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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 your health care provider find out what health problem you may have. It can help diagnose:

  • Kidney disease

  • Urinary tract infection

  • Cancer                                                   

  • Reactions to medication

  • Prostate infection

  • Liver disease

  • Viral infection

  • Yeast infection

  • Parasitic infection

What other tests might I have along with this test?

Your doctor may also order 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

Your doctor may also order blood tests.

What do my test results mean?

Many things may affect your lab test results. These include the method each lab uses to do the test. Even if your test results are different from the normal value, you may not have a problem. To learn what the results mean for you, talk with your health care provider.

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 medications can be a sign of a variety of health problems.

How is this test done?

This test requires a urine sample. Your health care provider may ask you to provide a sample at a specific time of day – first thing in the morning, for instance. Or you may collect a sample at random. For this test, you may also need to collect all the urine you produce over a certain period, such as 24 hours.

Does this test pose any risks?

This test poses no known risks.

What might affect my test results?

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

  • Sulfamethoxazole

  • Ampicillin

  • Dyes used in imaging tests

  • Excessive doses of salicylate medications

Contaminating your urine sample with feces can affect your results. In women, vaginal medications or menstrual blood can also contaminate the sample.

How do I get ready for this test?

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