When you go for a check up at the doctor, people generally know to drink a lot of water before their appointments because they know they will need to urinate in a little cup.
You probably know that they are testing for something, but what exactly is your doctor doing with your “sample?” The process is actually called a urinalysis. Depending on what is being tested, your doctor may or may not need to send the sample to a lab. If it does not need to go to a lab, your physician and their team will evaluate the sample in-office.
Physicians examine the physical characteristics of the urine first. They’re looking at:
In addition to looking at how the urine looks and smells, the physician will look at the urine at a microscopic level using a dipstick test. When doing this test, the physician dips chemical strips into the urine. If it changes color, it means that certain substances are present. They’re looking for things not usually present in the urine. For example, protein, glucose, and blood are not typically in urine, so if a physician finds them in the urinalysis, the patient could have a disease. When women take a pregnancy test, it uses similar technology to detect pregnancy hormones in the urine. They may also put your sample under a microscope to examine the cells and look for an abnormal level of crystals.
At Affiliated Urologists, we use urinalysis tests to check the patient’s overall health, but also to monitor how a patient is responding to treatment. If a patient comes to us with back pain, abdominal pain, blood in the urine, or painful urination, we may use a urinalysis test to initially detect what condition the patient has. One such condition is male infertility. If a man is having trouble getting his partner pregnant, our team can take a post-ejaculation urinalysis to diagnose or rule out infertility.
If a problem is detected, a patient may need to get a urine culture. A urine culture is different from a urinalysis because a urine culture can tell the doctor what bacteria are present and how much there is. Urine cultures usually take up to two days to assess. Urinalysis only involves urinating into a cup, and a urine culture is collected via a catheter directly into the bladder.
Arizona Surgical Specialist Center is located on the 2nd floor adjacent to our West Phoenix clinic.