How Much Can Urine Tell You?
If you have ever visited a urologist for a condition or ailment, you likely have been asked to submit a urine sample. Following a quick analysis, your doctor will be able to diagnose your condition and assess your overall health simply from a urine test. But what exactly is your urologist looking for when he submits your sample to the laboratory? It turns out, a great deal of information lies within a urine sample, which can help diagnose and determine ongoing treatment. Let’s examine this seemingly standard and straightforward test to explore just how powerful a simple urinalysis can be.
What Is Urinalysis?
Urinalysis is the medical term for a test designed to examine a urine sample provided by a patient. A small amount of urine is collected and then inspected. A doctor will use several techniques to examine your urine, including a visual inspection, chemical test, and microscopic evaluation. Following a thorough test, your urologist, based out of Bryan Hospital, will be able to make a diagnosis better and suggest a suitable treatment plan. Most commonly, urinalysis is used to help determine pregnancy, diagnose infection or disease, and help determine overall health and wellness.
During a visual exam of your urine, the urologist will look at the urine to determine the overall color and consistency. By examining the urine color, a urologist will determine if there is possible blood in the urine or if the patient is dehydrated. Cloudy urine or urine that has an odor may indicate the patient has an infection.
During a chemical test, the urologist will look for specific chemical reactions that can help determine the chemical makeup of the patient’s urine. During the chemical portion of the testing, your doctor will look for several markers or indicators to help make a diagnosis. Some of the more common tests include:
- Concentration – The concentration test examines the individual particles found within the urine. If a patient has a high concentration, it can mean the patient is dehydrated.
- Acidity – Your doctor will test the pH level of your urine. Highly acidic urine could indicate a kidney condition.
- Ketones – Testing for ketones present in urine could be an early sign of diabetes.
- Sugar – Having sugar concentration in the urine may mean the patient has diabetes. In normal urine, sugar will not be present during testing.
- Protein – Although protein is normal in urine, it could suggest a kidney problem if levels are elevated.
- Nitrates – If there are nitrates present in the urine, it could signify a urinary tract infection.
- Blood – Detecting blood in the urine could be a sign of a bigger problem. Bloody urine is related to several conditions, including bladder stones, kidney damage, disease, infection, or even a blood disorder.
The remaining urinalysis will include a microscopic evaluation. The doctor will look at a small portion of your urine sample under a microscope during this test to examine individual cells. Not only will your doctor be able to detect any infection or yeast cells, but your doctor will also look at your total white blood cells and red blood cells. Having an abnormal amount of white or red blood cells in your urine could indicate an infection. Your urologist will also look for any crystals that may be present in the urine. Finding crystals could be a sign of kidney or bladder stones.