a cold, you may have a higher level of inflammation than usual, and your urinalysis results could indicate it.
Often, after unusual urine test results, we may ask you to take further diagnostic tests. But, we will always discuss your results with you and explain why we would like more information.
If you have questions about what’s involved in a urinalysis, schedule an appointment at Northeast Florida Internal Medicine today.