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Urinalysis (Urine Tests)

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KEY POINTS

  • Urinalysis is a test of your child’s urine. It checks for infection, blood, glucose, proteins, and crystals in the urine that may indicate kidney or other diseases.
  • The urine specimen will be collected, sent to the lab, and tested.
  • Talk to your child’s healthcare provider about what the test results mean and ask any questions you have.

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What is a urinalysis?

Urinalysis is a test of your child’s urine. It checks for infection and substances in the urine that may indicate kidney or other diseases.

Why is it done?

This test may be done to check your child’s overall health. It may also be done to check for:

  • Bacteria in the urine, which may be a sign of infections of the urinary tract (kidneys, bladder, and the tubes that connect them)
  • Blood in the urine, which may be a sign of an infection, cancer, or a blood disorder
  • Glucose (sugar) in the urine, which may be a sign of diabetes
  • Proteins in the urine, which may be a sign of kidney problems
  • Crystals in the urine, which may be a sign of kidney stones

How do I prepare my child for this test?

Make sure your child’s healthcare provider knows about any medicines, herbs, or supplements that your child is taking. Your child may need to avoid taking certain medicines before the test because they might affect the test result. Ask your child’s provider before stopping any of your child’s regular medicines.

How is the test done?

Methods for collecting a urine specimen include:

  • For the clean-catch method, you clean your child’s genital area with special wipes provided. When your child starts urinating, you catch some of the urine in a sterile cup given to you by your child’s provider. The cup should not touch your child’s skin.
  • The bag method may be used for babies still in diapers. Your healthcare provider will give you a small plastic bag that has adhesive around the edges. After you clean and dry your child’s genital area, the bag is attached to the skin around the genitals to catch urine when your baby urinates next. Gently remove the bag without spilling the urine and put the urine in a sterile cup.
  • The catheterization method may be used if a sample is needed from an infant or young child. Your healthcare provider cleans the genital area and then passes a thin flexible tube into the urethra and up into the bladder to collect a sample of urine.
  • The suprapubic aspiration method is sometimes used in young babies. A small needle is placed into the bladder though the skin on the lower belly.

The urine is sent to the lab and tested. If your child has an infection, it may take several days to find out what kind of germ is causing it, after other tests such as a culture. Knowing what germ is causing the infection helps your child’s provider choose the right medicine to treat it.

Ask your child’s health care provider when and how you will get the result of your child’s test.

What does the test result mean?

The tests can show the presence of:

  • An infection of the urinary tract
  • A medical problem such as diabetes, liver problems, or kidney problems
  • A problem with the urinary tract such as kidney stones

What if my child’s test result is not normal?

Test results are only one part of a larger picture that takes into account your child’s medical history and current health. Sometimes a test needs to be repeated to check the first result. Talk to your child’s healthcare provider about the result and ask questions, such as:

  • If your child needs more tests
  • What kind of treatment your child might need
  • What lifestyle, diet, or other changes your child might need to make
Developed by Change Healthcare.
Pediatric Advisor 2019.4 published by Change Healthcare.
Last modified: 2018-06-04
Last reviewed: 2018-06-04
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
© 2018 Change Healthcare LLC and/or one of its subsidiaries
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