Urinalysis is a test that evaluates a sample of your urine. Urinalysis is used to detect and assess a wide range of disorders, such as urinary tract infection, kidney disease and diabetes.

Urinalysis involves examining the appearance, concentration and content of urine. Abnormal urinalysis results may point to a disease or illness. For example, a urinary tract infection can make urine look cloudy instead of clear. Increased levels of protein in urine can be a sign of kidney disease.

Abnormal results of a urinalysis often require more testing and evaluation to uncover the source of the problem.

Why it's done How you prepare What you can expect Results

Urinalysis is a common test that's done for several reasons:

  • To assess your overall health. Your doctor may recommend urinalysis as part of a routine medical exam, pregnancy checkup, pre-surgery preparation, or on hospital admission to screen for a variety of disorders, such as diabetes, kidney disease and liver disease.
  • To diagnose a medical condition. Your doctor may suggest urinalysis if you're experiencing abdominal pain, back pain, frequent or painful urination, blood in your urine or other urinary problems. Urinalysis may help diagnose the cause of these symptoms.
  • To monitor a medical condition. If you've been diagnosed with a medical condition, such as kidney disease or urinary tract disease, your doctor may recommend urinalysis on a regular basis to monitor your condition and treatment.

Other tests, such as pregnancy testing and drug screenings, also may require a sample of urine, but they test for substances that urinalysis typically doesn't include. For example, pregnancy testing measures a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). Drug screenings detect specific drugs or their metabolic products, depending on the purpose of the testing.

© 1998-2015 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. Terms of use