Microscopic urinalysis is often done as part of an overall urinalysis. After a urine sample is collected, it's put into a centrifuge — a special machine that separates the liquid in the urine from 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.
If your child is toilet trained, the test will involve normal urination and there shouldn't be any discomfort as long as your child can provide a urine specimen. If your child requires a catheter to obtain the urine, there will be some temporary discomfort associated with this procedure.
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. If you have any questions or concerns about this procedure, talk to your doctor.
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: February 2012
|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.|
|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.|
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
|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: 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: 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.|
|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.|
|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.|
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