Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer Lab Tests and health information

The PSA test is a blood test used to screen for prostate cancer and measures prostate-specific antigens in the blood that are produced by cancerous and noncancerous tissue in the prostate in men.  Order from Ulta Lab Tests today with results sent confidentially online in 24 to 48 hours.


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Description: PSA Free and Total is a test that is used to measure the total amount of PSA in the blood along with the amount of free PSA. There are two types of PSA, complex and free. This test is used to measure both and to calculate the PSA ratios.

Also Known As: Prostate Specific Antigen Test, PSA Free and Total Test, PSA Free Test, PSA Total Test, PSA Blood Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a PSA Free and Total test ordered?

The American Cancer Society recommends that healthy men of average risk wait until age 50 to be screened for prostate cancer, whereas the American Urological Association suggests screening for men between the ages of 55 and 69, with no routine screening after age 70.

The guideline is to start testing at age 40 or 45 for people at high risk, such as African-American men and those with a family medical history of the condition.

When a man develops symptoms that could be caused by prostate cancer, such as difficult, painful, and/or frequent urination, back discomfort, and/or pelvic pain, a total PSA test and digital rectal exam may be prescribed.

A healthcare professional may schedule a repeat test a few weeks later if the total PSA level is elevated to see if the PSA concentrations have returned to normal.

When a man's total PSA is significantly elevated, a free PSA is usually ordered. The results provide further information to the healthcare professional regarding whether the person is at an elevated risk of prostate cancer and aid in the choice to biopsy the prostate.

The total PSA may be conducted at regular intervals during the treatment of men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, as well as when a man is on "watchful waiting" and not currently being treated for his cancer.

What does a PSA Free and Total blood test check for?

Prostate specific antigen is a protein produced predominantly by cells in the prostate, a tiny gland that surrounds the urethra in males and generates a fluid that is part of the sperm. The majority of PSA produced by the prostate is discharged into this fluid, but minor amounts can also be found in the bloodstream. This test determines how much PSA is present in the blood.

The PSA test is used to screen for and monitor prostate cancer as a tumor marker. It's a good tool, but it's not perfect, and most experts agree that asymptomatic men should only be screened after having a detailed discussion with their healthcare professionals about the benefits and dangers, and after making an informed decision to do so. PSA levels that are higher than normal are linked to prostate cancer, but they can also be detected in prostatitis and benign prostatic hyperplasia. PSA levels rise with age in all men, but men of African American ancestry may have greater levels than other men, even at a younger age.

PSA is not a cancer indicator. The prostate biopsy, which involves taking small samples of prostate tissue and examining them under a microscope for abnormal cells, is the gold standard for detecting prostate cancer. The total PSA test and the digital rectal exam are combined to help determine whether a prostate biopsy is necessary.

The purpose of prostate cancer screening is to discover the disease when it is still contained within the prostate. Once the diagnosis of prostate cancer has been verified by biopsy, a treatment decision must be determined. As men get older, prostate cancer becomes more common, and many, if not all, of the tumors are slow-growing. While prostate cancer is the second leading cause of mortality in men, slow-growing prostate cancer is a rare cause of death. A pathologist may be able to tell the difference between cancers that grow slowly and spread to other regions of the body and cancers that grow quickly and spread to other parts of the body.

Overdiagnosis and overtreatment are two challenges that health professionals are currently dealing with. In certain situations, the treatment is worse than the cancer, with substantial side effects including as incontinence and erectile dysfunction possible. In general, neither the PSA test nor the DRE can indicate how a person's condition will progress.

PSA is found in the blood in two forms: complexed and free. The total PSA test, which analyzes the sum of complexed and free PSA in the blood, is the most often used PSA test.

When the total PSA is only slightly raised, the free PSA test is occasionally used to help assess whether a biopsy should be performed. PSA is an enzyme that is inactivated by circulating proteins that bind to it when it is released into the bloodstream. In BPH, benign prostate cells emit PSA that is not active, but malignant prostate cells release PSA that is already coupled to a protein.

As a result, men with BPH tend to have greater levels of free PSA, while men with prostate cancer have lower levels. Even if total PSA is not dramatically raised, a relatively low amount of free PSA raises the chances of cancer.

Lab tests often ordered with a PSA Free and Total test:

  • CEA
  • Tumor Markers

Conditions where a PSA Free and Total test is recommended:

  • Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy

How does my health care provider use a PSA Free and Total test?

Both the PSA test and the digital rectal exam can be used to screen for prostate cancer in both asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals. PSA is a protein produced predominantly by prostate cells. The majority of PSA is released into the sperm, although minor amounts are also released into the blood. PSA is found in the blood in two forms: free and complexed. PSA levels can be measured in the lab as either free or total PSA.

Some organizations, such as the United States Preventive Services Task Force, believe that the risks of over-diagnosis and over-treatment outweigh the potential advantages of PSA screening in healthy men of any age, and advise against using PSA to test for prostate cancer in healthy men of any age. Before deciding whether or not to be screened for prostate cancer, the American Cancer Society and the American Urological Association urge that men consider the benefits and drawbacks of PSA-based screening with their healthcare professional.

While elevated PSA levels are linked to cancer, they can also be produced by disorders like benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate inflammation. A biopsy may be required in the case of an increased PSA, which carries the risk of consequences such as discomfort, fever, blood in the urine, and urinary tract infection.

Even though prostate cancer is the second most frequent cancer in males and the second leading cause of death, many prostate tumors grow slowly. These slow-growing kinds may never create symptoms or pose a threat to one's life. Prostate cancer discovered by screening, on the other hand, may be treated with surgery or radiation therapy, which can have major side effects like incontinence or erectile dysfunction.

Because the total PSA test might be temporarily raised for a variety of causes, if an initial PSA is elevated, a follow-up PSA may be performed a few weeks later to see if the PSA is still elevated. If the repeat test shows an elevated level, a healthcare professional may suggest taking a series of PSAs over time to see if the level drops, stays elevated, or rises. When a cancer looks to be slow-growing, the healthcare professional and patient may decide to watch its progress rather than treat it right away.

A free PSA test can be done to look at the ratio of free to total PSA if the DRE is normal but the PSA is considerably increased. This can assist distinguish between prostate cancer and other sources of increased PSA that aren't cancer.

If the PSA or DRE are abnormal, other testing may be ordered. A urinalysis, for example, can be used to screen for a urinary tract infection, and imaging tests like an ultrasound can be used to inspect the prostate.

The total PSA test may be used as a monitoring tool to help determine the success of treatment if prostate cancer is diagnosed. It may also be ordered following therapy at regular intervals to identify cancer recurrence.

What do my PSA test results mean?

PSA test results can be interpreted in a variety of ways, and the cutoff values used by different laboratories may differ.

Total PSA levels below 4.0 ng/ml are considered unlikely to indicate the existence of prostate cancer. Some argue that this limit should be reduced to 2.5 ng/ml in order to detect more prostate cancer cases. Others contend that this might result in more malignancies being diagnosed and treated that aren't clinically important.

Men with a total PSA level of more than 10.0 ng/ml are thought to be at a higher risk of prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer, benign prostate hyperplasia, or inflammation can all be indicated by total PSA readings between 4.0 and 10.0 ng/ml. These problems, as well as an increase in PSA levels, are more common among the elderly. The "gray zone" is defined as total PSA levels between 4.0 and 10.0 ng/ml. The free PSA may be beneficial in this range.

Prostate cancers generally produce a lot of complexed PSA rather than free PSA. Prostate cancer cells create more free PSA, which does not bind to proteins. As a result, when men in the gray zone have lower levels of free PSA, they have higher levels of cPSA and a higher risk of prostate cancer. When individuals have high amounts of free PSA but low cPSA, however, the danger is reduced. The ratio of free to total PSA can assist the patient and his healthcare professional in determining whether or not a prostate biopsy is necessary.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


This panel contains Testosterone, Total, Males (Adult) Only #873 which is for males 18 years of age and older only.

Please note: If this panel is ordered for a pediatric (under 18 years of age) patient or female patient, the lab will automatically change the test to and charge for Testosterone, Total, MS #15983.


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Description: PSA Total is a test that is used to measure the total amount of PSA in the blood. There are two types of PSA, complex and free, and this test will measure the total sum of both. This test does not specify how much of each. If a measure of each amount is desired the test PSA, Free and Total #31348 will be able to differentiate between each one.

Also Known As: Prostate Specific Antigen Test, PSA Test, Prostate test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a PSA Total test ordered?

PSA is commonly ordered as a routine test in men over the age of 55, or 40 if they have a relative who has had prostate cancer. It is used to help identify, diagnose, and monitor prostate cancer. This test should also be ordered if the patient is having difficulty urinating or it becomes painful to do so.

The guideline is to start testing at age 40 or 45 for people at high risk, such as African-American men and men with a family history of the condition.

A healthcare professional may schedule a repeat test a few weeks later if the total PSA level is elevated to see if the PSA concentrations have returned to normal.

When a man's total PSA is significantly elevated, a free PSA is usually ordered. The results provide further information to the healthcare professional regarding whether the person is at an elevated risk of prostate cancer and aid in the choice to biopsy the prostate.

The total PSA may be conducted at regular intervals during the treatment of men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, as well as when a man is on "watchful waiting" and not currently being treated for his cancer.

What does a PSA Total blood test check for?

PSA is a protein produced predominantly by cells in the prostate, a tiny gland that surrounds the urethra in males and generates a fluid that is a component of semen. The majority of PSA produced by the prostate is discharged into this fluid, but minor amounts can also be found in the bloodstream. This test determines how much PSA is present in the blood.

The PSA test is used to screen for and monitor prostate cancer as a tumor marker. It's a good tool, but it's not perfect, and most experts agree that asymptomatic men should only be screened after having a detailed discussion with their healthcare professionals about the benefits and dangers, and after making an informed decision to do so. PSA levels that are high are linked to prostate cancer, but they can also indicate prostatitis or benign prostatic hyperplasia. PSA levels rise with age in all men, but men of African American ancestry may have greater levels than other men, even at a younger age.

PSA is not a cancer indicator. The prostate biopsy, which involves taking small samples of prostate tissue and examining them under a microscope for abnormal cells, is the gold standard for detecting prostate cancer. The total PSA test and the digital rectal exam are used to evaluate whether a prostate biopsy is necessary.

The purpose of prostate cancer screening is to discover the disease when it is still contained within the prostate. Once the diagnosis of prostate cancer has been verified by biopsy, a treatment decision must be determined. As men get older, prostate cancer becomes more common, and many, if not all, of the tumors are slow-growing. While prostate cancer is the second leading cause of mortality in men, slow-growing prostate cancer is a rare cause of death. A pathologist may be able to tell the difference between cancers that grow slowly and spread to other regions of the body and cancers that grow quickly and spread to other parts of the body.

Overdiagnosis and overtreatment are two challenges that health professionals are currently dealing with. In certain situations, the treatment is worse than the cancer, with substantial side effects including as incontinence and erectile dysfunction possible. In general, neither the PSA test nor the DRE can indicate how a person's condition will progress.

In the blood, PSA is found in two forms: complexed and free. The total PSA test, which analyzes the sum of complexed and free PSA in the blood, is the most often used PSA test.

When the total PSA is only slightly raised, the free PSA test is occasionally used to help assess whether a biopsy should be performed. PSA is an enzyme, and when it is released into the bloodstream, some circulating proteins link to it and inactivate it. In BPH, benign prostate cells produce PSA that is not active, whereas malignant prostate cells produce PSA that is already protein-bound.

As a result, men with BPH tend to have greater levels of free PSA, while men with prostate cancer have lower levels. Even if total PSA is not dramatically raised, a relatively low amount of free PSA raises the chances of cancer.

Lab tests often ordered with a PSA Total test:

  • CEA
  • Tumor Markers

Conditions where a PSA Total test is recommended:

  • Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy

Commonly Asked Questions:

How does my health care provider use a PSA Total test?

Both the PSA test and the digital rectal exam can be used to screen for prostate cancer in both asymptomatic and symptomatic men. PSA is a protein produced predominantly by prostate cells. The majority of PSA is released into the sperm, although minor amounts are also released into the blood. PSA is found in the blood in two forms: free and complexed. PSA levels can be measured in the lab as either free or total PSA.

Some organizations, such as the United States Preventive Services Task Force, believe that the risks of over-diagnosis and over-treatment outweigh the potential advantages of PSA screening in healthy men of any age, and advise against using PSA to test for prostate cancer in healthy men of any age. Before deciding whether or not to be screened for prostate cancer, the American Cancer Society and the American Urological Association urge that men consider the benefits and drawbacks of PSA-based screening with their healthcare professional.

While elevated PSA levels are linked to cancer, they can also be produced by disorders like benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate inflammation. A biopsy may be required in the case of an increased PSA, which carries the risk of consequences such as discomfort, fever, blood in the urine, and urinary tract infection.

Even though prostate cancer is the second most frequent cancer in males and the second leading cause of death, many prostate tumors grow slowly. These slow-growing kinds may never create symptoms or pose a threat to one's life. Prostate cancer discovered by screening, on the other hand, may be treated with surgery or radiation therapy, which can have major side effects like incontinence or erectile dysfunction.

Because the total PSA test might be temporarily raised for a variety of causes, if an initial PSA is elevated, a follow-up PSA may be performed a few weeks later to see if the PSA is still elevated. If the repeat test shows an elevated level, a healthcare professional may suggest taking a series of PSAs over time to see if the level drops, stays elevated, or rises. When a cancer looks to be slow-growing, the healthcare professional and patient may decide to watch its progress rather than treat it right away.

A free PSA test can be done to look at the ratio of free to total PSA if the DRE is normal but the PSA is considerably increased. This can assist distinguish between prostate cancer and other sources of increased PSA that aren't cancer.

If either the PSA or the DRE are abnormal, other testing may be ordered. A urinalysis, for example, can be used to screen for a urinary tract infection, and imaging tests like an ultrasound can be used to inspect the prostate.

The total PSA test may be used as a monitoring tool to help determine the success of treatment if prostate cancer is diagnosed. It may also be ordered following therapy at regular intervals to identify cancer recurrence.

What do my PSA Total test results mean?

PSA test results can be interpreted in a variety of ways, and the cutoff values used by different laboratories may differ.

Total PSA levels below 4.0 ng/ml are considered unlikely to indicate the existence of prostate cancer. Some argue that this limit should be reduced to 2.5 ng/ml in order to detect more prostate cancer cases. Others contend that this might result in more malignancies being diagnosed and treated that aren't clinically important.

Men with a total PSA level of more than 10.0 ng/ml are thought to be at a higher risk of prostate cancer.

Total PSA readings of 4.0 to 10.0 ng/ml may suggest prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia, or prostate inflammation. These problems, as well as an increase in PSA levels, are more common among the elderly. The "gray zone" is defined as total PSA levels between 4.0 and 10.0 ng/ml. The free PSA may be beneficial in this range.

Prostate cancers produce primarily complexed PSA rather than free PSA. Prostate cancer cells create more free PSA, which does not bind to proteins. As a result, when men in the gray zone have lower levels of free PSA, they have higher levels of cPSA and a higher risk of prostate cancer. When individuals have high amounts of free PSA but low cPSA, however, the danger is reduced. The ratio of free to total PSA can assist the patient and his healthcare professional in determining whether or not a prostate biopsy is necessary.

Additional analyses of PSA test results are occasionally utilized to improve the total PSA's efficacy as a screening tool. They are as follows:

  • PSA velocity is the rate at which PSA concentrations fluctuate over time; if the PSA continues to climb rapidly over time, prostate cancer is more likely. If it rises quickly, the patient may be suffering from a more aggressive kind of cancer.
  • PSA doubling time is a kind of PSA velocity that quantifies the rate at which the PSA concentration doubles.
  • PSA density is a comparison of PSA concentration and prostate volume; if the PSA level is higher than one would predict given the size of the prostate, the likelihood of cancer is higher.
  • PSA ranges adapted to a man's age—Because PSA values typically rise with age, it has been advocated that normal ranges be customized to a man's age.

The PSA level should start to drop with prostate cancer treatment, and should be very low or undetectable at the end of treatment. If concentrations do not drop to extremely low levels, the treatment is ineffective. Following treatment, the PSA test is repeated at regular intervals to check for recurrence of cancer. Because even small increases can be important, persons who are impacted should have their monitoring PSA tests done by the same laboratory each time to reduce testing variation.

A test known as "ultrasensitive PSA" may be helpful in detecting cancer persistence or recurrence after therapy. PSA is detected at significantly lower levels in this test than in regular PSA tests. Increases in PSA related to the persistence or return of cancer, it has been proposed, can be detected much sooner using this test. The results of this test, however, should be regarded with caution. Because the test is so sensitive, even when no cancer is present, minor rises in PSA levels can occur from one time to the next.

Is there anything else I should know about the Prostate Specific Antigen Total test?

The blood sample is normally taken before the DRE since the DRE can induce a brief increase in PSA.

PSA levels will be dramatically elevated following prostate procedure such as biopsy or excision. Before surgery or six weeks after manipulation, a blood test should be performed.

A brief increase in PSA level can be caused by strenuous physical activity that affects the prostate, such as cycling. Ejaculation within 24 hours of a PSA test can result in higher PSA values, thus it's best to avoid it.

Some chemotherapy medicines, such as cyclophosphamide and methotrexate, can raise or lower PSA levels in high dosages.

PSA levels may briefly rise in some men as a result of other prostate problems, particularly infection. According to a research, nearly half of men with high PSA levels saw their levels return to normal after a period of time. Before taking any further action, several authorities urge that a high PSA be repeated between 6 weeks and 3 months following the initial high PSA. If there is indication that the prostate is infected, some doctors will prescribe antibiotics.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Description: A Urinalysis complete test is a urine test that is used to screen for, diagnose, and monitor a variety of conditions and diseases urinary tract infections and kidney disorders.

Also Known As: Urine Test, Urine Analysis Test, UA Test, urine microscopic examination Test, Urinalysis Test, Complete Urinalysis Test

Collection Method: Urine Collection

Specimen Type: Urine

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Urinalysis Complete test ordered?

A urinalysis test may be ordered when a person undergoes a routine wellness examination, is admitted into a hospital, will have surgery, or is having a prenatal checkup.

When a person visits a doctor with symptoms of a urinary tract infection or another urinary system ailment, such as kidney disease, a urinalysis will almost certainly be prescribed. The following are some possible signs and symptoms:

  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Backache
  • Urination that is painful or occurs frequently
  • Urine with blood in it

Testing may also be conducted at regular intervals to track the progress of a condition.

What does a Urinalysis Complete test check for?

A urinalysis is a series of examinations done on urine that are physical, chemical, and microscopic. The tests identify and/or measure a number of elements in the urine, including cells, cellular fragments, and microbes. These elements include byproducts of healthy and unhealthy metabolism.

Urine is produced by the kidneys, two fist-sized organs located on either side of the spine near the base of the rib cage. The kidneys help the body regulate its water balance, filter wastes from the blood, and store proteins, electrolytes, and other molecules for later use. To get rid of everything unnecessary, urine travels from the kidneys to the ureters, bladder, and urethra before exiting the body. The color, amount, concentration, and content of urine will change slightly every time a person urinates due to the varied elements in urine, despite the fact that pee is normally yellow and clear.

By screening for components in the urine that aren't typically present and/or monitoring aberrant levels of specific substances, many illnesses can be caught early on. Glucose, bilirubin, protein, red and white blood cells, crystals, and germs are among examples. They could be present because of the following reasons:

  • The body responds to an elevated amount of the substance in the blood by attempting to remove the excess through urine.
  • There is a problem with the kidneys.
  • As with bacteria and white blood cells, there is a urinary tract infection present.

Three separate phases make up a full urinalysis:

  • The color and clarity of the urine are assessed using a visual examination.
  • Chemical examination, which determines the concentration of urine and tests for roughly 9 chemicals that provide useful information about health and disease.
  • Microscopic inspection that identifies and counts the different types of cells, casts, crystals, and other components found in urine, such as bacteria and mucus.

When abnormal results are found, or if a healthcare provider requests it, a microscopic analysis is usually performed.

It may be essential to repeat the test if the findings of a urinalysis are abnormal, and further other urine and blood tests may be needed to help establish a diagnosis, if the results are abnormal.

Lab tests often ordered with a Urinalysis Complete test:

  • Complete Blood Count
  • Iron Total and Total Iron binding capacity
  • Hemoglobin A1c
  • Lipid Panel
  • CMP
  • TSH
  • Urine Culture
  • Bilirubin Fractionated
  • Glucose

Conditions where a Urinalysis Complete test is recommended:

  • Diabetes
  • Kidney Disease
  • Liver Disease
  • Hypertension
  • Pregnancy
  • Hematuria
  • Proteinuria
  • Kidney Stones

How does my health care provider use a Urinalysis Complete test?

A urinalysis is a series of tests that can diagnose a variety of disorders. It can be used to screen for and/or diagnose a variety of illnesses, including urinary tract infections, renal abnormalities, liver diseases, diabetes, and other metabolic disorders, to name a few.

Urinalysis may be used in conjunction with other tests, such as urine albumin, to monitor the progress of treatment in patients with diseases or conditions like diabetes or kidney disease.

What do my urinalysis complete test results mean?

There are numerous ways to interpret the results of a urinalysis. Unusual results are a warning sign that something isn't right and needs further testing.  To connect the urinalysis results with an individual's symptoms and clinical findings and to look for the causes of aberrant findings, other targeted tests must be done, such as a complete blood count, metabolic panel, or urine culture.

It is more likely that a problem must be addressed the higher the concentration of the atypical component, such as noticeably increased levels of protein, glucose, or red blood cells. On the other hand, the outcomes do not inform the medical professional as to what led to the finding or whether it is a transient or ongoing sickness.

A normal urinalysis does not rule out the possibility of disease. Early in a disease process, some persons will not release elevated amounts of a drug, and others will release them irregularly throughout the day, which means they could be overlooked by a single urine sample. Small amounts of substances may be undetectable in very dilute urine.

NOTE: Only measurable biomarkers will be reported.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Description: A Urine Culture test is a test that is used to identify bacteria or foreign organisms in urine and test for antibiotic susceptibilities.

Also Known As: Urine Culture Test, Urine Culture and Sensitivity, Urine C and S, UTI test

Collection Method: Urine Collection

Specimen Type: Urine

Test Preparation: No preparation required

IMPORTANT - Culture, Urine, Routine #395 can Reflex to additional testing and charges, detailed below, if Culture is positive.

If culture is positive, CPT code(s): 87088 (each isolate) will be added with an additional charge.  Identification will be performed at an additional charge (CPT code(s): 87077 or 87140 or 87143 or 87147 or 87149).

Antibiotic susceptibilities are only performed when appropriate (CPT code(s): 87181 or 87184 or 87185 or 87186).

  • ORG ID 1. $ 12.45 
  • ORG ID 2. $ 23.95 
  • PRESUMPTIVE ID 1. $ 12.45 
  • PRESUMPTIVE ID 2. $ 23.95 
  • SUSC-1  $14.95 
  • SUSC-2  $28.95

When is a Urine Culture test ordered?

A urine culture may be requested if a person exhibits symptoms that suggest a urinary tract infection, such as:

  • Urination urges that are strong and persistent
  • Urination with a burning sensation
  • Urine that is murky and has a strong odor
  • Back pain in the lower back

Urinary tract infections can cause pressure in the lower abdomen as well as small quantities of blood in the urine. If the UTI is severe and/or has gone to the kidneys, it can cause symptoms such as flank pain, high fever, trembling, chills, nausea, and vomiting.

For young women with signs or symptoms of a UTI and an uncomplicated lower urinary tract infection, antibiotics may be administered without obtaining a urine culture. A urine culture is advised if there is a suspicion of a complex infection or if symptoms do not respond to first treatment.

Pregnant women without symptoms should be examined for bacteria in their urine during their first trimester or first prenatal appointment, as bacteria in the urine can harm the growing baby's health.

A urine culture may be administered in conjunction with a urinalysis or as a follow-up to abnormal urinalysis results.

What does a Urine Culture test check for?

Urine is a fluid generated by the kidneys that contains both water and waste. It passes from the kidneys to the bladder through tubes called ureters before being expelled from the body through the urethra. Urine culture is a test that detects and identifies bacteria and yeast in the urine that could be the source of a urinary tract infection.

A small amount of urine is placed on one or more agar plates and incubated at body temperature for a urine culture. Any bacteria or yeast present in the urine sample will grow into little circular colonies during the next 24 to 48 hours. The number of colonies and the size, shape, and color of these colonies assist identify which bacteria are present in the urine sample, and the number of colonies shows the amount of bacteria that were initially present in the urine sample. A laboratory technician counts the total number of colonies on the agar plate and determines how many types have grown. If a good, clean catch sample was taken for the test, the only bacteria found should be from an infection. Typically, there will be only one variety of bacterium present in relatively significant quantities. More than one type of bacteria may be present at any given time. This could be the result of a multi-pathogen infection, although it's more likely owing to contamination from the skin picked up during the urine collection.

A gram stain will be performed on a colony from each type by the laboratory technician. The bacteria are examined under a microscope by the laboratory technician. Different species of bacteria will have distinct colors and forms. Under a microscope, the bacterium Escherichia coli, which is responsible for the majority of urinary tract infections, will appear as gram-negative rods. Lactobacillus, a frequent vaginal contaminant found in women's urine, will show up as gram-positive rods. Some bacteria, such as Lactobacillus, are easy to detect by a skilled lab technician, are nonpathogenic, and do not require additional research. Others, such as gram-negative rods, represent clusters of identical bacteria that will necessitate extra testing to determine which bacteria are present.

After 24 to 48 hours of incubation, if there is no or little growth on the agar, the urine culture is declared negative for pathogens and the culture is complete. If one or more pathogens are found, more testing is done. Testing is performed to determine which bacteria are present, as well as susceptibility testing to determine which antibiotics are most likely to cure the infection.

Lab tests often ordered with a Urine Culture test:

  • Urinalysis, Complete
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • ANA
  • Rheumatoid Factor
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC)
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)

Conditions where a Urine Culture test is recommended:

  • Diabetes
  • Kidney Disease
  • Liver Disease
  • Hypertension
  • Pregnancy
  • Hematuria
  • Proteinuria
  • Kidney Stones
  • Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

How does my health care provider use a Urine Culture test?

The urine culture is often used to diagnose a urinary tract infection and to identify the bacteria or yeast that is causing it. It can be used in conjunction with susceptibility testing to discover which drugs will stop the infection-causing bacterium from growing. The findings will aid a doctor in determining which treatments are most likely to be beneficial in treating a patient's infection.

The kidneys, a pair of bean-shaped organs positioned near the bottom of the ribcage on the right and left sides of the back, produce urine. To transport wastes out of the body, the kidneys filter waste from the blood and generate urine, a yellow fluid. Urine goes from the kidneys to the bladder, where it is briefly stored, and then via the urethra to be emptied. Urine is normally sterile, but bacteria or, more rarely, yeast can migrate up the urinary tract from the skin outside the urethra and produce a urinary tract infection.

The majority of UTIs are considered simple and treatable. The infection may spread up through the ureters and into the kidneys if they are not treated. A kidney infection is more hazardous and can result in renal damage that is irreversible. In some situations, a urinary tract infection can escalate to a life-threatening infection in the bloodstream.

People with renal disease or other illnesses that impact the kidneys, such as diabetes or kidney stones, as well as people with compromised immune systems, may be more susceptible to UTIs.

What do my Urine Culture test results mean?

Urine culture results are frequently interpreted in conjunction with urinalysis results, as well as how the sample was taken and whether symptoms are present. Because certain urine samples may contain bacteria that are ordinarily found on the skin, some culture results must be interpreted with caution.

A positive urine culture is usually defined as the presence of a single kind of bacteria growing at high colony counts. Cultures containing more than 100,000 CFU/mL of one species of bacteria in clean catch samples that have been correctly collected usually indicate infection. Even if an infection is present, there may not be a large number of germs present in some circumstances. Lower levels can sometimes suggest infection, particularly if symptoms are present. Similarly, values of 1,000 to 100,000 CFU/mL may be deemed significant for samples acquired using a technique that reduces contamination, such as a sample collected with a catheter.

Although UTIs can be caused by a variety of bacteria, the majority are caused by Escherichia coli, a kind of bacteria that is widespread in the digestive tract and frequently detected in stool. Proteus, Klebsiella, Enterococcus, and Staphylococcus are among the bacteria that can cause UTIs. A yeast infection, such as Candida albicans, can cause a UTI, but urethritis is more commonly caused by a sexually transmitted illness, such as herpes, chlamydia, or gonorrhea.

When a culture says "no growth in 24 or 48 hours," it usually means there isn't an infection. If the symptoms persist, a urine culture on a new sample may be performed to test for bacteria with reduced colony numbers or other microorganisms that could be causing the symptoms. Acute urethral syndrome is defined as the presence of white blood cells and low quantities of bacteria in a sick person's urine.

If multiple different species of bacteria thrive in a culture, the growth is almost certainly due to contamination. This is notably true in urine samples containing Lactobacillus and/or other prevalent nonpathogenic vaginal bacteria in women. If the symptoms persist, the healthcare provider may order a second culture on a more thoroughly collected sample. However, if one species of bacteria has considerably larger colony counts than the others, such as 100,000 CFUs/mL versus 1,000 CFUs/mL, further testing to determine the dominating bacterium may be required.

Susceptibility testing may be used to guide treatment if a culture is positive. Any bacterial infection can be dangerous and, if left untreated, can spread to other parts of the body. Pain is frequently the first sign of infection. Treatment as soon as possible, generally with antibiotics, will help to relieve the pain.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Description: A BUN/Creatinine ratio test is a blood test that measures levels of Urea Nitrogen and Creatinine in your blood and is useful in the diagnosis of renal disease.

Also Known As: Urea Nitrogen and Creatinine Ratio test, BUN test, Urea test, Urea Nitrogen test, Creat test, Blood Creatinine Test, Serum Creatinine Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a BUN Creatinine Ratio test ordered?

BUN is a component of the BMP and CMP, two categories of widely-used tests:

  • as part of a regular health examination
  • prior to beginning the use of specific pharmacological therapy, determine how well the kidneys are functioning.
  • When a patient who is critically ill visits the emergency room or is admitted to the hospital

When kidney problems are suspected during a hospital stay, BUN is frequently ordered along with creatinine or a renal panel. Kidney dysfunction can show several indications and symptoms, such as:

  • fatigue, inability to focus, poor appetite, or difficulty sleeping
  • Swelling or puffiness, especially in the face, wrists, abdomen, thighs, or ankles or around the eyes
  • Foamy, bloody, or coffee-colored urine
  • a reduction in the urine's volume
  • problems urinating, such as a burning sensation or an unusual discharge, or a change in frequency, particularly at night
  • discomfort in the middle of the back, below the ribs, and next to the kidneys
  • elevated blood pressure

BUN may also be required for:

  • Patients with long-term illnesses or conditions like diabetes, congestive heart failure, and myocardial infarction should have regular kidney function checks.
  • monitoring renal function and treatment at frequent intervals in individuals with known kidney disease
  • Monitoring kidney function both before and after taking specific medications
  • When a CT scan is anticipated, furthermore to a creatinine
  • periodically to check on the efficiency of the dialysis

During a health examination, a routine metabolic panel that includes creatinine may be ordered. It might be prescribed if a patient is critically ill or if a doctor has reason to believe that their kidneys aren't functioning properly. Kidney dysfunction can show several indications and symptoms, such as:

  • fatigue, inability to focus, poor appetite, or difficulty sleeping
  • Swelling or puffiness, especially in the face, wrists, abdomen, thighs, or ankles, or around the eyes
  • Foamy, bloody, or coffee-colored urine
  • a reduction in the urine's volume
  • problems urinating, such as a burning sensation or an unusual discharge, or a change in frequency, particularly at night
  • discomfort in the middle of the back, below the ribs, and next to the kidneys
  • elevated blood pressure

When a person has a known kidney ailment or a condition that could impair kidney function, a creatinine blood test may be prescribed along with a BUN test, urine albumin, and other tests on a regular basis. When a CT scan is anticipated, before and throughout some medication regimens, as well as before and after dialysis, both BUN and creatinine may be requested to check the efficacy of treatments.

What does a BUN Creatinine Ratio test check for?

When protein is broken down into its constituent parts in the liver, urea is produced as a waste product. Ammonia is created during this process, and it is later changed into the less harmful waste product urea. This examination counts the urea nitrogen levels in the blood.

Ammonia and urea both contain nitrogen as an ingredient. Because urea contains nitrogen and because the body excretes excess nitrogen via urea/urea nitrogen, the terms urea and urea nitrogen are sometimes used interchangeably. The liver releases urea into the blood, which travels to the kidneys where it is removed from the circulation and discharged as urine. Since this is a continuous process, urea nitrogen levels in the blood are typically low and steady.

The majority of illnesses or ailments that affect the liver or kidneys have the potential to have an impact on the blood's urea content. Urea concentrations in the blood will increase if the liver produces more urea or if the kidneys are not functioning properly and are having trouble removing wastes from the blood. BUN values may decrease if severe liver illness or injury prevents the synthesis of urea.

Muscles release creatinine as a waste product after breaking down a substance called creatine. The kidneys eliminate creatinine from the body by filtering nearly all of it from the blood and releasing it into the urine. The creatinine level in the blood and/or urine is determined by this test.

The process that creates the energy required to contract muscles includes creatine. The body produces both creatine and creatinine at a fairly steady rate. Blood levels are typically a good indication of how well the kidneys are functioning since the kidneys filter almost all of the creatinine from the blood and release it into the urine. The amount created is influenced by a person's size and muscular mass. As a result, men's creatinine levels will be a little bit greater than those of women and children.

Calculations that are used to assess kidney function can be done using data from a blood creatinine test in conjunction with data from other tests, including a 24-hour urine creatinine test.

Lab tests often ordered with a BUN Creatinine Ratio test:

  • Urine Protein
  • eGFR
  • Creatinine Clearance
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
  • Basic Metabolic Panel
  • Cystatin C
  • Renal Panel
  • Urinalysis
  • Microalbumin
  • Beta-2 Microglobin

Conditions where a BUN Creatinine Ratio test is recommended:

  • Kidney Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Proteinuria

How does my health care provider use a BUN Creatinine Ratio test?

The creatinine test and blood urea nitrogen tests are primarily used to assess kidney function under various conditions, aid in the diagnosis of kidney illness, and keep track of persons who have either acute or chronic renal failure or dysfunction. When requested as a component of a renal panel, basic metabolic panel, or comprehensive metabolic panel, it may also be used to assess a person's overall health state.

When protein is digested in the liver, urea is produced as a waste product. The liver releases urea into the blood, which travels to the kidneys where it is removed from the circulation and discharged as urine. Since this is a continuous process, urea nitrogen levels in the blood are typically low and steady. However, the level of urea in the blood will increase if the kidneys become diseased or damaged and are unable to remove waste products from the blood.

The kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs that are situated on the right and left sides of the back at the base of the ribcage. They include around a million nephrons, which are very small blood filtering organs. Blood is continuously filtered via a glomerulus, a tiny collection of looping blood arteries, in each nephron. Water and tiny molecules can pass through the glomerulus, while blood cells and bigger molecules are retained. Each glomerulus has a little tube attached to it that gathers the fluid and molecules that flow through it and reabsorbs what the body can use. Urine is created by the leftover waste.

Creatinine and BUN tests may be performed to monitor for renal dysfunction and the efficacy of treatment if the results are abnormal or if a person has an underlying condition known to impact the kidneys, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Before some procedures, such a CT scan, that can call for the use of medications that can harm the kidneys, such as creatinine and BUN tests in the blood may also be prescribed to assess renal function.

What do my BUN Creatinine Ratio test results mean?

BUN levels that are higher indicate poor renal health. This could be brought on by failure, injury, or acute or chronic renal disease. A condition that reduces blood flow to the kidneys, such as congestive heart failure, shock, stress, a recent heart attack, or serious burns, as well as conditions that impede urine flow or dehydration, may also be to blame.

When there is excessive protein breakdown, a considerable rise in the amount of protein in the diet, or gastrointestinal bleeding, BUN values may be increased.

Low BUN levels are rare and typically not reason for alarm. The BUN test is not typically used to diagnose or monitor these disorders, but they may appear in severe liver illness, malnutrition, and occasionally when a person is overhydrated.

BUN values may be normal even in the presence of substantial malfunction in the other kidney if one kidney is fully functional.

Blood creatinine levels that are higher than normal point to renal disease or other disorders that have an impact on kidney function. These may consist of:

For instance, infections or autoimmune illnesses can cause kidney blood vessels to enlarge or become damaged.

  • infection of the kidneys with bacteria
  • death of kidney cells brought on by chemicals or medications, for instance, in the tiny tubes of the kidneys
  • Urinary tract obstruction can be brought on by prostate disease, kidney stones, or other conditions.
  • reduced renal blood flow brought on by shock, dehydration, congestive heart failure, atherosclerosis, or diabetes-related problems

Although they are uncommon, low blood creatinine levels are often not a cause for alarm. They can be observed in diseases that cause a loss of muscular mass.

As part of a creatinine clearance test, 24-hour urine creatinine levels are compared to blood levels.

There are no established reference ranges for single, random urine creatinine values. They are typically used in conjunction with other exams to compare levels of other chemicals detected in urine. The urine albumin test, the urine albumin/creatinine ratio, and the urine protein test are a few examples.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Description: A Comprehensive Metabolic Panel or CMP is a blood test that is a combination of a Basic Metabolic Panel, a Liver Panel, and electrolyte panel, and is used to screen for, diagnose, and monitor a variety of conditions and diseases such as liver disease, diabetes, and kidney disease. 

Also Known As: CMP, Chem, Chem-14, Chem-12, Chem-21, Chemistry Panel, Chem Panel, Chem Screen, Chemistry Screen, SMA 12, SMA 20, SMA 21, SMAC, Chem test

Collection Method: 

Blood Draw 

Specimen Type: 

Serum 

Test Preparation: 

9-12 hours fasting is preferred. 

When is a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel test ordered:  

A CMP is frequently requested as part of a lab test for a medical evaluation or yearly physical. A CMP test consists of many different tests that give healthcare providers a range of information about your health, including liver and kidney function, electrolyte balance, and blood sugar levels. To confirm or rule out a suspected diagnosis, abnormal test results are frequently followed up with other tests that provide a more in depth or targeted analysis of key areas that need investigating. 

What does a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel blood test check for? 

The complete metabolic panel (CMP) is a set of 20 tests that provides critical information to a healthcare professional about a person's current metabolic status, check for liver or kidney disease, electrolyte and acid/base balance, and blood glucose and blood protein levels. Abnormal results, particularly when they are combined, can suggest a problem that needs to be addressed. 

The following tests are included in the CMP: 

  • Albumin: this is a measure of Albumin levels in your blood. Albumin is a protein made by the liver that is responsible for many vital roles including transporting nutrients throughout the body and preventing fluid from leaking out of blood vessels. 

  • Albumin/Globulin Ratio: this is a ratio between your total Albumin and Globulin  

  • Alkaline Phosphatase: this is a measure of Alkaline phosphatase or ALP in your blood. Alkaline phosphatase is a protein found in all body tissues, however the ALP found in blood comes from the liver and bones. Elevated levels are often associated with liver damage, gallbladder disease, or bone disorder. 

  • Alt: this is a measure of Alanine transaminase or ALT in your blood. Alanine Aminotransferase is an enzyme found in the highest amounts in the liver with small amounts in the heart and muscles. Elevated levels are often associated with liver damage. 

  • AST: this is a measure of Aspartate Aminotransferase or AST. Aspartate Aminotransferase is an enzyme found mostly in the heart and liver, with smaller amounts in the kidney and muscles. Elevated levels are often associated with liver damage. 

  • Bilirubin, Total: this is a measure of bilirubin in your blood. Bilirubin is an orange-yellowish waste product produced from the breakdown of heme which is a component of hemoglobin found in red blood cells. The liver is responsible for removal of bilirubin from the body. 

  • Bun/Creatinine Ratio: this is a ratio between your Urea Nitrogen (BUN) result and Creatinine result.  

  • Calcium: this is a measurement of calcium in your blood. Calcium is the most abundant and one of the most important minerals in the body as it essential for proper nerve, muscle, and heart function. 

  • Calcium: is used for blood clot formation and the formation and maintenance of bones and teeth. 

  • Carbon Dioxide: this is a measure of carbon dioxide in your blood. Carbon dioxide is a negatively charged electrolyte that works with other electrolytes such as chloride, potassium, and sodium to regulate the body’s acid-base balance and fluid levels.  

  • Chloride: this is a measure of Chloride in your blood. Chloride is a negatively charged electrolyte that works with other electrolytes such as potassium and sodium to regulate the body’s acid-base balance and fluid levels. 

  • Creatinine: this is a measure of Creatinine levels in your blood. Creatinine is created from the breakdown of creatine in your muscles and is removed from your body by the kidneys. Elevated creatinine levels are often associated with kidney damage. 

  • Egfr African American: this is a measure of how well your kidneys are functioning. Glomeruli are tiny filters in your kidneys that filter out waste products from your blood for removal while retaining important substances such as nutrients and blood cells. 

  • Egfr Non-Afr. American: this is a measure of how well your kidneys are functioning. Glomeruli are tiny filters in your kidneys that filter out waste products from your blood for removal while retaining important substances such as nutrients and blood cells. 

  • Globulin: this is a measure of all blood proteins in your blood that are not albumin. 

  • Glucose: this is a measure of glucose in your blood. Glucose is created from the breakdown of carbohydrates during digestion and is the body’s primary source of energy. 

  • Potassium: this is a measure of Potassium in your blood. Potassium is an electrolyte that plays a vital role in cell metabolism, nerve and muscle function, and transport of nutrients into cells and removal of wastes products out of cells. 

  • Protein, Total: this is a measure of total protein levels in your blood. 
    Sodium: this is a measure of Sodium in your blood. Sodium is an electrolyte that plays a vital role in nerve and muscle function. 

  • Sodium: this is a measure of sodium in your blood's serum. Sodium is a vital mineral for nerve and muscle cell function.

  • Urea Nitrogen (Bun): this is a measure of Urea Nitrogen in your blood, also known as Blood UreaNitrogen (BUN). Urea is a waste product created in the liver when proteins are broken down into amino acids. Elevated levels are often associated with kidney damage. 

Lab tests often ordered with a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel test: 

  • Complete Blood Count with Differential and Platelets
  • Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity
  • Lipid Panel
  • Vitamin B12 and Folate
  • Prothrombin with INR and Partial Thromboplastin Times
  • Sed Rate (ESR)
  • C-Reactive Protein

Conditions where a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel test is recommended: 

  • Diabetes
  • Kidney Disease
  • Liver Disease
  • Hypertension

Commonly Asked Questions: 

How does my health care provider use a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel test? 

The comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) is a broad screening tool for assessing organ function and detecting diseases like diabetes, liver disease, and kidney disease. The CMP test may also be requested to monitor known disorders such as hypertension and to check for any renal or liver-related side effects in persons taking specific drugs. If a health practitioner wants to follow two or more separate CMP components, the full CMP might be ordered because it contains more information. 

What do my Comprehensive Metabolic Panel test results mean? 

The results of the tests included in the CMP are usually analyzed together to look for patterns. A single abnormal test result may indicate something different than a series of abnormal test findings. A high result on one of the liver enzyme tests, for example, is not the same as a high result on several liver enzyme tests. 

Several sets of CMPs, frequently performed on various days, may be examined to gain insights into the underlying disease and response to treatment, especially in hospitalized patients. 

Out-of-range findings for any of the CMP tests can be caused by a variety of illnesses, including kidney failure, breathing issues, and diabetes-related complications, to name a few. If any of the results are abnormal, one or more follow-up tests are usually ordered to help determine the reason and/or establish a diagnosis. 

Is there anything else I should know? 

A wide range of prescription and over-the-counter medications can have an impact on the results of the CMP's components. Any medications you're taking should be disclosed to your healthcare professional. Similarly, it is critical to provide a thorough history because many other circumstances can influence how your results are interpreted. 

What's the difference between the CMP and the BMP tests, and why would my doctor choose one over the other? 

The CMP consists of 14 tests, while the basic metabolic panel (BMP) is a subset of those with eight tests. The liver (ALP, ALT, AST, and bilirubin) and protein (albumin and total protein) tests are not included. If a healthcare provider wants a more thorough picture of a person's organ function or to check for specific illnesses like diabetes or liver or kidney disease, he or she may prescribe a CMP rather than a BMP. 

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

Please note the following regarding BUN/Creatinine ratio: 

The lab does not report the calculation for the BUN/Creatinine Ratio unless one or both biomarkers’ results fall out of the published range. 

If you still wish to see the value, it's easy to calculate. Simply take your Urea Nitrogen (BUN) result and divide it by your Creatinine result.  

As an example, if your Urea Nitrogen result is 11 and your Creatinine result is 0.86, then you would divide 11 by 0.86 and get a BUN/Creatinine Ratio result of 12.79. 


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Description: A Creatinine test is a blood test that is used to evaluate the health of your kidneys and diagnose and monitor the treatment of kidney disease.

Also Known As: Create Test, Blood Creatinine Test, Serum Creatinine Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Creatinine test ordered?

During a health assessment, creatinine may be requested as part of a complete or basic metabolic panel. It may be ordered if a person is seriously ill or if a doctor feels that their kidneys aren't functioning properly.

When someone has a known renal condition or a disease that may impact kidney function, a creatinine blood test, coupled with a BUN test and urine albumin, may be ordered at regular intervals. When a CT scan is planned, before to and during some medication therapy, and before and after dialysis, both BUN and creatinine may be requested to assess the effectiveness of treatments.

What does a Creatinine blood test check for?

Creatinine is a waste product created by muscles when a molecule called creatine is broken down. The kidneys eliminate creatinine from the body by filtering almost all of it from the blood and excreting it in the urine. The level of creatinine in the blood and/or urine is measured in this test.

Creatine is a component of the energy-producing cycle that allows muscles to contract. The body produces both creatine and creatinine at a roughly steady rate. Because the kidneys filter almost all creatinine from the blood and excrete it in the urine, blood levels are usually an excellent predictor of how well the kidneys are operating. The amount produced is determined by the person's size and muscular mass. As a result, men's creatinine levels will be slightly higher than women's and children's.

A blood creatinine test's results can be combined with those from other tests, such as a 24-hour urine creatinine test, to produce calculations that are used to assess kidney function.

Lab tests often ordered with a Creatinine test:

  • BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen)
  • Creatinine Clearance
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)
  • Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP)
  • Urinalysis
  • Microalbumin and Creatinine Ratio
  • Cystatin C with eGFR
  • Beta-2 Microglobulin
  • Urine Protein

Conditions where a Creatinine test is recommended:

  • Kidney Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Proteinuria
  • Hypertension

How does my health care provider use a Creatinine test?

Kidney function is assessed with a creatinine blood test. It's usually requested in conjunction with a BUN test or as part of a basic or comprehensive metabolic panel, which consists of a series of tests designed to assess the operation of the body's primary organs. BMP or CMP tests are used to screen healthy persons during normal physical exams, as well as to help evaluate people who are acutely or chronically ill in the emergency room and/or hospital. Creatinine testing is sometimes done as part of a renal panel to assess kidney function.

Creatinine is a waste product created by muscles when a molecule called creatine is broken down. Because the kidneys filter almost all creatinine from the blood and discharge it into the urine, blood levels are usually an excellent predictor of how well the kidneys are operating.

The kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs placed on the right and left sides of the back at the bottom of the ribcage. Nephrons are a million microscopic blood filtering units found within them. Blood is continuously filtered by a small cluster of looping blood arteries called a glomerulus in each nephron. Water and tiny molecules flow through the glomerulus, but blood cells and bigger molecules are retained. Each glomerulus has a little tube attached to it that gathers the fluid and molecules that flow through it and then reabsorbs what the body can use. Urine is formed from the residual waste.

If the creatinine and BUN tests are abnormal, or if the patient has an underlying condition that affects the kidneys, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, creatinine and BUN tests may be used to monitor renal functionality and therapy effectiveness. Before some procedures, such as a CT scan, that may necessitate the use of medicines that can harm the kidneys, blood creatinine and BUN tests may be requested to assess renal function.

Creatinine test results can be utilized in calculations to determine renal function.

The estimated glomerular filtration rate, used as a screen to search for signs of early kidney damage, is calculated using blood creatinine readings, as well as age, weight, and sex.

What do my Creatinine test results mean?

Elevated creatinine levels in the blood indicate renal disease or other disorders affecting kidney function.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


High concentrations of acid phosphatase are found in the prostate gland. Significant amounts are also found in platelets, bone, spleen, kidney and liver. Prostatic Acid Phosphatase (PAP) is a component of total acid phosphates and is a major constituent in seminal fluid and is also secreted in the urine. PAP is normally found in serum in very low levels. PAP measurement has found clinical application in the management of prostatic cancer patients. Serum PAP measurements have been useful in monitoring remission or relapse of a prostatic malignancy and in assessing the effectiveness of various treatment regimes. Thus, normalization in serum PAP levels has been observed following successful therapeutic intervention, while recurrent or residual disease has been associated with elevated levels of PAP.

Clinical Significance

For post-prostatectomy patients. The lower limit of accurate quantification for this assay is 0.02 ng/mL. PSA values less than 0.02 ng/mL cannot be accurately measured and will be reported as less than 0.02 ng/mL. Specimens with PSA levels below the lower limit of accurate quantification should be considered as negative. In patients with a negative result for post-prostatectomy PSA, serial monitoring of PSA levels at regular intervals, along with physical examinations and other tests, may help to detect recurrent prostate cancer.


PSA, Post Prostatectomy with HAMA Treatment

Patient Preparation: Draw before rectal examination or biopsy procedure

Methodology: Immunochemiluminometric Assay (ICMA) 

Reference Range(s)

  • <0.10 ng/mL After radical prostatectomy
  • ≤4.0 ng/mLIn healthy males without prostatectomy
  • PSA values obtained with different assay methods or kits cannot be used interchangeably.

 


Elevated serum PSA concentrations have been reported in men with prostate cancer, benign prostatic hypertrophy, and inflammatory conditions of the prostate.

Please note: If Testosterone, Total, Males (Adult) Only #873 is ordered for a pediatric or female patient, the lab will automatically change the test to and charge for Testosterone, Total, MS #15983.

Description: Testosterone, Total, Male is a blood test used to detect abnormal levels of testosterone in male patients, diagnose causes of erectile dysfunction and infertility.

Also Known As: Total Testosterone Test, Testosterone Total Test, Male Testosterone Test, Testosterone Male Test, Testosterone Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

This test is for male patients 18 years of age and older only. Pediatric and Female patients will need to order Testosterone, Total, MS #15983.

Due to changes in testosterone levels throughout the day, two morning (8:00-10:00 a.m.) specimens obtained on different days are recommended by The Endocrine Society for screening.

This test can report a value up to 3000 ng/dL. any number >3000 will be stated as >3000.

When is a Testosterone Total Male test ordered?

When infertility is suspected, or when a man has decreased sex drive or erectile difficulties, a testosterone test may be ordered. Other signs include a lack of beard and body hair, a loss of muscle mass, and the formation of breast tissue. Low total and bioavailable testosterone levels have also been linked to, or caused by, increased visceral fat, insulin resistance, and an increased risk of coronary artery disease.

What does a Testosterone Total Male blood test check for?

In men, testosterone is the primary sex hormone. It's in charge of a man's physical appearance. This test determines the amount of testosterone in a person's blood.

Testosterone is primarily produced in the male testicles by unique endocrine tissue called Leydig cells. It's made by the adrenal glands in males.

In males, testosterone promotes the formation of secondary sex characteristics such as penis size, body hair growth, muscle development, and a deeper voice. It is abundant in males during adolescence and adulthood in order to regulate sex drive and preserve muscle mass.

The pituitary gland produces luteinizing hormone, which stimulates and regulates testosterone synthesis. Testosterone functions in a negative feedback loop: when testosterone levels rise, LH production falls, slowing testosterone production; lower testosterone levels cause higher LH production, which promotes testosterone production.

Testosterone levels fluctuate throughout the day, increasing in the early morning hours and dropping in the evening. Levels rise after activity and fall as people get older.

About two-thirds of testosterone is attached to sex-hormone binding globulin in the bloodstream, with the remaining one-third bound to albumin. Only a small percentage of testosterone is released into the bloodstream as free testosterone. The bioavailable fraction is the free plus albumin-bound testosterone, which can act on target tissues.

In many circumstances, measuring total testosterone is sufficient information for a healthcare provider. A test for free or bioavailable testosterone may be performed in some circumstances, such as when the level of SHBG is abnormal, as it may more accurately indicate the presence of a medical issue.

Lab tests often ordered with a Testosterone Total Male test:

  • Estradiol
  • Dihydrotestosterone
  • FSH
  • LH
  • Estrogens
  • Estriol
  • Estrone
  • Albumin
  • Prolactin
  • Anti-mullerian Hormone
  • Androstenedione
  • Sex Hormone Binding Globulin

Conditions where a Testosterone Total Male test is recommended:

  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  • Alcoholism
  • Mumps
  • Hypothalamic disease
  • Pituitary disease
  • Infertility
  • Liver disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Eating disorders
  • Pregnancy
  • Cushing Syndrome
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Testicular cancer
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia

Commonly Asked Questions:

How is this test used by my health care provider?

In men, testosterone testing is used to identify a variety of problems. Testosterone is the major sex hormone in males, and it is responsible for masculine physical traits. It is produced mostly by the testicles.

The testosterone test can be used to determine whether or not you're experiencing:

  • Decreases sex drive
  • Men's erectile dysfunction
  • Male infertility
  • Tumors of the testicles in men
  • Disorders of the hypothalamus or pituitary gland

A testosterone total test is usually used to diagnose a condition. The free and total testosterone test distinguishes between testosterone that is bound to proteins in the blood and testosterone that is not attached to proteins.

About two-thirds of testosterone is tied to SHBG in the blood, with the remaining one-third attached to albumin. Free testosterone circulates in a tiny percentage. Bioavailable testosterone is made up of free testosterone and testosterone bound to albumin, and it can operate on target tissues.

A test for free or bioavailable testosterone may be performed in some circumstances, such as when the level of SHBG is abnormal, as it may more accurately indicate the presence of a medical issue.

Other tests and hormone levels may be performed in conjunction with testosterone testing, depending on the reason for testing. Here are a few examples:

  • FSH
  • LH
  • Estrogen
  • Estradiol
  • SHBG
  • DHEA-S
  • Prolactin
  • Androstenedione
  • 17-Hydroxyprogesterone

What does my testosterone test result mean?

Testosterone levels often begin to fall after the age of 30. Testosterone levels may drop more in obese or chronically unwell men, as well as with the use of certain drugs.

Hypogonadism can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Pituitary or hypothalamic illness
  • Reduced testosterone production in young males can be caused by genetic disorders
  • Possible infertility or testicular failure
  • Acquired damage to the testes, such as from drinking, physical injury, or viral infections like mumps, reduces testosterone production.
  • Diabetes

Healthcare practitioners may recommend testosterone replacement therapy to men who have consistently low testosterone levels and associated signs and symptoms. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved testosterone supplements to improve strength, sports performance, or avoid aging disorders. It's possible that using it for these purposes is dangerous.

Increased testosterone levels in men can mean one of several things:

  • Tumors of the testicles
  • Testosterone-producing tumors in the adrenal glands
  • Use of anabolic steroids

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


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Urea is the principle waste product of protein catabolism. BUN is most commonly measured in the diagnosis and treatment of certain renal and metabolic diseases. Increased BUN concentration may result from increased production of urea due to (1) diet or excessive destruction of cellular proteins as occurs in massive infection and fevers, (2) reduced renal perfusion resulting from dehydration or heart failure, (3) nearly all types of kidney disease, and (4) mechanical obstruction to urine excretion such as is caused by stones, tumors, infection, or stricture. Decreased urea levels are less frequent and occur primarily in advanced liver disease and in overhydration


Every year in the United States nearly 250,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer. This can be an extremely daunting time for them and their loved ones. However, an early diagnosis can have a huge impact on your treatment plan and chances of survival. 

An early diagnosis can put your 5-year survival rate at more than 99%! However, as the American cancer society will tell you, this is only possible if you get tested.

So how do you get a prostate cancer test, and what does this involve? If you are concerned about getting a PSA test, read on to find out more!

What is Prostate Cancer? 

Your prostate is an integral part of your body's reproductive system and produces the seminal fluid that transports sperm. It is a small gland that sits just below your bladder and in front of your rectum. 

Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in America and affects this small gland. To begin with, most people will not notice it because symptoms can take a while to show up. Prostate cancer is a condition characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells around and in the prostate gland. This is the organ responsible for producing prostate fluid, which makes part (70%) of semen produced in the testes.  This type of cancer affects cells responsible for generating the prostate fluid- hence known as adenocarcinomas.

While most types of prostate cancer are slow-growing, some types grow and spread at a faster rate, hence more dangerous.  Slow-Growing cancer does not, however, pose a significant risk to most men.  Many older men, and even some younger ones, who died of other causes, also had slow-growing prostate cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Most of these men had no idea they had prostate cancer in the first place.

However, over time it can have a huge effect on your reproductive system. It can also alter the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level in your blood. Without treatment, this cancer can spread and become fatal.

So why do some men develop prostate cancer?

What are the Causes of and Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer?

There can be several different things that cause prostate cancer. Changes to your DNA as you age can increase your likelihood of developing it. This is why prostate cancer is especially common in men over the age of 60. 

Your diet can also affect your likelihood of developing prostate cancer. Fatty foods stimulate hormones that support the growth of prostate cancer. So, watching what you eat can help protect your prostate. 

You may also have a higher chance of developing prostate cancer if you: 

  • Have a family history of it
  • Are overweight or obese
  • Are a smoker
  • Have a high calcium intake 
  • Are of black ethnic origins
  • Are over the age of 50

Even if you do not fall into any of these categories, it is a good idea to check your prostate regularly, especially as you get older.

Signs and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

It is not always possible to spot cancer affecting your prostate gland immediately. However, as prostate cancer develops, you will start to notice more symptoms. These can include: 

  • Having to urinate more frequently
  • Difficulty emptying your bladder or weak urine flow
  • The urge to urinate more frequently at night
  • Blood in your urine
  • Erectile dysfunction (that is newly onset)
  • Pain when urinating
  • Discomfort when sitting

If your cancer has spread, you may also experience pain across your back, hips, or thighs. You may also lose a lot of weight and find that you're more tired than usual.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is a good idea to get a prostate cancer screening as soon as possible. There are several ways to do this.

PSA Lab Test for Prostate Cancer

A PSA test is a type of blood test that checks the amount of PSA in your blood. PSA, or Prostate-Specific Antigen, is a type of protein that your prostate gland produces. Even when you are healthy, some PSA leaks into your bloodstream. 

  • Total Prostate Specific Antigen – The tests are done to detect and monitor prostate cancer.  The health expert must evaluate tests based on the volume of the patient’s prostate and PSA levels in the blood.
  • Free PSA – There are two types of PSA in the blood: free PSA (fPSA), which isn’t bound, and complexed PSA (cPSA), which is linked to other proteins. Health experts test for fPSA to determine the need for biopsy to be done. The biopsy can only be done when the total PSA is slightly elevated. Most men with BPH will have higher levels of fPSA, while those with prostate cancer will have relatively lower amounts of the same. Low levels of fPSA increase the risk of cancer despite normal PSA levels.

A raised PSA result can be a useful way of detecting prostate cancer. This is a quick way to spot early-stage prostate cancer. However, if your PSA is raised, it is also a good idea to get some further prostate cancer tests. 

Lab tests come in handy in detecting prostate cancer, and ruling out health conditions/ailments that may make the situation worse. The tests can also be used to monitor and determine the effectiveness of the current mode of treatment.

A digital rectal examination (DRE) helps your doctor check your prostate. Because your prostate cannot be seen directly, your doctor inserts a gloved lubricated finger into your rectum to feel your prostate and check for enlargement.

If you or your doctor is concerned about your prostate, your doctor may recommend a prostate biopsy. This involves taking a small tissue sample from your prostate using a thin needle. Your doctor will then examine these under a microscope to check for cancer cells.

General Lab Tests

Additional tests may be required to ascertain the likelihood of prostate cancer, and to rule out possible other conditions with similar signs and symptoms. These include:

FAQs About the Prostate Cancer Test

Getting your prostate checked for the first time can be a daunting experience. To help, here are some common questions that people have about prostate cancer testing. 

How Do You Prepare for a PSA Test? 

To prepare for a PSA test, you should: 

  • Not ejaculate or exercise heavily within the 48 hours leading up to your test
  • Ensure that you are clear of any urinary infections
  • Make sure that it has been at least 6 weeks since your last prostate biopsy

Do PSA Tests Have Any Side Effects? 

A PSA test is just like any routine blood test, so side effects are rare. If you are taking any medication you should speak to someone about this before having your blood tested. Some doctors may recommend pausing certain medication shortly before your test.

How Long Does It Take to Get a PSA Test Result Back? 

Usually, it takes between one and two weeks to get your test result back from the lab if you go through your doctor. With Ulta Lab Tests, you will receive your test results in one to two days.

What Happens If Your PSA Level is Raised? 

If you have a raised PSA level, this doesn't necessarily mean that you have prostate cancer. This can also be an indication that you have an enlarged benign prostate.

However, it is a good idea to speak to a doctor as soon as possible to investigate this further. You should do this even if your PSA is normal but, you still have symptoms of prostate cancer. That way, if it is cancer, you can start your prostate cancer treatment early.

Get Your Prostate Checked Today

When it comes to getting a prostate cancer test you shouldn't wait around. Ulta Lab Tests offer extremely accurate and reliable testing so that you can make informed decisions about your health.

Our service provides secure and confidential results, and you don't need insurance or a medical referral. We are committed to providing affordable testing (which includes the doctor's order) and delivering a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Order your PSA test today, and your results will be provided to you securely and confidentially online in 24 to 48 hours. Take charge of your health and track your PSA test progress with Ulta Lab Tests today.