Urine Test: About Your Child's Test

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Kidneys, ureters, bladder

What is it?

A urine test checks the color, clarity (clear or cloudy), odor, concentration, and acidity (pH) of your child's urine. It also checks the levels of protein, sugar, blood cells, or other substances in the urine. This test is sometimes called a urinalysis.

Why is this test done?

A urine test may be done:

  • To check for a disease or infection of the urinary tract. The urinary tract includes the kidneys, the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder (ureters), and the bladder. It also includes the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body (urethra).
  • To check the treatment of conditions such as diabetes, kidney stones, a urinary tract infection (UTI), high blood pressure, or some kidney or liver diseases.
  • As part of a regular physical examination.

How do you prepare for the test?

  • Before the test, don't give your child foods that can change the color of urine. Examples of these include blackberries, beets, and rhubarb.
  • Don't let your child do heavy exercise before the test.
  • Tell your doctor ALL the medicines, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies your child takes. Some may change the results of your child's test. Your doctor will tell you if your child should stop taking any of them before the test and how soon to do it.

How is the test done?

A urine test can be done in your doctor's office, clinic, or lab. Or you may be asked to collect a sample of your child's urine at home. Then you can take it with you to the office or lab for testing. Either you or your child can collect the sample.

Clean-catch midstream urine collection

If your child is very young or a baby, you can use a special plastic bag with tape around its opening instead of a collection cup. The bag is placed around the child's genitals until the child urinates. Then you carefully remove the bag.

  1. Wash your hands before you collect the urine. (If your child will be helping, have your child wash their hands too.)
  2. If the cup has a lid, remove the lid. Set it down with the inner surface up.
  3. Clean the area around your child's penis or vagina. If you use baby wipes, use each wipe only one time.
  4. Have your child start to urinate into the toilet or urinal.
  5. After the urine has flowed for several seconds, place the cup into the urine stream. Collect about 2 ounces of urine without stopping the flow of urine.
  6. Don't touch the rim of the cup to your child's genital area.
  7. Your child can finish urinating into the toilet or urinal.
  8. Carefully replace the lid on the cup.
  9. Wash your hands. (Your child should wash their hands too.)

Double-voided urine sample collection

This method collects the urine the body is making right now.

  1. Have your child urinate into the toilet or urinal. Don't collect any of this urine.
  2. Give your child a large glass of water to drink. Wait about 30 to 40 minutes.
  3. Then get a urine sample. Follow the instructions above for collecting a clean-catch urine sample.
  4. Take the urine sample to the lab. If you are collecting the urine at home and can't get it to the lab in an hour, refrigerate it.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines your child takes. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your child's test results.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.