To examine chemical aspects of a urine sample, healthcare providers or lab technicians often use special test strips called dipsticks to test for certain chemical substances in the urine sample. The strips have pads of chemicals that change color when they come in contact with specific substances.
The degree of color change on the dipstick can give an estimate of the amount of substance present. For example, a slight color change in the test pad for protein may indicate a small amount of protein present in the urine sample, whereas a deep color change may indicate a large amount.
Common types of tests that use a dipstick that providers may include in a urinalysis include:
⛎ Protein urine test: A protein urine test measures the presence of proteins, such as albumin, in your urine. Higher-than-normal urine protein levels may indicate several different health conditions, such as heart failure, kidney issues and dehydration.
⛎ Urine pH level test: A urine pH test measures the acid-base (pH) level in your urine. A high urine pH may indicate conditions including kidney issues and a urinary tract infection (UTI). A low urine pH may indicate conditions including diabetes-related ketoacidosis and diarrhea.
⛎ Ketones urine test: Ketones build up when your body has to break down fats and fatty acids to use as fuel for energy. This is most likely to happen if your body does not get enough sugar or carbohydrates as fuel. Healthcare providers most often use ketone urine tests to check for diabetes-related ketoacidosis.
⛎ Glucose urine test: A glucose urine test measures the amount of sugar (glucose) in your urine. Under regular circumstances, there shouldn’t be glucose in your urine, so the presence of glucose could be a sign of diabetes or gestational diabetes.
⛎ Bilirubin urine test: Bilirubin is a yellowish pigment found in bile, a fluid produced by your liver. If you have bilirubin in your urine, it may indicate liver or bile duct issues.
⛎ Nitrite urine test: A positive nitrite test result can indicate a urinary tract infection (UTI). However, not all bacteria are capable of converting nitrate (a substance that’s normally in your urine) to nitrite, so you can still have a UTI despite a negative nitrite test.
⛎ Leukocyte esterase urine test: Leukocyte esterase is an enzyme that’s present in most white blood cells. When this test is positive, it may indicate that there’s inflammation in your urinary tract or kidneys. The most common cause for white blood cells in urine is a bacterial urinary tract infection (UTI).
⛎ Urine specific gravity test: A specific gravity test shows the concentration of all chemical particles in your urine. Abnormal results may indicate several different health conditions.