Why it's done

A urinalysis is a common test that's done for several reasons:

  • To check your overall health. Your doctor may recommend a urinalysis as part of a routine medical exam, pregnancy checkup, pre-surgery preparation, or on hospital admission to screen for a variety of disorders, such as diabetes, kidney disease and liver disease.
  • To diagnose a medical condition. Your doctor may suggest a urinalysis if you're experiencing abdominal pain, back pain, frequent or painful urination, blood in your urine, or other urinary problems. A urinalysis may help diagnose the cause of these symptoms.
  • To monitor a medical condition. If you've been diagnosed with a medical condition, such as kidney disease or a urinary tract disease, your doctor may recommend a urinalysis on a regular basis to monitor your condition and treatment.

Other tests, such as pregnancy testing and drug screenings, also may rely on a urine sample, but these tests look for substances that aren't included in a typical urinalysis. For example, pregnancy testing measures a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). Drug screenings detect specific drugs or their metabolic products, depending on the purpose of the testing.