URINALYSIS Definition Urinalysis is a diagnostic physical, chemical, and microscopic examination of a urine sample (specimen).

Specimens can be obtained by normal emptying of the bladder (voiding) or by a hospital procedure called catheterization. Purpose Urinalyses are performed for several reasons: • • • • • • • general evaluation of health diagnosis of metabolic or systemic diseases that affect kidney function diagnosis of endocrine disorders. Twenty-four hour urine studies are often ordered for these tests diagnosis of diseases or disorders of the kidneys or urinary tract monitoring of patients with diabetes testing for pregnancy screening for drug abuse

Precautions and Considerations: • Urinalysis should not be performed while a woman is menstruating or having a vaginal discharge. A woman who must have a urinalysis while she has a vaginal discharge or is having her period should insert a fresh tampon before beginning the test. She should also hold a piece of clean material over the entrance to her vagina to avoid contaminating the specimen. Patients do not have to fast or change their food intake before a urine test. They should, however, avoid intense athletic training or heavy physical work before the test because it may result in small amounts of blood in the urine. Certain drugs may affect urinalysis results. The patient may be asked to stop taking them until after the test: nitrofurantoin (Macrodantin, Furadantin). Nitrofurantoin is prescribed for infections of the urinary tract and other bacterial infections o phenazopyridine (Pyridium). This medication is used to relieve burning and pain caused by urinary-tract infections o rifampin (Rifadin). This medication is prescribed to treat tuberculosis, prevent the spread of meningitis, and treat other infections Some foods may affect color of urine like beets and berries. The patient may be asked to stop taking them until after the test: o

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Preparation Voided specimens Most urine specimens from adults or older children are collected by the patient's voiding into a suitable container. Soaps and disinfectants may contaminate urine specimens and should not be used. The doctor or laboratory may supply a special antiseptic solution that won't irritate the skin. The method for collection varies somewhat according to age and sex. o WOMEN AND GIRLS

Before collecting a urine sample, a woman or girl should use a clean cotton ball moistened with lukewarm water to cleanse the external genital area. Gently separating the folded skin (labia) on either side of her vagina, she should move the cotton ball from the front of the area to the back. After repeating this process several times, using a fresh piece of cotton each time, she should dry the area with a clean towel. To prevent menstrual blood, vaginal discharge, or germs from the external genitalia from contaminating the specimen, a woman or girl should release some urine before she begins to collect her sample. A urine specimen obtained this way is called a midstream clean catch. o MEN AND BOYS

A man or boy should use a piece of clean cotton, moistened with antiseptic, to cleanse the head of his penis and the passage through which urine leaves his body (the urethral meatus). He should draw back his foreskin if he has not been circumcised. He should move the cotton in a circular motion away from the urinary opening, using a fresh piece of cotton each time. After repeating this process several times, he should use a fresh piece of cotton to remove the antiseptic. After the area has been thoroughly cleansed, he should begin urinating and collect a small sample in a container without interrupting the stream of urine. o INFANTS

A parent, nurse, or doctor should cleanse the child's genitals and as much of the surrounding area as will fit into the sterile urine-collection bag provided by the hospital. When the area has been thoroughly cleansed, the bag should be attached to the child's genital area and left in place until the child has urinated. It is important to remember not to touch the inside of the bag and to remove it as soon as a specimen has been obtained. Bladder catheterization Bladder catheterization is a hospital procedure used to collect uncontaminated urine when the patient cannot void. A catheter is a thin flexible tube that the doctor inserts through the urethra into the bladder to allow urine to flow out. To minimize the risk of infecting the patient's bladder with bacteria, many doctors use a so-called Robinson catheter, which is a plain rubber or latex tube that is removed as soon as the specimen is collected. Suprapubic bladder aspiration is a technique that is sometimes used to collect urine from infants younger than six months. The doctor withdraws urine from the bladder into a syringe through a needle inserted through the skin over the bladder. This technique is used only when the child

cannot void because of an abnormal urethra or if he or she has a urinary tract infection that has not responded to treatment. Collection Collecting a urine sample from emptying the bladder takes about two or three minutes. The sample can be collected at home as well as in a doctor's office. Urine specimens are usually collected early in the morning before breakfast. Urine collected eight hours after eating and at least six hours after the most recent urination is more likely to indicate abnormalities. Some people may be asked to void into a clean container before getting out of bed in the morning. Specimen containers The doctor or hospital will supply a sterile container for a specimen being collected for a colony count. A colony count is a test that detects bacteria in urine that has been cultured for 24-48 hours. It is used instead of a routine urinalysis when a patient's symptoms suggest a urinary tract infection. Nonsterile containers can be used for routine specimens that will not be tested immediately after being collected. An ordinary open-necked jar may be used after it and its lid have been soaked in very hot water for 15-20 minutes and then air-dried. Storage Urine specimens should not remain unrefrigerated for longer than two hours. A urine specimen that cannot be delivered to a laboratory within two hours should be stored in a refrigerator. The reason for this precaution is that urine samples undergo chemical changes at room temperature. Blood cells begin to dissolve and the urine loses its acidity. Aftercare The patient may return to normal activities after collecting the sample and may start taking medications that were discontinued before the test. Risks There are no risks associated with voided specimens. The risk of bladder infection from catheterization with a Robinson catheter is about 3%.

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