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Pee in a Cup To Reveal Clues to Your Health

Being thirsty all the time and running to the bathroom frequently because you have to pee can be inconvenient – and worrisome. That’s when peeing in a cup – at your doctor’s office, of course -- can help.

Urinalysis is a valuable diagnostic tool that can help identify and rule out illnesses such as diabetes, certain cancers and kidney problems. It is also the first step to setting a course for treatment.

Here are five ways urinalysis can help your doctor figure out what’s going on and how to treat it.

  1. Detecting Diabetes
  2. One of the primary ways a urinalysis can identify diabetes is by detecting sugar in the urine. When your urinalysis shows the presence of sugar, it often indicates elevated blood sugar levels — a sign of diabetes.

    Sometimes, with diabetes, you may notice a sweet smell or have unexplained thirst. Urinalysis acts as a screening tool that makes it possible to quickly identify and treat diabetes.

  3. Revealing Blood-Related Conditions
  4. Urinalysis also detects blood in urine, which can signal various conditions. While kidney stones are a common cause, it’s important to rule out possibilities such as cancerous growths in the bladder or kidney diseases that prevent normal kidney function. Wear and tear on the kidney's filtering system associated with high blood pressure, diabetes, aging or environmental allergens can result in microscopic blood in the urine.

  5. Protein Leakage: A Clue to Kidney Function
  6. Peeing in a cup also detects when there is protein in the urine, a condition known as proteinuria. When the kidneys fail to filter blood efficiently, protein molecules escape into the urine. Proteinuria means there may be a leak in the kidney's filtration system.

    When this happens, it’s important to know quickly so your doctor can monitor and manage kidney disease to prevent further complications.

  7. Detecting Infections
  8. Urinalysis is a valuable tool for detecting urinary tract infections (UTIs). By examining the presence of white blood cells and bacteria, we can determine whether you need further testing or treatment for an infection.

    Some infections may be symptomatic and cause you discomfort, while others don’t show any symptoms. Urinalysis helps us identify both types and allows us to begin treatment fast.

  9. Examining Cellular Abnormalities
  10. Beyond identifying infections and blood-related issues, urinalysis can reveal cellular abnormalities. By looking at the shape of cells, such as red blood cells, your doctor may detect conditions like sickle cell disease or kidney stones through the presence of crystals.

    Advanced molecular testing techniques, like polymerase chain reaction (PCR), can amplify specific molecules in the urine. PCR testing eliminates the need for uncomfortable swabs and helps more easily identify conditions such as gonorrhea, chlamydia and certain cancers, such as bladder and prostate cancer.

Peeing in a Cup Is a Powerful Healthcare Tool

Urinalysis provides a wealth of information for you and your healthcare team. And advancements in molecular testing, like PCR, have expanded the scope of urinalysis, making it easier to diagnose and treat conditions that were previously challenging to detect.

In the time it takes to pee into a cup, regular urinalysis as part of your routine physical examinations can help ensure early detection of possible health problems, timely treatments, and better health and wellness for you.

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