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Microscopic Urinalysis

Does this test have other names?

Microscopic urine analysis, microscopic examination of urine

What is this test?

This test looks at a sample of your urine under a microscope. It can see cells from your urinary tract, blood cells, crystals, bacteria, parasites, and cells from tumors.

This test is often used to confirm the findings of other tests or add information to a diagnosis.

Why do I need this test?

You may need this test to help diagnose:

  • Kidney disease

  • Urinary tract infection

  • Cancer

  • Reactions to medicines

  • Prostate infection

  • Liver disease

  • Viral infection

  • Yeast infection

  • Parasitic infection

What other tests might I have along with this test?

You may have other tests on your urine sample. These may include:

  • Checking the color and odor

  • Measuring the level of dissolved solid substances in the urine

  • Checking the acidity

  • Testing for protein, sugar, bilirubin, and other substances that may be a sign of different diseases

You may also have blood tests.

What do my test results mean?

Test results may vary depending on your age, gender, health history, the method used for the test, and other things. Your test results may not mean you have a problem. Ask your healthcare provider what your test results mean for you.

Here is a sample of what certain results may mean:

  • A high number of red blood cells may mean that you have kidney disease, urinary tract infection, a drug reaction, or cancer.

  • A high number of white blood cells may mean that you have an infection or inflammation in your urinary tract.

  • A high number of cells called eosinophils may mean that you have problems in your urinary tract.

  • A high number of certain kidney cells may mean that you have kidney damage.

  • Substances created in the kidney, called casts, can suggest different diseases.

  • Abnormal crystals formed from amino acids and certain medicines can be a sign of a variety of health problems.

How is this test done?

This test is done with a urine sample. Your healthcare provider may ask you to provide a sample at a specific time of day, such as first thing in the morning. Or you may collect a sample at random. For this test, you may also need to collect all the urine you make over a certain period, such as 24 hours. For this sample, you empty your bladder completely first in the morning without collecting it. Note the time. Then collect your urine every time you go to the bathroom over the next 24 hours. You will collect it in a container that your healthcare provider or the lab gives you.

Does this test pose any risks?

This test poses no known risks.

What might affect my test results?

Certain medicines can alter the appearance of urine under the microscope, including:

  • Sulfamethoxazole

  • Ampicillin

  • Dyes used in imaging tests

  • High doses of medicines that contain salicylate

Your results may also be affected by:

  • Stool in your urine sample

  • Menstrual blood

  • Vaginal medicine

How do I get ready for this test?

You don't need to prepare for this test. But be sure your healthcare provider knows about all medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. This includes medicines that don't need a prescription and any illegal drugs you may use.

Online Medical Reviewer: Fetterman, Anne, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Haldeman-Englert, Chad, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 6/1/2018
© 2000-2018 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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