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What Is Urinalysis?

Urinalysis (UA) simply means analysis of urine. This is a very commonly ordered test which is performed in many clinical settings such as hospitals, clinics, emergency departments, and outpatient laboratories. Urinalysis is a simple test that can provide important clinical information, has a quick turn-around time, and is also cost effective.

Why Is a Urinalysis Considered a Diagnostic and Screening Test?

Urinalysis is very a useful test in the diagnosis of and screening for many diseases and conditions.

Results of a urinalysis may be helpful in:

What Is Urinalysis Procedure?

The urinalysis test involves the collection of urine sample in a specimen cup. The proper collection of a sample is very important in order to avoid contamination of urine.

The collection technique is different for men and women. Alcohol wipes should be avoided as these may irritate the area.

  • For men, the opening of the urethra (tip of the penis) should be wiped clean with a cleansing wipe before collection is begun.
  • In women, the area around the urethra also needs to be wiped clean with a cleansing wipe. The woman then spreads the labia of the external genitalia and wipes from front to back.
  • After the urethra is properly cleaned, the collection may begin by discarding the initial stream of urine into the toilet.
  • Then, 10-15 milliliters (ml) of urine may be collected in the provided sterile specimen cup by directly urinating into the cup.
  • Once an adequate amount is collected, then the remaining urine should be voided in the toilet.

This technique is called the mid-stream clean catch urine sample collection.

Other collection methods may be necessary depending on the specific situation. Frequently, hospitalized patients may have a urinary catheter (Foley catheter) placed in the bladder that directly drains urine from the bladder into a bag. The nursing staff simply collects the urine from the collection bag into the sterile cup. Samples can be collected from babies and toddlers who are not yet toilet trained by attaching a small collection bag with a bandage-type adhesive to the external genital region.

The collected urine sample should be analyzed soon (within 1-2 hours) after collection. If this is not possible, then the sample may be refrigerated.

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