Urine is a typical yellowish fluid that flows from the kidney to the bladder and is taken out through the urethra. It is our body’s way of removing excess salt and water from the body.
Furthermore, urine contains nitrogen elements like urea and other waste products that are not needed in the body.
A nurse or doctor can use urinalysis to test your urine for signs of possible issues like infections, diseases, or the presence of drugs.
This is a standard test that medical professionals carry out in various settings.
A urinalysis is part of a standard health examination that can help in revealing what goes on in a person’s body system.
Also, it is normal for a person to undertake a urine test as a safety measure before surgery.
What Is Urinalysis?
This urine test checks for signs of illegal drug use, infection, disease, and many more issues. The urine examination looks at various features of urine like the following:
Image Credit: SHRM
- Color (light, dark, colorless)
- Acidity (pH levels)
- Presence of viruses and bacteria
- Presence of blood, ketones, protein, glucose or bilirubin
- Presence of cells, casts (tube-shaped proteins), or crystals
The urine’s look and form will help the healthcare professional determine if a person has a particular health condition(s).
What Other Things Does A Urinalysis Test For?
Healthcare professionals can recommend a urinalysis for many reasons. Here are some circumstances where a urinalysis test could be ideal.
- During pregnancy
- As a routine body checkup
- Before surgery
- To check for diabetes, kidney or liver disease
In some cases, a doctor can leverage urinalysis to identify a medical condition. Your doctor may be searching for the presence of a kidney infection or Urinary tract infection.
Urinalysis can be used to examine a person’s body system if they are experiencing the following;
- Pain while urinating
- Abdominal pain
- Trouble urinating
- Blood in the urine
- Lower back pain
- Other uncommon urinary symptoms
Once the test is carried out and the doctor has offered an appropriate diagnosis, a urinalysis will still be relied upon to monitor the recovery process.
For instance, if a patient was diagnosed with a kidney infection and is being treated, the doctor can recommend periodic urinalysis to know if the infection has cleared.
Even though urinalysis normally tests for diseases and infections, healthcare professionals can also screen for drugs or confirm a pregnancy.
In cases like testing for drugs and pregnancy, the urinalysis will go beyond a typical infection and disease testing scope.
For instance, when a doctor carries out a pregnancy test, he’ll check to see if the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (hCG) is present in the urine.
Screening for the presence of hCG hormone isn’t part of a normal urinalysis.
Similarly, when a doctor carries out a drug test, he’ll check to see if a particular drug or its metabolic signature is present in the urine.
Diluted Urine In Drugs Tests
We’ve established that a urine drug test is meant to spot the presence of prescription and illegal drugs in a person’s urine. This process is also called a urine drug screen.
For urine drug tests, samples are collected and sent to a laboratory for interpretation.
The lab physicians will analyze the urine for specific drugs and their metabolic signatures. Metabolic signatures are components formed by the body after processing drugs.
Meanwhile, the presence of water in urine should not be too much or too little. Else, it might compromise the drug test result.
Urine is diluted when it consists of too much water, which means the urine has a weak concentration.
Therefore, the healthcare professional will find it difficult to detect the presence of drugs in the urine.
If you’re are an employer or a school chancellor who requires drug tests, you may be wondering what’s responsible for diluted urine.
What Causes Diluted Urine?
Urine can be diluted for many reasons. Don’t always think it’s because your subject wants to cheat by drinking too much water.
It can be accidental.
The major cause of diluted urine is water consumption. We all know the importance of drinking water and being hydrated.
So, it’s normal for a person to drink water frequently.
Therefore, if they often consume huge amounts of water, it will surely dilute their urine.
Types Of Urine Drug Tests
There are two types of urine tests, and we’ll go over them now.
An Immunoassay (IA) is a urine drug test that leverages antibodies to identify drugs in urine.
Antibodies are proteins that combine with antigens or any foreign elements.
However, in this case, the antigen represents the drug.
The tester will add the drug and specific antibodies to the urine sample to conduct an IA drug test.
If there are no traces of the specific drug they are testing for, the reaction won’t be substantial. Therefore, the urine sample will be considered to be negative.
Furthermore, an IA drug test is fast and expensive. It’s commonly used in the initial stage, and it doesn’t detect all types of drugs.
What this means is that it can produce false-negative or false-positive results.
Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS)
The GC-MS is mainly used to validate IA results. It’s more specific and reliable than the IA; therefore, it’s more likely to produce positive results.
To conduct a GC-MS test, the tester will add gas to the sample. The gas relates with the elements in the urine and separates them.
Furthermore, the tester then uses a tool called a mass spectrometer to identify the separated compounds.
Note that the GC-MS is a standard follow-up test.
Understanding The Urine Drug Test
A urine drug test or urine drug screen (UDS) is a pain-free test. It examines your urine for the existence of illegal drugs and prescription medications.
The UDS usually checks for the following;
- Opioids (narcotics)
Doctors can also screen your urine for alcohol. However, it is generally preferred and faster to use breath analyzers to test for alcohol.
A urine drug screen can assist doctors in determining if a person is suffering from drug abuse problems.
Once the urine drug test detects the particular drug you’re using, the doctor will now be fully prepared to start your treatment plan.
Furthermore, as you recover, more urine drug tests will be carried out to ensure the treatment is working and confirm that you’re no longer using drugs.
Possible Reasons For Testing People For Drugs
If you’re seen behaving strangely or confused in school or at work, your employer or the school chancellor might order for the test to be carried out.
If you find yourself in the hospital for any reason, your primary care physician may also order the test if they suspect that you could have drugs in your system.
Urine Colors And Their Possible Meanings
This is a common sign that you’re not hydrating yourself enough. Your body needs a certain amount of water to function properly every day.
When there isn’t enough fluid in the body, your body will hold on to the available fluid, making the urine strong and concentrated.
Consequently, turning your urine into a darker color.
Amber, pale straw or honey pee
This is a sign that you’re taking in too much fluid or that you’re consuming a drug that pushes your body to excrete excess water.
Hartnup disease and hypercalcemia are medical conditions that are responsible for blue urine. So, if your urine is blue, consult your healthcare professional.
If your urine color is black, it means you probably have medications like methocarbamol, nitrofurantoin, metronidazole, sorbitol, senna or cascara laxatives in your system.
Muscular iron injections are also known to cause black urine color.
Cola or Dark brown
Drugs like primaquine, chloroquine, Flagyl (antibiotics metronidazole), methocarbamol and laxatives containing senna or cascara can be responsible.
Also, muscular injury from exercise and kidney damage can cause your urine color to be cola or pink.
Furthermore, consuming many fava beans, aloe and rhubarb can make your urine turn dark brown.
Clear and colorless
If your urine is colorless, it could be a sign that you’re consuming too much water. If you notice that your urine looks like water, you’re probably drinking too much.
Medications like indomethacin, amitriptyline and propofol can produce green or blue urine color. Your urine color can also be green if you have a urinary tract infection.
Murky, Cloudy, or White Urine
Two of the major causes of murky, cloudy, or white urine are Urinary tract infections and kidney stones.
Chyluria is another possible reason for murky, cloudy, or white urine. It is a health condition that shown that there’s chyle in the urine stream, which causes urine to appear milky white.
This medical condition is popular among Africans and Indians.
In some cases, orange urine color can signify that your bile duct or liver has a problem, especially if your stool is light-colored.
Pink or Red
Medications like Rimactane, phenazopyridine senna laxatives can be responsible for this. However, it could also mean there’s blood in your pee.