22 Dec Urinalysis – Urinary Tract Infection Test Panel
Your doctor may order a urinary health panel, also known as a urinalysis, to evaluate your health via a urine sample. A urinalysis can include various tests, which can be chosen based on your unique situation. This article will share an overview of the urinalysis test (UA test), including how it works and how you can get one at home.
How does Urinalysis Work?
Different methods can be used to collect a urine sample. Typically, a urine collection is performed by having you pee into a cup. Your doctor will inform you about any special steps you need to take, such as collecting your urine first thing in the morning.
You’ll usually be instructed to do a clean catch urine sample. This is done to prevent contamination from bacteria found on and around the genitals and usually just means that you’ll have to wipe yourself before collecting the sample. You’ll want to pee a small amount into the toilet, then collect the urine mid-stream. Sometimes, urine samples are collected using a catheter, but this is more often used in special scenarios or if you are hospitalized and already have a catheter.
Some common conditions that a urinalysis can help diagnose are liver disease, kidney disease, diabetes, and urinary tract infection (UTIs). Urine samples can evaluate many aspects of your health, so your doctor will order what they want to test based on any symptoms or risk factors you are presenting. Generally, urinalysis tests examine a urine sample’s appearance and chemical and microscopic findings.
Color and Appearance of Urine
One of the first things your doctor will typically look at with urinalysis is the color and appearance of the sample. A lot can be gathered simply by examining a urine sample at face value. Typically, a healthy urine sample will be clear and pale yellow. If your urine is cloudy (foamy) or discolored, this may indicate a sign of disease.
Cloudy urine may indicate dehydration, UTIs, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), kidney stones, or diabetes. Urine that has a reddish hue may have streaks of blood in it. Remember that certain foods and medications can also alter urine color, so it is important to always have your urine sample evaluated by a skilled healthcare professional – even when doing a urinalysis at home.
Chemical Findings in Urine
Urine chemical findings are usually evaluated using a tool called a dipstick. A dipstick is a small paper strip with different colors that change when they come into contact with certain substances.
A standard dipstick urinalysis includes chemical findings that may be looked at in a urine sample including protein, pH level, ketone bodies, glucose, creatinine, bilirubin, nitrites, leukocytes, and specific gravity of urine. If your doctor finds that your urine contains abnormal substances, they will consider the amount of these substances that are present.
If there are only trace amounts, it may not be a cause for concern, whereas if the test comes back as having high amounts of protein or bilirubin present, this could indicate the need for further testing. The condition of having protein in urine is called proteinuria or albuminuria, it is another reason why your urine is cloudy. It is a sign that your kidneys are damaged.
Microscopic Findings in Urine
Microscopic findings can be evaluated with a urine test by looking at the urine sample under a microscope and looking for cells, cell fragments, urinary casts, mucus, bacteria, or crystals. If your doctor wants to look at the microscopic findings of your urine sample, they will have to send it to a lab. Lab test results usually take some time to get back.
Some substances that can be looked at when evaluating a urine sample under a microscope include:
- Red blood cells – confirm if you have blood in your urine. Sometimes the urine becomes discolored and can look like it has blood in it but testing for red blood cells helps to confirm this finding. There are many different reasons why blood may be in the urine. Blood could get into the urine from vaginal bleeding, hemorrhoids, or blood in the urinary tract from infection.
- White blood cells – or leukocytes are not typically found in a healthy urine sample. If a urine sample comes back with white blood cells present, this could indicate an infection or some degree of inflammation in the urinary tract. White blood cells are found in the urine when the immune system is taking action to fight infection.
- Epithelial cells – are usually found in the urine in smaller amounts. Epithelial cells line the internal and external surfaces of the body. If epithelial cells are elevated in the urine, it could indicate infection or cancer.
- Bacteria, yeast, or parasites – bacteria in the urine indicates a urinary tract infection or UTI. Yeast or parasites may be found in the urine if a patient has a vaginal yeast infection or a sexually transmitted infection.
- Urinary casts – small tube-like particles sometimes found in the urine. Some types of urinary casts are normal, while others may indicate kidney issues.
Do DIY At-home Urinalysis Test Kits Work?
You may not have to go to your doctor’s office to have a urinary health panel performed. Collecting urine sample at home is convenient and more hygienic. It is possible to check for UTI at home (among other urinary conditions) with an at-home urine test. You can purchase a dipstick test over the counter at your local drugstore. This can give you an idea of what may be going on to indicate if you need to see a doctor. However, testing with a trained professional is always recommended.
A trained professional can come to you and do urinalysis at home using a concierge medical service. This type of testing is convenient and reliable. You get to be tested in the comfort of your home, plus you know that your results will be interpreted by a trained professional so you can receive the proper diagnosis and treatment.
Available Treatments if Urinalysis Results are Abnormal
Urinalysis tests evaluate many aspects of health and can detect various conditions. These conditions require different treatment options.
Urinary tract infections occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract, causing infection.
Common signs of UTI include:
- Pain while urinating
- Frequent urination
- Blood in urine
- Cloudy urine
- Pain in the groin.
UTIs are easily treated using antibiotics. You may need to make some lifestyle adjustments if you have recurring UTIs, such as drinking water more frequently or changing what you eat.
Bladder infections are similar to UTIs but are specific to the bladder rather than occurring along the urinary tract. The symptoms of a bladder infection are similar to a UTI but may also include abdominal pain and cramping. Doctors usually treat bladder infections with antibiotics.
Kidney infections can occur when UTIs and bladder infections go untreated. Common symptoms of kidney infections include fever, chills, and pain in the back. Kidney infections are often treated with antibiotics but may require hospitalization for IV fluids and IV antibiotics. It is important to seek medical treatment promptly if you think you may have a kidney infection.
A urinalysis provides you and your doctor with essential information about many different health conditions. Issues in the urinary tract can be minor or severe, but even a minor infection, when left untreated, may lead to more serious complications. It is important to have a urinalysis performed and interpreted by a trained professional. At-home testing with a professional service is a convenient and reliable method.
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Get your at Home UTI Test in with Concierge MD
If you require an UTI test to discover if you have an infection that might cause a variety of illnesses but want to avoid going to the doctor's office due to the inconvenience, consider Concierge MD. Concierge MD makes it simple to get an UTI test in the comfort of your own home, and it may be done online or over the phone.
Once you’ve made an appointment our medical specialists will visit your home to collect the samples required for the lab test. The sample is then sent to the lab, and after the findings are received, another specialist of ours will contact you to explain what they indicate.
Avoid going to the clinic by booking an UTI test with Concierge MD to be administered at your home.