What does a urine test detect, urine that was sent to a lab?

Posted by Amelia on December 16, 2022
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    A urine test is a common medical test that can tell you a lot about your health. The results of a urine test are different from other types of tests, like blood or stool samples, because they're not as specific. For example, if your doctor sends you for a stool sample and tells you to bring back two cups' worth of poop (yes), then he or she will know exactly what's causing your symptoms based on what kind of bacteria or fungi are present in the sample. But when it comes to urine samples, there isn't just one thing that shows up on a urine test—there could be lots!


    Urine tests can detect drugs, including marijuana and methamphetamine. Drugs are detected in urine up to four days after use. This is because the drug remains in your system for such a long time that it takes time for your body to process it out of your system.

    If you've used drugs recently, they can be detected in a urine test for up to three days after use.

    If you've used drugs more than three days ago, they may still show up on a urine test. The reason is because the drug stays in your body's fat cells longer than it does in other tissues and organs like muscle or blood cells. It takes longer for these compounds to leave fat tissue than other parts of your body because there isn't much room for them within those cells and so they stick around longer before being released back into circulation where they're excreted through sweat or urine (which gets tested).

    White blood cells

    White blood cells are a type of leukocyte, or cell in the blood. They help fight infection and can be detected in urine (urinary tract infections).

    In general, white blood cells are counted using a test called a complete blood count (CBC). This is often done when someone has an infection or other medical condition that might cause an increase in white blood cells.

    A high level may indicate an infection, autoimmune disease like lupus, or kidney problems such as glomerulonephritis (an inflammation of the tiny filters inside your kidneys) or renal tubular acidosis (too much acid in your urine).


    Casts are formed when crystals form in the kidney and then pass into the urine. They can be associated with kidney disease, but they can also be caused by a urinary tract infection or kidney stones.

    Casts are not harmful, but they can indicate a problem and so you should get checked out if you see them.


    A urine test will also detect bacteria. Bacteria can cause UTIs, kidney infections, bladder infections and even blood in your urine.


    Bilirubin is a yellow pigment that can be found in the urine. It is also present in the stool. Bilirubin is a waste product that comes from the breakdown of red blood cells, and it may signify an underlying medical problem like Gilbert's syndrome or glucuronidation deficiency. However, bilirubin levels generally do not need to be monitored unless you have hyperbilirubinemia (high levels of bilirubin).

    The normal level for bilirubin depends on whether your doctor wants to test for direct or indirect bilirubin:

    • Direct: 0-1 mg/dl (0-1 mmol/L)
    • Indirect: 0-0.3 mg/dl (0-0.3 mmol/L)


    WBCs (white blood cells) are a type of white blood cell that fights infection and disease. They also help fight cancer. WBCs travel through your bloodstream to where they're needed, but each type of WBC has its own role in fighting infections or diseases.

    When you have an infection, your body makes more WBCs to fight it off. So if you get sick with an infection, your doctor may order a urine test to see how many WBCs are present in your urine sample.

    When your body detects an infection or disease, different types of WBC may be produced depending on what kind of immune response is needed to battle that specific threat.

    Red blood cells (RBCs)

    Red blood cells (RBCs) are a type of cell that carries oxygen throughout the body. If you have too few RBCs, it could mean you have a bleeding disorder or liver disease.

    Urine protein

    What is urine protein?

    The kidneys filter the blood and remove waste products, such as excess water and wastes. When your kidneys are working properly, you will be able to urinate an average of 1.5 liters (about 4 cups) of urine a day. Urine protein is a waste product from the breakdown of red blood cells in your body’s bloodstream—it can also come from other parts of the body besides your bloodstream, like joints or muscles. Normally there should be no protein in your urine because it is filtered out by your kidneys before it reaches them, but if you have damaged or diseased kidneys that do not function properly then this does not happen correctly and too much protein may be found in your urine sample when tested at a lab.


    Crystals are solid masses of a salt or mineral, such as calcium oxalate, calcium phosphate, and uric acid. They’re found in the urine of people with chronic kidney disease and other conditions. Crystals can cause kidney stones to form if they gather together inside the kidneys or bladder.

    You may have got crystals from eating too much salt or sugar in your diet. You can also get them from dehydration (not getting enough water).

    A urine test can reveal what is causing symptoms like pain, if the sample is sent to a lab.

    A urine test is a common medical test that can detect many different things. It can be used to find out if you have bacteria in your bladder, or if there's something else unusual in your urine sample. If a doctor thinks that something is wrong with your bladder, they might send your urine to a lab so they can do more detailed testing on it.

    If they find out what's causing symptoms like pain or burning when urinating, they would then treat the condition appropriately.


    Your doctor may order a urine test if you have symptoms like pain or nausea. A positive result on any of these tests can point to a serious problem, and should be followed up with additional testing as soon as possible. Remember that the results of all tests are just probable diagnoses—the only way to really know what’s going on with your body is by paying attention to your own signals!

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