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Uric Acid (Urine)

Does this test have other names?

Urinalysis, 24-hour urinalysis 

What is this test?

This test looks for uric acid in your urine. Your liver creates uric acid when it breaks down substances called purines. These are found in higher levels in foods like dried beans and peas, some types of fish, and liver. Some people may get rid of more uric acid in their urine. These include  people who:

  • Eat foods high in purines

  • Have a type of arthritis called gout

  • Have certain types of leukemia

  • Are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation for certain cancers

Uric acid can also accumulate in the kidney as a type of kidney stone. Kidney stones can be painful to eliminate when urinating. 

Why do I need this test?

You may need this test if your health care provider suspects that you have gout. He or she may also use this test to monitor you while you have cancer treatment, or to check your urine after you have a kidney stone. 

What other tests might I have along with this test?

Your doctor may also test the pH, or acidity, of your urine and check for a substance called creatinine.   

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.

Adults normally lose about 500 to 600 milligrams (mg) of uric acid in their urine every 24 hours. If you're eating a normal diet, losing more than 800 mg a day is considered too much.

If you eat lots of animal protein or purines, you may have more uric acid in your urine. A number of health problems can also cause you to make more uric acid, including gout, leukemia, obesity, cancer treatment, ileostomy, glycogen storage diseases, and Lesch-Nyhan syndrome.

How is this test done?

This test requires a urine sample. Your health care provider may measure your uric acid levels using a 24-hour urine specimen. First, you will empty your bladder completely in the morning without collecting it and note the time. Then, you'll collect your urine every time you go to the bathroom over the next 24 hours.  

Does this test post any risks?

This test poses no known risks.

What might affect my test results?

Drinking alcohol or eating a lot of foods high in purines can affect the level of uric acid in your urine. If you are dehydrated, your level may appear high. Certain medications may also affect your test results.  Ask your health care provider whether you should avoid any foods, beverages, medications, or other substances before having this test. 

How do I get ready for this test?

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.