Microscopic urinalysis is often done as part of an overall urinalysis. After a urine (pee) sample is collected, it's put into a centrifuge — a special machine that separates the liquid in the urine from any solid components that may be present, such as blood cells, mineral crystals, or microorganisms. Any solid materials are then viewed under a microscope.
The results of a microscopic urinalysis may point to a urinary tract infection (UTI), kidney problems, a metabolic disorder such as diabetes, or a urinary tract injury. If test results are abnormal, other tests may be needed before a definite diagnosis can be made.
Cleansing the area around the urinary opening is required for the microscopic urinalysis. Your child might need to temporarily stop taking certain medications that could interfere with test results.
Your child will be asked to urinate into a clean sample cup in the doctor's office, in the hospital, or at home. If your child isn't potty trained and can't urinate into a cup, a catheter (a narrow soft plastic tube) may need to be inserted into the bladder to obtain the urine specimen.
The skin surrounding the urinary opening has to be cleansed just before the urine is collected. In this "clean-catch" method, you or your child cleanses the skin around the urinary opening with a special towelette (this might need to be done more than once). Your child then urinates, stops momentarily, and then urinates again into the collection container. Catching the urine in "midstream" is the goal. Be sure to wash your hands and your child's hands before and after this process. Collecting the specimen should only take a few minutes.
Occasionally, if the doctor is concerned about a urinary problem that isn't due to an infection, a urine collection bag with adhesive tape on one end might be used to collect a sample from an infant. If you're doing the collection at home, you'll clean your baby's genital area and then arrange the bag around the urinary opening. Once the bag is in place, you'll secure it with the attached tape. You can put a diaper on your baby after you've attached the bag. You'll be instructed on how to remove the bag once your baby has urinated into it, usually within an hour.
If you obtain the specimen at home, follow any storage and transportation instructions the lab gives you.
Because the test involves normal urination, there shouldn't be any discomfort as long as your child can provide a urine specimen.
The time it takes to get the results of the microscopic urinalysis can vary, and your doctor will review them with you. If abnormalities are found, further tests may be needed.
No risks are associated with collecting a midstream urine specimen for microscopic urinalysis. If a catheter is used to obtain the urine, it may cause temporary discomfort.
The routine microscopic urinalysis is painless. Explaining in simple terms how the test will be conducted and why it's being done can help ease any fear. If your doctor needs a clean-catch sample, make sure your child understands that the urinary opening must be clean and the urine must be collected midstream.
If you have questions about the microscopic urinalysis, speak with your doctor.
Reviewed by: Yamini Durani, MD
Date reviewed: March 2015
|National Kidney Foundation (NKF) NKF seeks to prevent kidney and urinary tract diseases, improve the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by these diseases, and increase the availability of all organs for transplantation.|
|Nephron Information Center The Nephron Information Center offers information about how the kidneys work, transplants, and links to other sites.|
|Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The CDC (the national public health institute of the United States) promotes health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability.|
|American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) The AAKP serves kidney patients and their families by helping them cope with the emotional, physical, and social impact of kidney failure.|
|Word! Urinalysis Ever peed in a cup?|
|Urinary Tract Infections A urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most common reasons that teens visit a doctor. Learn about the symptoms of UTIs, how they're treated, and more in this article.|
|Kidney Disease Sometimes, the kidneys aren't able to do their job properly. Other than kidney infections, the two most common kidney conditions among teens are nephritis and nephrosis.|
|Urine Test: Dipstick A urine dipstick test is often done as part of an overall urinalysis. The results of this test can help doctors diagnose a urinary tract infection (UTI), kidney disease, diabetes, or a urinary tract injury.|
|Urine Test: 24-Hour Analysis for Kidney Stones This test can show if certain substances are found at high concentrations in the urine, and might be causing kidney stones.|
|Urine Test: Automated Dipstick Urinalysis Automated dipstick urinalysis results may point to a urinary tract infection (UTI) or injury, kidney disease, or diabetes.|
|Urinary Tract Infections Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common in kids, but often can be prevented. Early detection and treatment are key.|
|Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections and Related Conditions Recurrent urinary tract infections can cause kidney damage if left untreated, especially in kids under age 6. Here's how to recognize the symptom of UTIs and get help for your child.|
|Urine Test: Protein The urine protein test is most commonly used to screen for kidney disease and also can help monitor kidney function.|
|Diabetes Center Does your child have type 1 or type 2 diabetes? Learn how to manage the disease and keep your child healthy.|
|Diabetes Center Our Diabetes Center provides information and advice for teens about treating and living with diabetes.|
|Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) You probably don't think much about urinating, or peeing. But what if it starts to sting? Find out more in this article for kids.|
|Getting a Urine Test (Video) If your doctor wants a urine sample, he or she means pee. It's easy to give a sample. Watch how this test is done in this video for kids.|
|Kidney Diseases in Childhood The kidneys play a critical role in health. When something goes wrong, it could indicate a kidney disease. What are kidney diseases, and how can they be treated?|
|Diabetes Center Diabetes means a problem with insulin, an important hormone in the body. Find out how children with diabetes can stay healthy and do the normal stuff kids like to do.|
|Urine Tests Is your child having a urine culture or urinalysis performed? Find out why urine tests are performed, and what to expect when the doctor orders them.|
|Kidneys and Urinary Tract The bean-shaped kidneys, each about the size of a child's fist, perform several functions essential to health. Their most important role is to filter blood and produce urine.|
|Kidneys and Urinary Tract The kidneys perform several functions that are essential to health, the most important of which are to filter blood and produce urine.|
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.