Urinalysis Urine Tests: Procedure, Costs, & What Results Mean
A urinalysis is a test of your urine that can be used to detect and manage a wide range of disorders. Mira’s research indicates that urinalysis tests can cost anywhere between $30 to $250, depending on the depth of the panel. Of course, how much you actually pay out-of-pocket can exceed this cost and depends on several factors, such as insurance status and where you were tested.
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Urinalysis Procedure Overview
A urinalysis involves examining the appearance, concentration, and content of your urine. Unusual urinalysis results often necessitate further testing to identify potential health issues, such as disease or illness.
Depending on your situation, you will collect a urine sample either at home or in the doctor’s office using a provided container to collect the sample. You may be asked to collect the sample first thing in the morning when urine is most concentrated and abnormalities are more easily detected.
To acquire the most accurate results, the sample may need to be collected midstream (mid-way in your urination). This method involves urinating in a cup to the instructions of your physician.
After a sample of your urine is collected, it will undergo several visual and chemical tests. A lab technician will first examine the urine’s appearance. Under normal circumstances, urine is clear. Therefore, cloudiness or an unusual odor may indicate an underlying issue, such as a urinary tract infection. Blood in the urine may also make it look red or brown, which may also be a sign of health issues.
Several factors, such as what you have just eaten, may influence the color of your urine. Therefore, urinalysis tests also encompass a dipstick test, wherein a thin, plastic stick with strips of chemicals on it, is placed in the urine to detect chemical abnormalities. The stick will change color if certain substances are present or if their levels are above normal. Outlined below are the most commonly examined chemicals in a dipstick test of urinalysis:
- Acidity (pH): The pH levels refer to how acidic your urine is. Abnormal pH levels may be indicative of underlying health issues, such as kidney and/or urinary tract disorders.
- Concentration: The concentration of your urine indicates how many particles are in your urine. High concentrations demonstrate that you may not be drinking enough water.
- Protein: Urine usually has low levels of protein. While slightly elevated levels of protein in your urine are usually not caused for concern, large amounts of protein may demonstrate an underlying kidney issue.
- Sugar: Urine usually has extremely low concentrations of sugar. Any detectable sugar in the urine usually is followed by testing for diabetes.
- Ketones: Elevated ketone levels may be a sign of diabetes.
- Bilirubin: Elevated levels of bilirubin, a product of red blood cell breakdown, is abnormal. When present in the urine, bilirubin may indicate liver damage and/or disease.
- Evidence of Infection: If products of white blood cells are found in your urine, it may be a sign of a urinary tract infection.
- Blood: Urine containing blood can be a sign of kidney damage, infection, kidney/bladder stones, cancer, or blood disorders.
Microscopic examinations of urine are routinely used as a part of urinalysis tests. During these examinations, several drops of urine are viewed under a microscope for close analysis that can help your doctor decide your next means of treatment. If any of the following substances are found during the microscopic examination of a urinalysis test, then you may need to seek additional testing:
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- White Blood Cells (leukocytes): May be a sign of infection
- Red Blood Cells (erythrocytes): May be a sign of kidney disease, a blood disorder, or bladder cancer
- Bacteria: May indicate an infection
- Yeasts: May indicate an infection
- Casts: Tube-shaped proteins that may form as a result of kidney disorders
- Crystals: Form from chemicals in the urine and may be a sign of kidney/bladder stones
Several employers and organizations may require you to get a urinalysis drug test. These tests are often separate from diagnostic urinalysis tests and check for several drugs of abuse (even after they have worn off). Some of these drugs include:
- Illegal Medicines
- Prescription Medicines
- Crack (Cocaine)
- Heroin (Opiates)
- Speed/Uppers (Amphetamine/Methamphetamine)
- Angel Dust/PCP
- Tricyclic Antidepressants
Preparing for Urinalysis Tests
Under most circumstances, you can eat and drink normally prior to your urinalysis test. However, if you are having more than one test at the same time, you may need to fast a certain amount of time prior to testing. For your exact preparation, you should consult your doctor.
You should also note that many drugs, including nonprescription medications and supplements, can affect the results of your urinalysis urine test. You should tell your doctor about all supplements and medications (e.g. vitamins, minerals) you are currently taking before your urinalysis.
Urinalysis Urine Test Cost
Mira’s research indicates that the average diagnostic urinalysis test can cost anywhere between $30 to $250. However, the cost of a urinalysis urine test depends on where you get the test and how in-depth the test is. If you get the test at an ER/hospital, it will most likely be more expensive than at your primary care physician. In addition, if your test is highly in-depth — encompassing visual, dipstick, and microscopic examination — it will likely be more expensive than a urinalysis test that includes only one or two of these examinations.
What Urinalysis Results Mean
Urinalysis results can have many interpretations. Generally, the greater the concentration of an abnormal substance, the more likely it is that it is a problem that needs to be addressed. Below are the references ranges for the average individual undergoing a urinalysis urine test.
Urinalysis Reference Range (Dipstick and Visual)
|Color||Yello (light/pale to dark/deep amber)|
|pH||5 to 9|
|Concentration (Specific Gravity)||1.003 to 1.030|
|Urobilinogen (Bilirubin)||Trace to 1mg/dL|
|Leukocyte Esterase (White Blood Cells)||Negative|
Urinalysis Reference Range (Microscopic Examination)
|White Blood Cells||Male: 0 to 2 per hpf // Female: 0 to 5 per hpf|
|Red Blood Cells||Male: 0 to 3 per hpf // Female: 0 to 4 per hpf|
|Casts||0 to 1 Hyaline/Ipf|
|Epithelial, Squamous||Varies with Method of Collection|
|Epithelia, Transitional||0 to 2|
|Bacteria: Clean Catch||Occasional|
|Bacteria Catheterized||None seen|
After you receive your results, you should consult your doctor for interpretation. Results that fall out of the above reference range can be completely harmless at times, while others may demonstrate a serious threat to your health. Simultaneously, normal urinalysis does not mean that you do not have an underlying disease or illness. We break down what your results might mean below:
|Urine Color||Unusual urine colors can be the result of disease, medication, or the result of eating certain foods.|
|Urine Clarity||Cloudy urine can be indicative of disease that may require attention.|
|Concentration||High concentration indicates dehydration|
|pH||Underlying conditions can increase or decrease the pH value of your urine.|
|Bilirubin||The presence of bilirubin may indicate certain liver diseases, such as hepatitis|
|Protein||The presence of protein may be indicative of a condition called proteinuria|
|Glucose||The presence of glucose may be indicative of diabetes, hormonal disorders, liver disease, and/or pregnancy.|
|Ketones||The presence of ketones may indicate diabetes.|
|White Blood Cells||When found in your urine, white blood cells demonstrate that an infection may be present (e.g. UTI).|
|Bacteria/Yeast||Indicate an infection|
|Casts||Presence is associated with kidney diseases|
|Crystals||Presence is associated with bladder/kidney stones|
When To Get Tested
There are several reasons you should get a urinalysis urine test. First, you should get a urinalysis test when you have symptoms such as abdominal pain, back pain, frequent urination, or painful urination. Alternatively, your physician may order a urinalysis as part of a routine physical examination. In addition, your doctor may require a urinalysis test as part of a pregnancy check-up, hospital admission, or pre-surgical workup
Where To Get Tested
Many healthcare providers’ offices and clinics perform the visual and chemical components of the urinalysis test; however, not all will be able to perform the microscopic examination. Outlined below are several options to test your urine.
- At-home Testing Kits
- Primary Care Physicians
- Urgent Care Clinics
- Hospitals/Emergency Rooms
Why Get Tested
Urinalysis tests help screen for, diagnose, and monitor several diseases and conditions. Often, they are used as a preventative measure, to ensure that you do not get sick and thereby saving you money in the long run. However, they are frequently used as diagnostic tests.
Urinalysis urine tests are painless and are used to assess kidney function as well as diseases such as urinary tract infections. Most urinalysis tests range between $30 and $250, and the actual price you pay out-of-pocket will depend on where you are tested and how in-depth the test is. It is always important to review your test results with a healthcare professional who will let you know if any abnormalities are present and what this might mean for your health.
Why not simplify your healthcare experience? For just $45 per month, Mira members can access discounted urgent care visits, primary care visits, lab tests, and prescription medication. Sign up for Mira and you can visit a primary care physician or urgent care clinic who can offer you urinalysis urine tests as early as today.