Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Testing and health information

Do you think you might have a urinary tract infection?

Find out with UTI testing from Ulta Lab Tests to assess your urinary tract for infections.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are one of the most common infections in the United States, affecting millions of people each year. UTIs can be painful and uncomfortable, but they're also easy to treat with antibiotics. The only way to know for sure if you have a UTI is by getting tested. We offer fast, affordable testing so that you can get back to feeling better ASAP.

The UTI test is the most accurate way to find out if you have an infection in your urinary tract. It includes two different tests, one for a urinalysis and one for culture.

The urinalysis test comprises a group of physical, chemical, and microscopic tests on a urine sample. It is used to look for evidence of infection, such as bacteria and white blood cells. A urinalysis can also help diagnose kidney problems (such as glomerulonephritis) or diabetes mellitus. A urine culture test that looks for evidence of infection, such as bacteria and white blood cells. 

Suppose an individual has symptoms suggestive of a urinary tract infection (UTI). In that case, both urine cultures should be obtained before starting antibiotics because 10-20% of patients with a positive urine culture do not have symptoms consistent with a UTI, and up to 50% will no longer have detectable levels of bacteriuria after one week following treatment with antibiotics even though they still may feel ill from their illness.

If you want to learn more about UTI's and the lab tests that can help you, click on the title of the articles below.

Myths and Facts About UTI Tests

Take the hassle and expense out of getting lab tests with Ulta Lab Tests! We offer discounted lab tests online, with results in as little as 24 to 48 hours for most tests. Plus, there's no office fee or doctor's visit required – you can get your labs done local and fast at over 2,000 locations nationwide. With our secure and confidential results, you'll be able to track changes in your health over time with dynamic charting. And if you have an FSA or HSA card, we welcome them!

Order your UTI tests from the selection below today and take charge of your health!


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IMPORTANT – This panel contains Culture, Urine, Routine #395 which 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

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 Basic Metabolic Panel is a blood test used to screen for, diagnose, and monitor a variety of conditions and diseases such as diabetes and kidney disease.  

Also Known As: BMP, Chemistry Panel, Chemistry Screen, Chem 7, Chem 11, BMP Test, SMA 7, SMAC7, Basic Metabolic Test, Chem Test, Chem Panel Test 

Collection Method: Blood Draw 

Specimen Type: Serum 

Test Preparation: 9-12 hours fasting is preferred. 

When is a Basic Metabolic Panel test ordered?  

A BMP may be requested as part of a standard physical examination. 

The panel is frequently ordered in hospital emergency rooms because its components provide vital information regarding a person's renal state, electrolyte and acid/base balance, blood glucose, and calcium levels. Significant changes in these test results can suggest serious issues such as renal failure, insulin shock or diabetic coma, respiratory distress, or abnormalities in heart rhythm. 

What does a Basic Metabolic Panel blood test check for? 

The basic metabolic panel (BMP) is a 9-test panel that provides essential information to a health practitioner about a person's current metabolic status, including kidney health, blood glucose level, electrolyte and acid/base balance. Abnormal results, particularly when they are combined, can suggest a problem that needs to be addressed. 

The following tests are included in the BMP test: 

  • 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 also 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. 

  • 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. 

  • Sodium: this is a measure of Sodium in your blood. Sodium is an electrolyte that plays a vital role in nerve and muscle function. 

  • Urea Nitrogen (Bun): this is a measure of Urea Nitrogen in your blood, also known as Blood Urea Nitrogen (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 Basic Metabolic Panel test: 

  • Complete Blood Count with Differential and Platelets
  • Hemoglobin A1c
  • Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity
  • Lipid Panel
  • Insulin
  • Vitamin B12 and Folate
  • C-Reactive Protein

Conditions where a Basic Metabolic Panel test is recommended: 

  • Diabetes 
  • Kidney Disease 
  • Liver Disease 

Commonly Asked Questions: 

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

The basic metabolic panel (BMP) is used to evaluate a person's kidney function, electrolyte, acid/base balance, and blood glucose level, all of which are linked to their metabolism. It can also be used to keep track of hospitalized patients and persons with known illnesses like hypertension and hypokalemia. 

If a health practitioner wants to track two or more separate BMP components, the full BMP might be ordered because it contains more information. Alternatively, when monitoring, the healthcare provider may order specific tests, such as a follow-up glucose, potassium, or calcium test, or an electrolyte panel to track sodium, potassium, chloride, and CO2. If a doctor needs further information, he or she can request a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP), which is a collection of 21 tests that includes the BMP. 

What do my Basic Metabolic Panel results mean? 

The results of the tests included in the BMP are usually analyzed together to look for patterns. A single abnormal test result may indicate something different than a series of abnormal test findings. 

Out-of-range results on any of the BMP's tests can be caused by a number of things, including kidney failure, breathing issues, and diabetes-related consequences. 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? 

The results of the BMP components can be influenced by a range of prescription and over-the-counter medicines. Any medications you're taking should be disclosed to your healthcare professional. Similarly, it is critical to provide them with a thorough medical history because many other circumstances can influence how your results are interpreted. 

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. 


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.


Measurements are used in the diagnosis and treatment of numerous potentially serious disorders associated with changes in body acid-base balance.

Catecholamines, Fractionated and VMA, 24-Hour Urine without Creatinine

Catecholamines are a group of similar substances released into the blood in response to physical or emotional stress. The primary catecholamines are dopamine, epinephrine (adrenaline), and norepinephrine. Catecholamine testing measures the amounts of these hormones in the urine and/or blood. Urine testing is recommended over blood testing.

Patient Preparation

It is preferable for the patient to be off medications for three days prior to collection. However, common antihypertensives (diuretics, ACE inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, alpha and beta blockers) may cause minimal or no interference.
Patient should avoid tobacco, tea, coffee, and strenuous exercise for 8-12 hours prior to collection.



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Description: The chlamydia test is used to determine if a person has been infected with the sexually transmitted infection. It can be used to diagnose a person with chlamydia for treatment.

Also Known As: Chlamydia Trachomatis Test, Chlamydia STD Test

Collection Method: Urine Collection

Specimen Type: Urine

Test Preparation: The patient should not have urinated for at least one hour prior to specimen collection. Female patients should not cleanse the labial area prior to providing the specimen.

When is a Chlamydia test ordered?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, all sexually active women younger than 25 and sexually active women 25 and older who are at elevated risk should have a yearly chlamydia screening. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the US Preventive Services Task Force both urge routine screening for these women.

The CDC recommends that males who have intercourse with other men get tested for chlamydia at least once a year. For sexually active, heterosexual men with no symptoms, health organizations do not advocate routine screening. When there is a large number of cases of STDs in the community, for example, healthcare providers may prescribe screening to their patients.

When a person’s sexual partner has been diagnosed with chlamydia or when a person has signs and symptoms of the infection, chlamydia testing may be performed.

Women and men who have been treated for chlamydia should be tested again three months afterwards.

What does a Chlamydia Urine test check for?

Chlamydia is one of the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infections in the United States, and if left untreated, it can lead to serious consequences. Chlamydia testing determines whether the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis is to blame for an infection. In order to avoid long-term consequences and the spread of the infection to others, it’s critical to screen for, diagnose, and treat chlamydia.

Chlamydia infections are most common among people aged 15 to 24. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2.86 million Americans contract chlamydia each year, and women are commonly re-infected if their partners do not seek treatment. Because many people don’t have any symptoms and don’t get tested and identified, the true number of cases may be larger. Despite this, each year over one million new cases are reported.

Sexual contact with an infected partner is the most common way for chlamydia to spread. Multiple sex partners, coinfection or previous infection with another STD, and not wearing a condom appropriately and consistently are also risk factors.

Many people with chlamydia infections have no symptoms, while others may only have minor ones. Because the signs and symptoms of chlamydia are similar to those of another STD, gonorrhea, and can be misinterpreted, testing for both diseases are frequently performed at the same time.

Antibiotics are commonly used to treat chlamydia. It can cause serious reproductive and other health problems if not recognized and addressed.

In women, untreated chlamydia infections that originate on the cervix but progress to the fallopian tubes and ovaries can cause pelvic inflammatory disease.

Men who are not treated may become infertile in rare cases.

Lab tests often ordered with a Chlamydia test:

  • Gonorrhea
  • HIV Antibody
  • HIV Antigen
  • Syphilis
  • Herpes 1 and 2

Conditions where a Chlamydia test is recommended:

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • HIV
  • Herpes 1 and 2
  • Syphilis
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • Infertility
  • Vaginitis
  • Vaginosis

How does my health care provider use a Chlamydia test?

Chlamydia testing is used to detect, diagnose, and confirm that infections caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis have been successfully treated. Chlamydia is one of the most common bacterial sexually transmitted diseases in the United States, and if left untreated, it can lead to serious consequences. To avoid long-term consequences and the spread of the infection to others, it's critical to screen for, diagnose, and treat chlamydia.

Because the illnesses produced by these two bacteria might have similar signs and symptoms, testing for Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae is frequently done at the same time. Both of these bacteria can be acquired at the same time, and a person can get infected with both. Because the two infections require distinct antibiotic treatments, a clear diagnosis is critical. Testing should be done again to determine that the treatment was effective. After a person has completed therapy, this is done roughly three months later.

What do my Chlamydia test results mean?

A positive result indicates that you have an active chlamydia infection that requires antibiotic therapy.

A negative result simply means that no infection was present at the time of the test. It is critical for those who are at a higher risk of infection to have annual screening tests to check for infection, especially since re-infection is common, especially among teenagers.

If you're infected, your sexual partner(s) should get tested and treated as well.


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Description: The chlamydia and gonorrhea test is used to determine if a person has been infected with either of the sexually transmitted infections. It can be used to diagnose a person with chlamydia or gonorrhea for treatment.

Also Known As: Chlamydia Trachomatis Test, Chlamydia STD Test, GC Test, Neisseria Gonorrhoeae test, Gonorrhoeae test, gonorrhea and chlamydia test

Collection Method: Urine Collection

Specimen Type: Urine

Test Preparation: Urine specimens: The patient should not have urinated for at least one hour prior to specimen collection. Female patients should not cleanse the labial area prior to providing the specimen.

When is a Chlamydia and Gonorrhea test ordered?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, all sexually active women younger than 25 and sexually active women 25 and older who are at elevated risk should have a yearly chlamydia and gonorrhea screening. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the US Preventive Services Task Force both urge routine screening for these women.

The CDC recommends that males who have intercourse with other men get tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia at least once a year. For sexually active, heterosexual men with no symptoms, health organizations do not advocate routine screening. When there is a large number of cases of STDs in the community, for example, healthcare providers may prescribe screening to their patients.

When a person’s sexual partner has been diagnosed with gonorrhea or chlamydia or when a person has signs and symptoms of the infection, chlamydia testing may be performed.

Women and men who have been treated for chlamydia should be tested again three months afterwards.

What does a Chlamydia and Gonorrhea urine test check for?

Chlamydia is one of the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infections in the United States, and if left untreated, it can lead to serious consequences. Chlamydia testing determines whether the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis is to blame for an infection. In order to avoid long-term consequences and the spread of the infection to others, it’s critical to screen for, diagnose, and treat chlamydia.

Chlamydia infections are most common among people aged 15 to 24. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2.86 million Americans contract chlamydia each year, and women are commonly re-infected if their partners do not seek treatment. Because many people don’t have any symptoms and don’t get tested and identified, the true number of cases may be larger. Despite this, each year over one million new cases are reported.

Sexual contact with an infected partner is the most common way for chlamydia to spread. Multiple sex partners, coinfection or previous infection with another STD, and not wearing a condom appropriately and consistently are also risk factors.

Many people with chlamydia infections have no symptoms, while others may only have minor ones. Because the signs and symptoms of chlamydia are similar to those of another STD, gonorrhea, and can be misinterpreted, testing for both diseases are frequently performed at the same time.

Antibiotics are commonly used to treat chlamydia. It can cause serious reproductive and other health problems if not recognized and addressed.

In women, untreated chlamydia infections that originate on the cervix but progress to the fallopian tubes and ovaries can cause pelvic inflammatory disease.

Men who are not treated may become infertile in rare cases.

If not diagnosed and treated, gonorrhea is a common bacterial sexually transmitted illness that can lead to serious consequences. Gonorrhea testing determines whether a person's infection is caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The importance of gonorrhea screening, diagnosis, and treatment in reducing long-term consequences and the spread of the infection to others cannot be overstated.

More than 820,000 people in the United States contract new gonorrheal infections each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but only about half of these infections are reported to the CDC. In the United States, sexually active teenagers, young adults, and African Americans have the highest reported rates of infection.

Sexual contact with an infected partner is the most common way for gonorrhea to spread. Multiple sex partners, coinfection or previous infection with another STD, and not wearing a condom appropriately and consistently are also risk factors.

While some males with gonorrhea will experience symptoms, the majority of women will not or will confuse gonorrhea symptoms with those of a bladder or other vaginal illness. Symptoms in men usually emerge 2 to 5 days after infection, but they can take up to 30 days. Symptoms usually appear within 10 days of infection for women. Because the signs and symptoms of gonorrhea are similar to those of another STD, chlamydia, and can be misinterpreted, testing for both diseases are sometimes performed at the same time.

Antibiotics are generally prescribed to treat gonorrhea. Gonorrhea can have catastrophic consequences if it is not recognized and treated.

Untreated gonorrhea infections in women can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, which can develop days to months after infection and cause consequences.

Untreated gonorrhea can spread to the blood or joints, leading to disseminated gonococcal infection, a dangerous illness. Fever, numerous skin lesions, severe joint swelling, inflammation of the membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord, and infection of the inner lining of the heart are all signs of DGI. In infants born to infected moms, DGI symptoms include arthritis, meningitis, and sepsis, a serious, life-threatening illness.

Antibiotics identical to those used to treat simple gonorrhea might be used to successfully treat DGI. Treatment-resistant gonorrhea, on the other hand, is becoming more common. To treat all uncomplicated gonococcal infections in adults and adolescents in the United States, CDC guidelines presently recommend dual therapy with ceftriaxone and azithromycin. If a patient's symptoms do not improve following therapy, a healthcare provider may need to do additional tests, including susceptibility testing.

Lab tests often ordered with a Chlamydia and Gonorrhea test:

  • HIV Antibody
  • HIV Antigen
  • Syphilis
  • Herpes 1 and 2

Conditions where a Chlamydia and Gonorrhea test is recommended:

  • Gonorrhea
  • HIV
  • Herpes 1 and 2
  • Syphilis
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • Infertility
  • Vaginitis
  • Vaginosis

How does my health care provider use a Chlamydia and Gonorrhea test?

Chlamydia and gonorrhea testing is used to detect, diagnose, and confirm that infections caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis have been successfully treated. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are two of the most common bacterial sexually transmitted diseases in the United States, and if left untreated, it can lead to serious consequences. To avoid long-term consequences and the spread of the infections to others, it's critical to screen for, diagnose, and treat chlamydia.

Because the illnesses produced by these two bacteria might have similar signs and symptoms, testing for Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae is frequently done at the same time. Both of these bacteria can be acquired at the same time, and a person can get infected with both. Because the two infections require distinct antibiotic treatments, a clear diagnosis is critical. Testing should be done again to determine that the treatment was effective. After a person has completed therapy, this is done roughly three months later.

What do my chlamydia and gonorrhea test results mean?

A positive result indicates that you have an active infection that requires antibiotic therapy.

A negative result simply means that no infection was present at the time of the test. It is critical for those who are at a higher risk of infection to have annual screening tests to check for infection, especially since re-infection is common, especially among teenagers.

If you're infected, your sexual partner(s) should get tested and treated as well.

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


Serum chloride is the major extracellular anion and counter-balances the major cation, sodium, maintaining electrical neutrality of the body fluids. Two thirds of the total anion concentration in extracellular fluids is chloride and it is significantly involved in maintaining proper hydration and osmotic pressure. Movement of chloride ions across the red blood cell membrane is essential for the transport of biocarbonate ions in response to changing concentrations of carbon dioxide. Chloride measurements are used in the diagnosis and treatment of electrolyte and metabolic disorders such as cystic fibrosis and diabetic acidosis.

Description: A CBC or Complete Blood Count with Differential and Platelets test is a blood test that measures many important features of your blood’s red and white blood cells and platelets. A Complete Blood Count can be used to evaluate your overall health and detect a wide variety of conditions such as infection, anemia, and leukemia. It also looks at other important aspects of your blood health such as hemoglobin, which carries oxygen. 

Also Known As: CBC test, Complete Blood Count Test, Total Blood Count Test, CBC with Differential and Platelets test, Hemogram test  

Collection Method: Blood Draw 

Specimen Type: Whole Blood 

Test Preparation: No preparation required 

When is a Complete Blood Count test ordered?  

The complete blood count (CBC) is an extremely common test. When people go to the doctor for a standard checkup or blood work, they often get a CBC. Suppose a person is healthy and their results are within normal ranges. In that case, they may not need another CBC unless their health condition changes, or their healthcare professional believes it is necessary. 

When a person exhibits a variety of signs and symptoms that could be connected to blood cell abnormalities, a CBC may be done. A health practitioner may request a CBC to help diagnose and determine the severity of lethargy or weakness, as well as infection, inflammation, bruises, or bleeding. 

When a person is diagnosed with a disease that affects blood cells, a CBC is frequently done regularly to keep track of their progress. Similarly, if someone is being treated for a blood condition, a CBC may be performed on a regular basis to see if the treatment is working. 

Chemotherapy, for example, can influence the generation of cells in the bone marrow. Some drugs can lower WBC counts in the long run. To monitor various medication regimens, a CBC may be required on a regular basis. 

What does a Complete Blood Count test check for? 

The complete blood count (CBC) is a blood test that determines the number of cells in circulation. White blood cells (WBCs), red blood cells (RBCs), and platelets (PLTs) are three types of cells suspended in a fluid called plasma. They are largely created and matured in the bone marrow and are released into the bloodstream when needed under normal circumstances. 

A CBC is mainly performed with an automated machine that measures a variety of factors, including the number of cells present in a person's blood sample. The findings of a CBC can reveal not only the quantity of different cell types but also the physical properties of some of the cells. 

Significant differences in one or more blood cell populations may suggest the presence of one or more diseases. Other tests are frequently performed to assist in determining the reason for aberrant results. This frequently necessitates visual confirmation via a microscope examination of a blood smear. A skilled laboratory technician can assess the appearance and physical features of blood cells, such as size, shape, and color, and note any anomalies. Any extra information is taken note of and communicated to the healthcare provider. This information provides the health care provider with further information about the cause of abnormal CBC results. 

The CBC focuses on three different types of cells: 

WBCs (White Blood Cells) 

The body uses five different types of WBCs, also known as leukocytes, to keep itself healthy and battle infections and other types of harm. The five different leukocytes are eosinophiles, lymphocytes, neutrophiles, basophils, and monocytes. They are found in relatively steady numbers in the blood. Depending on what is going on in the body, these values may momentarily rise or fall. An infection, for example, can cause the body to manufacture more neutrophils in order to combat bacterial infection. The amount of eosinophils in the body may increase as a result of allergies. A viral infection may cause an increase in lymphocyte production. Abnormal (immature or mature) white cells multiply fast in certain illness situations, such as leukemia, raising the WBC count. 

RBCs (Red Blood Cells) 

The bone marrow produces red blood cells, also known as erythrocytes, which are transferred into the bloodstream after maturing. Hemoglobin, a protein that distributes oxygen throughout the body, is found in these cells. Because RBCs have a 120-day lifespan, the bone marrow must constantly manufacture new RBCs to replace those that have aged and disintegrated or have been lost due to hemorrhage. A variety of diseases, including those that cause severe bleeding, can alter the creation of new RBCs and their longevity. 

The CBC measures the number of RBCs and hemoglobin in the blood, as well as the proportion of RBCs in the blood (hematocrit), and if the RBC population appears to be normal. RBCs are generally homogeneous in size and shape, with only minor differences; however, considerable variances can arise in illnesses including vitamin B12 and folate inadequacy, iron deficiency, and a range of other ailments. Anemia occurs when the concentration of red blood cells and/or the amount of hemoglobin in the blood falls below normal, resulting in symptoms such as weariness and weakness. In a far smaller percentage of cases, there may be an excess of RBCs in the blood (erythrocytosis or polycythemia). This might obstruct the flow of blood through the tiny veins and arteries in extreme circumstances. 

Platelets 

Platelets, also known as thrombocytes, are small cell fragments that aid in the regular clotting of blood. A person with insufficient platelets is more likely to experience excessive bleeding and bruises. Excess platelets can induce excessive clotting or excessive bleeding if the platelets are not operating properly. The platelet count and size are determined by the CBC. 

Lab tests often ordered with a Complete Blood Count test: 

  • Reticulocytes
  • Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity
  • Basic Metabolic Panel
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
  • Lipid Panel
  • Vitamin B12 and Folate
  • Prothrombin with INR and Partial Thromboplastin Times
  • Sed Rate (ESR)
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Epstein-Barr Virus
  • Von Willebrand Factor Antigen

Conditions where a Complete Blood Count test is recommended: 

  • Anemia
  • Aplastic Anemia
  • Iron Deficiency Anemia
  • Vitamin B12 and Folate Deficiency
  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Heart Disease
  • Thalassemia
  • Leukemia
  • Autoimmune Disorders
  • Cancer
  • Bleeding Disorders
  • Inflammation
  • Epstein-Barr Virus
  • Mononucleosis

Commonly Asked Questions: 

How does my health care provider use a Complete Blood Count test? 

The complete blood count (CBC) is a common, comprehensive screening test used to measure a person's overall health status.  

What do my Complete Blood Count results mean? 

A low Red Blood Cell Count, also known as anemia, could be due many different causes such as chronic bleeding, a bone marrow disorder, and nutritional deficiency just to name a few. A high Red Blood Cell Count, also known as polycythemia, could be due to several conditions including lung disease, dehydration, and smoking. Both Hemoglobin and Hematocrit tend to reflect Red Blood Cell Count results, so if your Red Blood Cell Count is low, your Hematocrit and Hemoglobin will likely also be low. Results should be discussed with your health care provider who can provide interpretation of your results and determine the appropriate next steps or lab tests to further investigate your health. 

What do my Differential results mean? 

A low White Blood Cell count or low WBC count, also known as leukopenia, could be due to a number of different disorders including autoimmune issues, severe infection, and lymphoma. A high White Blood Cell count, or high WBC count, also known as leukocytosis, can also be due to many different disorders including infection, leukemia, and inflammation. Abnormal levels in your White Blood Cell Count will be reflected in one or more of your different white blood cells. Knowing which white blood cell types are affected will help your healthcare provider narrow down the issue. Results should be discussed with your health care provider who can provide interpretation of your results and determine the appropriate next steps or lab tests to further investigate your health. 

What do my Platelet results mean? 

A low Platelet Count, also known as thrombocytopenia, could be due to a number of different disorders including autoimmune issues, viral infection, and leukemia. A high Platelet Count, also known as Thrombocytosis, can also be due to many different disorders including cancer, iron deficiency, and rheumatoid arthritis. Results should be discussed with your health care provider who can provide interpretation of your results and determine the appropriate next steps or lab tests to further investigate your health. 

NOTE: Only measurable biomarkers will be reported. Certain biomarkers do not appear in healthy individuals. 

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

Reflex Parameters for Manual Slide Review
  Less than  Greater Than 
WBC  1.5 x 10^3  30.0 x 10^3 
Hemoglobin  7.0 g/dL  19.0 g/dL 
Hematocrit  None  75%
Platelet  100 x 10^3  800 x 10^3 
MCV  70 fL  115 fL 
MCH  22 pg  37 pg 
MCHC  29 g/dL  36.5 g/dL 
RBC  None  8.00 x 10^6 
RDW  None  21.5
Relative Neutrophil %  1% or ABNC <500  None 
Relative Lymphocyte %  1% 70%
Relative Monocyte %  None  25%
Eosinophil  None  35%
Basophil  None  3.50%
     
Platelet  <75 with no flags,
>100 and <130 with platelet clump flag present,
>1000 
Instrument Flags Variant lymphs, blasts,
immature neutrophils,  nRBC’s, abnormal platelets,
giant platelets, potential interference
     
The automated differential averages 6000+ cells. If none of the above parameters are met, the results are released without manual review.
CBC Reflex Pathway

Step 1 - The slide review is performed by qualified Laboratory staff and includes:

  • Confirmation of differential percentages
  • WBC and platelet estimates, when needed
  • Full review of RBC morphology
  • Comments for toxic changes, RBC inclusions, abnormal lymphs, and other
  • significant findings
  • If the differential percentages agree with the automated counts and no abnormal cells are seen, the automated differential is reported with appropriate comments

Step 2 - The slide review is performed by qualified Laboratory staff and includes: If any of the following are seen on the slide review, Laboratory staff will perform a manual differential:

  • Immature, abnormal, or toxic cells
  • nRBC’s
  • Disagreement with automated differential
  • Atypical/abnormal RBC morphology
  • Any RBC inclusions

Step 3 If any of the following are seen on the manual differential, a Pathologist will review the slide:

  • WBC<1,500 with abnormal cells noted
  • Blasts/immature cells, hairy cell lymphs, or megakaryocytes
  • New abnormal lymphocytes or monocytes
  • Variant or atypical lymphs >15%
  • Blood parasites
  • RBC morphology with 3+ spherocytes, RBC inclusions, suspect Hgb-C,
  • crystals, Pappenheimer bodies or bizarre morphology
  • nRBC’s

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.


Description: A blood culture test is a blood used to identify illness causing bacteria and fungus in a patients blood.

Also Known As: Blood Culture Test, Blood Fungus Test, Blood Bacteria Test, Bacterial Blood Test, Fungal Blood Test, Blood Fungi Test, Sepsis Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Whole Blood

Test Preparation: No preparation required

Important: Aerobic culture, anaerobic culture. If culture is positive, identification will be performed at an additional charge (CPT code(s): 87076 or 87106 or 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).

When is a Blood Culture test ordered?

When a patient exhibits sepsis symptoms, which show that bacteria, fungus, or their toxic byproducts are harming the body, a healthcare professional may order blood cultures.

Drawing blood cultures might be suitable when symptoms are present in patients who are at a higher risk of developing a systemic infection due to previous infections, surgeries, prosthetic heart valve replacements, or immunosuppressive medication. Blood cultures are taken more frequently from babies and young children since they may have an infection but not always display the classic sepsis symptoms.

What does a Blood Culture test check for?

Blood cultures are techniques used to find the source of an illness in the blood and detect it. Although viruses, yeasts, and other fungi as well as bacteria can potentially cause bloodstream infections, they are less prevalent. This article concentrates on the use of blood cultures to find and identify bacteria and fungus in the blood, though blood can also be used to test for viruses.

When a person has a serious infection and/or the immune system is unable to contain it at its source, a blood infection often develops from another specific spot within the body. For instance, a urinary tract infection may spread from the bladder and/or kidneys into the circulation, travel throughout the body, infect other organs, and result in a serious and occasionally fatal systemic infection. Sometimes, the terms septicemia and sepsis are used synonymously to refer to this condition. While sepsis is the body's acute, overpowering, and occasionally lethal response to infection, septicemia refers to an infection of the blood. This ailment frequently need for quick and vigorous care, usually in a hospital's critical care unit.

The infection of the blood can lead to more severe consequences. A bloodstream infection may lead to endocarditis, an inflammation and infection of the heart's lining and/or heart valves. Although these infections are uncommon, patients with artificial heart valves or joints are more likely to develop systemic infections after surgery.

Blood infections are more common in people whose immune systems are compromised by underlying illnesses like leukemia or HIV/AIDS or by immunosuppressive medications used in chemotherapy. These people are more likely to contract blood infections because their immune systems are less able to destroy the microorganisms that occasionally enter the blood. Through the use of intravenous drugs, intravenous catheters, or surgical drains, bacteria and yeasts can also enter the circulation directly.

Before they are declared as negative, blood cultures are cultured for a number of days. If originally present in low numbers, some species of bacteria and fungi may develop more slowly than others and/or take longer to be discovered.

A blood culture that is positive identifies the exact bacteria that is infecting the patient, and susceptibility testing is done to determine which drugs are most likely to be helpful in treating the illness.

The blood culture testing procedure is automated, and devices continuously check the samples for bacterial or fungal development. This enables prompt results reporting and enables the medical professional to target antimicrobial medication specifically at the particular bacteria found in the blood. While awaiting the results of a blood culture, broad-spectrum antimicrobials are typically administered intravenously because therapy must be started as soon as feasible in situations of sepsis. Once the bacteria responsible for the infection is discovered, antimicrobial medication may be switched out for a more focused antibiotic therapy.

Lab Tests often ordered with a Blood Culture test:

  • Complete Blood Count (CBC)
  • Urine Culture
  • Susceptibility Testing

Conditions where a Blood Culture test is recommended:

  • Urinary Tract Infection
  • Skin Infection
  • Meningitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Encephalitis
  • Sepsis
  • Fungal Infection
  • Staph Infection
  • Septic Arthritis
  • Food and Waterborne Illness

How is this test used by my health care provider?

Blood cultures are used to determine the type of bacteria or fungi present, detect their presence in the blood, and direct treatment. A blood infection that can cause sepsis, a dangerous and potentially fatal consequence, is detected by testing. Testing is frequently carried out in a hospital setting because patients with suspected blood infections are frequently treated in intensive care units.

This article concentrates on the use of blood cultures to identify and detect bacteria and fungus, while blood samples may be used to detect viruses as well.

Additional related tests that might be carried out include:

Gram stain, a fast test for determining the sort of bacteria in question,

Testing for susceptibility identifies the medication that might be most successful at treating the infection.

The blood culture is frequently followed by a request for a complete blood count to see if the patient has an elevated white blood cell count, a sign of a possible infection. Sometimes additional testing is carried out, such as a chemistry panel to assess an individual's organ condition or a urine culture to assist in determining the origin of the initial illness. This is especially true if a person exhibits signs of a meningitis, pneumonia, or urinary tract infection.

What do my Blood Culture test results mean?

The presence of the same bacteria or fungi in two or more blood cultures indicates that the person being examined most likely has a blood infection with that microbe. The exact bacteria or fungi that are causing the infection are usually identified in the results.

Blood infections are dangerous conditions that require prompt treatment, frequently in a hospital. Sepsis is a complication that poses a serious risk to life, particularly in those with compromised immune systems. While awaiting the results of the blood culture or susceptibility testing, medical professionals who suspect sepsis may start patients on intravenous broad spectrum antibiotics that are efficient against a variety of bacteria. A more targeted antimicrobial agent for the bacteria or fungi found in the blood cultures may be used as treatment once the results are available.

A skin contaminant or infection may be present if one blood culture set is positive and the other is negative. Before making a diagnosis, the medical professional will take into account the patient's clinical condition and the type of bacteria or fungi discovered. In this instance, more testing might also be necessary.

After several days, blood culture sets that are negative indicate that there is a low likelihood that the patient has a blood illness brought on by bacteria or fungi. Additional testing, however, might be necessary if symptoms linger, including a fever that won't go away. Symptoms may persist despite negative blood culture results for a number of reasons, including

It may be necessary to perform additional blood cultures using specialized nutrient media in order to attempt and grow and identify the pathogen because some microorganisms are more difficult to grow in culture.

Blood culture bottles made to grow bacteria cannot be used to detect viruses. Additional laboratory testing would need to be carried out if the medical professional believes that the patient's symptoms could be due to a viral infection. Depending on the patient's clinical symptoms and the type of virus the doctor believes is the cause of the illness, certain tests may be prescribed.

Even though blood cultures are negative, sepsis may still be present based on the results of further tests that may be performed in conjunction with blood cultures. Some of them could be:

  • thorough blood count. An infection may be indicated by an elevated white blood cell count.
  • Complement. The concentration of C3 can rise.
  • An infection source that may have moved to the blood may be identified by a positive urine or sputum culture.

An examination of the CSF could point to the infection's origin.

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


Description: The electrolyte panel test is a blood test that measures levels of electrolytes in the blood’s serum.

Also Known As: Lytes Panel, Anion Gap Panel, Electrolyte Test, Lytes Test, Anion Gap Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is an Electrolyte Panel test ordered?

An electrolyte panel may be requested as part of a regular screening or as a diagnostic tool when an individual symptoms, such as:

  • Accumulation of fluid
  • Weakness Nausea or vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Heartbeat irregularity

It is usually requested as part of an examination when a person has an acute or chronic illness, as well as at regular intervals when a person has a disease or condition, or is receiving medication that can induce an electrolyte imbalance. Electrolyte tests are frequently requested at regular intervals to evaluate the therapy of disorders such as high blood pressure, heart failure, lung ailments, and liver and kidney disease.

What does an Electrolyte Panel test check for?

Electrolytes are minerals that are found as dissolved salts in bodily tissues and blood. Electrolytes help transfer nutrients into and waste out of the body's cells, maintain a healthy water balance, and control the body's acid/base level as electrically charged particles.

The electrolyte panel determines the concentrations of sodium, potassium, chloride, and bicarbonate in the blood.

Sodium, potassium, and chloride are all found in a person's diet. By reabsorption or disposal into the urine, the kidneys assist in maintaining correct levels. The lungs regulate CO2 and provide oxygen. The body produces CO2, which is balanced with bicarbonate. The total balance of these substances is a sign of how well various essential biological functions are working. They play a role in a variety of biological activities, including cardiac and skeletal muscle contraction, as well as nerve impulse conduction.

A fluid, electrolyte, or pH imbalance can be caused by any disease or condition that changes the volume of fluid in the body, such as dehydration, or affects the lungs, kidneys, metabolism, or respiration. To ensure the appropriate functioning of metabolic processes and the supply of the right quantity of oxygen to tissues, normal pH must be maintained within a limited range of 7.35-7.45 and electrolytes must be in balance.

The anion gap, which is a value calculated from the results of an electrolyte panel, is a related "test." It indicates the difference in charge between positively and negatively charged ions. Although an aberrant anion gap is non-specific, it can indicate the presence of hazardous chemicals or metabolic or respiratory problems.

Lab tests often ordered with an Electrolyte Panel test:

  • Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP)
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)
  • Creatinine
  • Glucose

Conditions where an Electrolyte Panel test is recommended:

  • Acidosis
  • Alkalosis
  • Kidney Disease
  • Hypertension
  • Dehydration
  • Congestive Heart Failure

How does my health care provider use an Electrolyte Panel test?

An electrolyte, fluid, or pH imbalance is detected using the electrolyte panel. It's commonly ordered as part of a normal physical examination. It is available as a standalone test or as part of a basic or comprehensive metabolic panel. Other tests like as BUN, creatinine, and glucose may be included in these panels.

Electrolyte measures can be used to assess illnesses including dehydration, kidney disease, lung disease, or heart disease that induce electrolyte imbalances. Repeat testing can then be performed to track the progress of treatment for the ailment that caused the imbalance.

Because electrolyte and acid-base imbalances can occur in a wide range of acute and chronic disorders, the electrolyte panel is commonly used to assess patients in both the emergency room and the hospital.

The electrolyte panel includes tests for the following electrolytes:

  • Sodium—the majority of sodium in the body is located in extracellular fluid, which is situated outside of cells and helps to regulate the quantity of water in the body.
  • Potassium is an electrolyte that is mostly present inside the body's cells. The plasma, or liquid portion of the blood, contains a modest but vital amount of potassium. Potassium levels must be monitored since even modest variations might alter the heart's rhythm and ability to contract.
  • Chloride—this electrolyte travels in and out of cells to assist maintain electrical neutrality, and its level is usually the same as sodium's.
  • Bicarbonate—the primary function of bicarbonate, which is produced and reabsorbed by the kidneys, is to maintain a constant pH level and, secondarily, to maintain electrical neutrality.

An anion gap calculation may be included in the electrolyte panel data.

If a person has an electrolyte imbalance, such as sodium or potassium, the health practitioner may prescribe additional testing of that specific electrolyte, as well as monitoring the imbalance until it resolves. If someone has an acid-base imbalance, a health care provider may prescribe blood gas tests, which measure the pH, oxygen, and carbon dioxide levels in an arterial blood sample to assist assess the severity of the problem and track its progress.

What do my electrolyte panel test results mean?

Several disorders and diseases can induce high or low electrolyte levels. They are often influenced by the amount of food taken and absorbed by the body, the amount of water in the body, and the amount excreted by the kidneys. They are also influenced by hormones like aldosterone, which conserves sodium while promoting potassium disposal, and natriuretic peptides, which stimulate sodium excretion via the kidneys.

People with malfunctioning kidneys, for example, may retain an excessive amount of water in their bodies. This has the effect of diluting sodium and chloride, lowering their quantities below normal. People who have lost a lot of fluid, on the other hand, may have higher potassium, sodium, and chloride levels. Some diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes, can disrupt the body's fluid and electrolyte balance, resulting in abnormal electrolyte levels.

Knowing which electrolytes are out of balance can assist a health care provider in determining the underlying cause and making treatment recommendations to restore appropriate balance. An electrolyte imbalance, if left untreated, can cause dizziness, cramping, irregular heartbeat, and even death.

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


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Description: The gonorrhea urine test is used to determine if a person has been infected with the sexually transmitted infection. It can be used to diagnose a gonorrhea infection for treatment.

Also Known As: GC Test, Neisseria Gonorrhoeae test, Gonorrhoeae test

Collection Method: Urine Collection

Specimen Type: Urine

Test Preparation: The patient should not have urinated for at least one hour prior to specimen collection. Female patients should not cleanse the labial area prior to providing the specimen.

2 mL urine using APTIMA® Urine Specimen Collection Kit.

Alternative Specimen(s) 

Urine (no preservatives): 2 mL of urine, specimen must be transferred into the APTIMA® Urine Transport Medium within 24 hours of collection and before being assayed • ThinPrep® vial • SurePath™ vial

Urine: Patient should not have urinated within one hour prior to collection. Female patients should not cleanse the labial area prior to providing the specimen. Direct patient to provide a first-catch urine (a maximum of 20-30 mL of the initial urine stream) into a urine collection cup free of any preservatives. 2 mL of urine specimen must be transferred into the APTIMA® specimen transport within 24 hours of collection and before being assayed. Use tube provided in the urine specimen collection kit for urine specimens. The fluid (urine plus transport media) level in the urine tube must fall within the clear pane on the tube label.

Transport Container: APTIMA® Transport tube

When is a Gonorrhea test ordered?

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, all sexually active women under the age of 25 and sexually active women beyond the age of 25 who are at elevated risk should have a yearly gonorrhea screening. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the US Preventive Services Task Force both urge routine screening for these women.

Men who have intercourse with other men should get gonorrhea screening at least once a year, according to the CDC. Routine screening for sexually active, heterosexual guys is not recommended by health organizations. When there is a large number of cases of STDs in the community, for example, healthcare providers may prescribe screening to their patients.

When a person's sexual partner has been diagnosed with gonorrhea, or if the individual shows signs and symptoms of the infection, gonorrhea testing may be recommended.

Three months following gonorrhea therapy, women and men should be tested again.

What does a Gonorrhea Urine test check for?

If not diagnosed and treated, gonorrhea is a common bacterial sexually transmitted illness that can lead to serious consequences. Gonorrhea testing determines whether a person's infection is caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The importance of gonorrhea screening, diagnosis, and treatment in reducing long-term consequences and the spread of the infection to others cannot be overstated.

More than 820,000 people in the United States contract new gonorrheal infections each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but only about half of these infections are reported to the CDC. In the United States, sexually active teenagers, young adults, and African Americans have the highest reported rates of infection.

Sexual contact (oral, vaginal, or anal) with an infected partner is the most common way for gonorrhea to spread. Multiple sex partners, coinfection or previous infection with another STD, and not wearing a condom appropriately and consistently are also risk factors.

While some males with gonorrhea will experience symptoms, the majority of women will not or will confuse gonorrhea symptoms with those of a bladder or other vaginal illness. Symptoms in men usually emerge 2 to 5 days after infection, but they can take up to 30 days. Symptoms usually appear within 10 days of infection for women. Because the signs and symptoms of gonorrhea are similar to those of another STD, chlamydia, and can be misinterpreted, testing for both diseases are sometimes performed at the same time.

Antibiotics are generally prescribed to treat gonorrhea. Gonorrhea can have catastrophic consequences if it is not recognized and treated.

Untreated gonorrhea infections in women can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can develop days to months after infection and cause consequences.

Untreated gonorrhea can spread to the blood (septicemia) or joints, leading to disseminated gonococcal infection, a dangerous illness. Fever, numerous skin lesions, severe joint swelling, infection of the inner lining of the heart, and inflammation of the membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord are all signs of DGI. In infants born to infected moms, DGI symptoms include arthritis, meningitis, and sepsis, a serious, life-threatening illness.

Antibiotics identical to those used to treat simple gonorrhea might be used to successfully treat DGI. Treatment-resistant gonorrhea, on the other hand, is becoming more common. To treat all uncomplicated gonococcal infections in adults and adolescents in the United States, CDC guidelines presently recommend dual therapy with ceftriaxone and azithromycin. If a patient's symptoms do not improve following therapy, a healthcare provider may need to do additional tests, including susceptibility testing.

Lab tests often ordered with a Gonorrhea test:

  • Chlamydia
  • HIV Antibody
  • HIV Antigen
  • Syphilis
  • Herpes 1 and 2

Conditions where a Gonorrhea test is recommended:

  • Gonorrhea
  • Chlamydia
  • HIV
  • Syphilis
  • Herpes 1 and 2
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • Vaginitis
  • Vaginosis

How does my health care provider use a Gonorrhea test?

Gonorrhea testing is used to detect, diagnose, and confirm that infections caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae have been successfully treated. In the United States, gonorrhea is a prevalent sexually transmitted disease that, if left untreated, can lead to serious problems. To avoid long-term problems and the spread of the disease to others, it's critical to screen for, diagnose, and treat gonorrhea.

Because the signs and symptoms of gonorrhea might be similar to those of chlamydia, a clear diagnosis is necessary because the two illnesses require separate antibiotic treatments. Because the two conditions have similar symptoms, healthcare providers frequently test for both Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis, the bacteria that causes chlamydia. Testing should be done again to determine that the treatment was effective. After a person has completed therapy, this is done roughly three months later.

What do my Gonorrhea test results mean?

A positive result indicates that you have an active gonorrhea infection that requires antibiotic therapy.

A negative result simply means that no infection was present at the time of the test. It is critical for persons who are at a higher risk of infection to have annual screening tests performed to check for infection.

If you are infected, your sexual partner(s) should get tested and treated as well.

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


Description: A Lactate Dehydrogenase or LD test is a blood test that measure the level of the enzyme Lactate Dehydrogenase in your blood’s serum and can be used to detect a wide variety of disorders including liver disease, kidney disease, infections, and pancreatitis.

Also Known As: LD Test, LDH Test, Lactic Acid Dehydrogenase Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Lactate Dehydrogenase test ordered?

When a health practitioner feels that a disease or condition is causing cellular or tissue damage, an LD level, coupled with other tests such as a comprehensive metabolic panel, may be requested. More specific tests, such as alanine transaminase, aspartate aminotransferase, or alkaline phosphatase, may be used to identify the illness and pinpoint which organs are affected if LD is increased. Total LD levels may be ordered at regular intervals to monitor the course and/or resolution of the acute or chronic issue once it has been diagnosed.

When a person has had muscle damage or injury, or when they have signs and symptoms of hemolytic anemia, LD levels may be ordered.

When a person has been diagnosed with cancer, LD testing may be performed on a regular basis.

When a person exhibits signs and symptoms of meningitis, or when there is an accumulation of fluid around the heart, lungs, or abdomen, this test may be recommended.

What does a Lactate Dehydrogenase blood test check for?

Lactate dehydrogenase is an energy-producing enzyme found in nearly all of the body's cells, with the highest concentrations in the heart, liver, muscles, kidneys, lungs, and blood cells; bacteria also produce LD. This test determines the amount of LD in the blood or other bodily fluids.

In the fluid component of the blood, just a little quantity of LD is normally measurable. When cells are injured or destroyed, LD is released into the bloodstream. As a result, an LD blood level is a non-specific indicator of tissue damage elsewhere in the body. It cannot be used to determine the underlying cause or location of cellular damage on its own. It can, however, be used in conjunction with other blood tests to assist diagnose and/or monitor disorders that cause tissue damage, such as liver or blood diseases, or cancer.

Fluid can accumulate or the components of the fluid present can change when there is damage, inflammation, or infection in a specific area of the body, such as the brain, heart, or lungs. The amount of LD in the fluid could help you figure out what's wrong. When a person has bacterial meningitis, for example, LD levels in the cerebrospinal fluid are usually high. The LD test, in combination with other tests, can be used to detect whether fluid buildup around the heart, lungs, or abdominal cavity is caused by injury or inflammation or by an imbalance of fluid pressure inside blood vessels and blood protein levels. Some fluids that can be analyzed using an LD test are listed in the article on Body Fluid Analysis.

Lab tests often ordered with a Lactate Dehydrogenase test:

  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
  • Haptoglobin
  • Hepatic Function Panel

Conditions where a Lactate Dehydrogenase test is recommended:

  • Liver Disease
  • Kidney Disease
  • Lung Diseases
  • Heart Disease
  • Heart Attack
  • Anemia
  • Meningitis
  • Pancreatic Diseases
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Lymphoma
  • Leukemia

How does my health care provider use a Lactate Dehydrogenase test?

A lactate dehydrogenase test is a non-specific test that can be used to diagnose a variety of diseases and disorders. When cells are injured or destroyed, LD, an enzyme found in practically all of the body's cells, is released from the cells into the fluid portion of blood. As a result, the presence of LD in the blood is a general sign of tissue and cellular damage. In the presence of certain disorders, the amount of LD may also grow in other types of body fluids.

A blood test for LD may be used:

  • As a broad measure of whether or not acute or chronic tissue injury exists and how severe it is
  • To diagnose and track the progression of illnesses such as anemia and severe infections.
  • To aid in the staging, prognosis, and/or monitoring of cancers such as germ cell tumors, lymphoma, leukemia, melanoma, and neuroblastoma, as well as lymphoma, leukemia, melanoma, and neuroblastoma.

Body fluids are subjected to an LD test for a variety of reasons:

  • To aid in the evaluation of cerebrospinal fluid and the differentiation between bacterial and viral meningitis
  • To identify whether the build up of fluid is related to an injury and inflammation or to an imbalance of pressure within blood vessels and the amount of protein in the blood by evaluating other body fluids such as peritoneal, pleural, or pericardial fluid. This information is useful in determining therapy options.

Other fluids that can be tested using an LD test are included in the article on Body Fluid Analysis.

What do my lactate dehydrogenase test results mean?

LD values that are elevated usually indicate tissue damage. As cellular death begins, LD levels normally climb, peak after a period of time, and then begin to diminish. LD levels are raised in a number of situations, indicating that it has a wide tissue distribution.

Elevated LD levels may be seen with:

  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Pernicious anemia 
  • Infectious mononucleosis
  • Meningitis
  • Encephalitis
  • HIV
  • Sepsis
  • Intestinal and pulmonary infarctions
  • Acute kidney disease
  • Acute hepatitis
  • Acute muscle damage
  • Pancreatitis
  • Fractures of the bones
  • Malignancies of the testicles, lymphoma, or other cancers

A high level of LD in the blood may suggest that cancer treatment has failed. A high level is associated with a poorer prognosis for cancer patients. Moderately high LD blood levels may remain in several chronic and progressive diseases. LD levels that are low or normal do not usually indicate a concern. When a high amount of ascorbic acid is consumed, low levels can occur.

Fluids in the body:

  • Cerebrospinal fluid—a high LD implies bacterial meningitis, whereas a low or normal amount indicates viral meningitis is more likely.
  • Pericardial fluid, peritoneal fluid, or pleural fluid with a high LD is an exudate, while fluid with a low LD is a transudate. Cirrhosis or congestive heart failure are the most common causes of transudates. Exudates can have a variety of causes, and determining the cause usually necessitates additional testing.

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


Description: A Potassium test is normally part of an electrolyte panel or Comprehensive Metabolic panel to help diagnose and monitor any electrolyte imbalances.

Also Known As: K Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Potassium test ordered?

When patients get a normal medical exam or are being assessed for a serious illness, potassium levels may be required.

When a healthcare provider is diagnosing and monitoring hypertension, diabetic ketoacidosis, and renal disease, as well as monitoring a patient on dialysis, diuretic medication, or intravenous fluids, potassium tests may be performed at regular intervals.

What does a Potassium blood test check for?

Potassium is a necessary electrolyte for cell metabolism. It assists in the delivery of nutrients into cells and the removal of waste materials from cells. It also plays a role in muscle function by assisting in the transmission of messages between neurons and muscles. This test determines how much potassium is present in the blood and/or urine.

Potassium, along with other electrolytes like sodium, chloride, and bicarbonate, aids in fluid regulation and maintains a stable acid-base balance in the body. Potassium is found in all body fluids, although it is concentrated in the cells. Only a trace amount is found in fluids outside of cells and in the blood's liquid portion.

The majority of the potassium we require comes from the foods we eat, and most people consume enough potassium. The body consumes what it needs and excretes the rest through the urine. The body works to keep the potassium level in the blood within a restricted range. Aldosterone, a hormone generated by the kidney's adrenal glands, is the key regulator.

Because potassium levels in the blood are so low, even little adjustments can have a big impact. There might be major health effects if potassium levels are either low or too high; a person may get shock, respiratory failure, or heart rhythm abnormalities. An abnormal potassium level can affect neuron and muscle function; for example, the heart muscle's capacity to contract may be impaired.

Lab tests often ordered with a Potassium test:

  • Chloride
  • Sodium
  • Bicarbonate
  • Electrolytes
  • Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP)
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)
  • Aldosterone
  • Renin

Conditions where a Potassium test is recommended:

  • Hypertension
  • Acidosis
  • Alkalosis
  • Kidney Disease
  • Heart Disease
  • Conn Syndrome
  • Addison Disease

How does my health care provider use a Potassium test?

A potassium test is used to detect irregular potassium values, such as high and low potassium. It's frequently utilized as part of a standard physical's electrolyte panel or basic metabolic panel.

Potassium is a necessary electrolyte for cell metabolism. It assists in the delivery of nutrients into cells and the removal of waste materials from cells. It also has a role in muscular function, assisting in the transmission of messages between nerves and muscles, as well as heart function.

The potassium test can be used to detect and/or monitor kidney disease, which is the most prevalent cause of elevated potassium levels in the blood. When someone has diarrhea and vomiting, excessive sweating, or a range of symptoms, it can also be utilized to check for abnormal levels. Many disorders can cause elevated potassium levels in the blood. If metabolic acidosis is suspected, or if high blood pressure or other indications of disease are present, a healthcare practitioner may order this test, along with others, to discover an electrolyte imbalance. When there are symptoms involving the heart, potassium in particular might be assessed.

The potassium test can also be used to track the effects of medicines that cause potassium loss in the kidneys, such as diuretics, or pharmaceuticals that reduce potassium clearance from the body, resulting in high potassium levels.

What do my Potassium test results mean?

Conditions that cause high potassium levels include:

  • Kidney failure
  • The disease Addison's
  • Tissue damage Infection
  • Diabetes
  • Dehydration
  • Too much potassium intake
  • Excessive IV potassium in individuals receiving intravenous fluids
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, and potassium-sparing diuretics are among the pharmaceuticals that can induce excessive potassium in a tiny percentage of persons.

Low potassium levels can be detected in a variety of situations, including:

  • Conn syndrome
  • Diarrhea and vomiting.
  • An acetaminophen overdose complication
  • When someone with diabetes takes insulin, their potassium level may drop, especially if they have not properly managed their diabetes.
  • Low potassium is usually caused by "water pills," and if someone is taking them, their potassium level will be checked on a regular basis by their healthcare professional.

Furthermore, medicines including corticosteroids, beta-adrenergic agonists like isoproterenol, alpha-adrenergic antagonists like clonidine, antibiotics like gentamicin and carbenicillin, and the antifungal amphotericin B can cause potassium loss.

Urine potassium concentrations must be compared to blood potassium levels. Because the body generally removes excess potassium, the concentration in the urine may be higher than the blood. When the body loses too much potassium, it can also show up in the urine; in this situation, the blood level will be normal to low. If potassium levels in the blood are low due to insufficient consumption, urine concentrations will be low as well.

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


Description: The sodium blood test is a test that measures levels of the electrolyte sodium in your blood’s serum.

Also Known As: Na Test, Sodium Serum Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Sodium test ordered?

Most people's normal lab examination includes sodium tests as part of an electrolyte panel or a basic metabolic panel. These may be requested as part of an annual physical examination or when a person has non-specific health concerns.

When a person exhibits symptoms of low sodium, such as weakness, disorientation, or lethargy, a blood sodium test may be requested. If the sodium level drops too quickly, the individual may get weak and tired; in severe circumstances, the person may become confused or even coma. However, there may be no symptoms if the sodium level drops slowly. That is why, even if there are no symptoms, sodium levels are frequently monitored.

When a person shows signs of elevated sodium, such as thirst, dry mucous membranes, less frequent urine, muscle twitching, and/or agitation, sodium blood testing may be required. If the sodium level reaches to dangerously high levels, restlessness, illogical behavior, and coma or convulsions can occur.

Electrolytes are tested when intravenous fluids are administered or when dehydration is a risk. Electrolyte panels and basic metabolic panels are frequently requested to track the progress of treatment for illnesses such high blood pressure, heart failure, and liver and kidney disease.

What does a Sodium blood test check for?

Sodium is an electrolyte found in all body fluids and is essential for proper physiological functions such as nerve and muscle function. This test determines how much salt is present in the blood and/or urine.

Sodium, along with other electrolytes like potassium, chloride, and bicarbonate, aids cell activity and helps the body manage fluid levels. While sodium can be found in all physiological fluids, it is most concentrated in the blood and the fluid surrounding the body's cells. The kidneys control this extracellular sodium as well as all bodily water.

We receive sodium through table salt and, to a lesser extent, from most of the foods we eat. The majority of people consume enough salt. The body consumes what it needs and excretes the rest through the urine. The body tries to control salt levels in the blood within a fairly narrow range. It accomplishes this by:

  • Producing hormones that can alter the quantity of sodium excreted in urine
  • Generating a hormone that stops water loss
  • Controlling thirst; merely a 1% increase in blood sodium causes a person to become thirsty and drink water, bringing the sodium level back to normal.

A malfunction with one of these systems is frequently the cause of abnormal blood sodium levels. The water content of the body changes when the salt level in the blood fluctuates. These alterations are commonly coupled with either too little or too much fluid, resulting in leg edema.

Lab tests often ordered with a Sodium test:

  • Chloride
  • Potassium
  • Bicarbonate
  • Electrolyte
  • Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP)
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)
  • Aldosterone
  • Renin
  • Renal Panel
  • ADH

Conditions where a Sodium test is recommended:

  • Kidney Disease
  • Dehydration
  • Adrenal Insufficiency
  • Addison Disease

How does my health care provider use a Sodium test?

A sodium blood test detects aberrant sodium concentrations, such as low sodium and excessive sodium. It's frequently utilized as part of a normal health checkup's electrolyte panel or basic metabolic panel.

Sodium is an electrolyte found in all body fluids and is essential for proper physiological functions such as nerve and muscle function. It aids regular cell activity and regulates the quantity of fluid in the body.

In persons who have dehydration, excess fluid, or a range of symptoms, a blood sodium test can be done to determine the reason and monitor treatment. Many disorders can cause elevated sodium levels in the blood. This test, along with others, may be ordered by a doctor to detect an electrolyte imbalance or symptoms of illness involving the brain, heart, lungs, thyroid gland, liver, kidney, or adrenal glands.

A blood sodium test may be performed to assess the success of treatment or to monitor persons using drugs that can impact sodium levels, such as diuretics, in people who have a known electrolyte imbalance.

What do my sodium test results mean?

A low sodium level in the blood could be caused by:

  • Too much sodium is lost, most usually due to diarrhea, vomiting, excessive perspiration, diuretics, kidney illness, or low cortisol, aldosterone, and sex hormone levels.
  • Excessive water consumption, which may occur during exercise
  • Heart failure, cirrhosis, and kidney disorders induce excess fluid accumulation in the body, resulting in protein loss or malnutrition. The body produces too much anti-diuretic hormone in a number of disorders, particularly those involving the brain and lungs, as well as many types of cancer and several medicines, leading a person to retain too much water in the body.

Reduced sodium consumption is rarely the cause of low blood sodium.

Losing too much water while not drinking enough nearly usually causes a high blood salt level. It could be related to a high salt intake without enough water, Cushing syndrome, or diabetes insipidus, a disorder characterized by a lack of ADH.

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


StoneRisk® Diagnostic Profile

Clinical Significance

StoneRisk® Diagnostic Profile - StoneRisk® profile is for stone formers with a positive urine culture indicating urinary tract infection (UTI), also for recurrent stone formers or when attending physician deems it medically necessary for the patient to have comprehensive metabolic evaluation.

Includes

Ammonium Urine, Brushite, Calcium Oxalate, Calcium Urine, Citrate Urine, Creatinine Urine, Magnesium Urine, Oxalate Urine, pH Urine, Phosphorus Urine, Potassium Urine, Sodium Urate, Sodium Urine, Struvite, Sulfate Urine, Uric Acid, Uric Acid Urine

 

Alternative Name(s)

Kidney Stone,Stone Analysis, Kidney

Performing Laboratory

Specialty Laboratories, Inc. 

27027 Tourney Road

Valencia, CA 91355-5386

 


Most Popular
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


A UTI or Urinary Tract Infection is an infection from microbes that affects any part of the urinary system. This includes the kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra.

Kidneys are bean-shaped organs located in the lower back, just below the ribcage, on each side of the spine. They are part of the urinary tract and primary filter out the blood, producing urine to transport excess water and urine out of the body. The urine is passed through the ureters and makes its way into the bladder. Kidneys ideally help control pH levels as well as blood pressure.

The bladder is a hollow, muscular sac that stores urine passed from the kidneys. It’s typically the size of a pear but can stretch larger as required. When it stretches to a certain point, it signals the body to relieve the increasing pressure. During urination, the muscular valve at the organ’s opening relaxes, the bladder contracts and urine is sent out of the body through the urethra.

Urinary Tract Infection is a blanket term, but the infection can be identified depending on the part of the urinary system that’s affected. Here are common examples of UTIs:

  • Cystitis – Occurs when the bladder is infected.
  • Pyelonephritis – The infection of one or both kidneys.
  • Urethritis – The infection or inflammation of the urethra. This condition is often a symptom of an STD (sexually transmitted disease) like gonorrhea, chlamydia, or herpes. It is important to note that STD treatment is different from that of typical urinary tract infections.

UTIs usually develop when microbes make their way into the urethra. They stick to the urethra walls, multiply and move up the urinary tract. Most urinary tract infections don’t go beyond the lower tract, i.e., urethra and bladder. Here, they cause symptoms like a burning sensation when one urinates. UTIs are not complicated and are relatively easy to treat. However, if left unattended, they can move further to the upper tract and infect the ureters and kidneys.

The latter is considered more dangerous than bladder or urethra infection as it can result in permanent kidney damage. Some infections can make their way into the bloodstream, causing sepsis or septicemia, which can be life-threatening. However, such infections tend to be rare.

Even though viruses and fungi can cause UTIs, bacteria are the biggest culprits, most specifically Escherichia coli (bacteria that’s usually found in the digestive system and frequently present in stool and around the anus. Proteus, Enterococcus, Staphylococcus, and Klebsiella are other types of bacteria that can cause urinary tract infections.

UTIs are not an uncommon occurrence. According to the American Urological Association Foundation (AUAF), over 8 million people go to the hospital due to UTI concerns per year. UTIs can affect anyone, regardless of age, but women are more susceptible. According to stats, only 12% of men, compared to 40% of women contract at least one UTI in their lifetime.

The reason women are prone to these infections is thought to be partly anatomical as the female urethra is shorter than that of a male. As such, microbes don’t have to travel as far to get to the bladder. Ideally, the short distance between the female’s vagina and anus and the urethra increases the exposure to microbes.

Anything that blocks or slows urine passage or introduces bacteria into the urinary system increases the chances of the individual contracting a UTI.

Common conditions and activities that can result in the development of urinary tract infection include:

  • Sexual intercourse
  • A history of previous urinary tract infections
  • The use of spermicides, particularly when combined with a condom
  • Urine retention (This is a case where the bladder doesn’t empty entirely.)
  • Vesicoureteral reflux (This is the unusual flow of urine, whereby it goes back to the ureters from the bladder.)
  • Anatomical issues like narrowing of the ureters or urethra
  • Long-term bladder catheterization
  • Kidney stones
  • Diabetes or changes to the immune system can damage the kidneys, resulting in the presence of glucose in the urine, which promotes bacteria growth
  • Spinal cord injuries or nerve damage that involves the bladder
  • Kidney disease/transplant

In women, menopause results in changes in the vagina lining, and estrogen loses its protective effects. In men, an enlarged prostate can interfere with urine flow. Basically, any condition that hampers the immune system can increase the risk of getting a UTI.

As mentioned earlier, UTIs are often acute and non-complex. When attended to, the symptoms go away in a few days. However, those that affect the kidney can lead to permanent kidney damage, particularly in young and elderly people.

Diseases or conditions that lead to chronic or recurrent urinary tract infections can ideally cause kidney damage and, in some cases, septicemia and renal failure. These call for prompt treatment, which usually calls for hospitalization. In men, these infections can lead to prostate infection and inflammation. In women, they can cause premature labor and high blood pressure.

Chronic or recurrent urinary tract infections are an issue for 1 in 5 women after the initial infection. Often, recurrent infections are caused by the same bacteria responsible for the first infection. With each infection, the risk of having more increases.

Some of the recurrent UTIs recurrent factors in women are:

  • Use of spermicide
  • Contracting UTI at an early age
  • Frequent sexual intercourse
  • Maternal history of urinary tract infections

It’s rare for men to have a first UTI, but once it happens, the chances of getting another increase as the microbes may hide deep within the prostate tissue.

UTI Signs and Symptoms

Even though urinary tract infection symptoms tend to vary, the following tend to be common:

  • Burning sensation or burning during urination
  • A frequent urge to urinate
  • Pelvic pain
  • Strong-smelling, cloudy urine

Individuals with UTIs can ideally experience pressure in the lower abdomen and notice small blood amounts in the urine. If the infection is more severe, it can cause nausea, vomiting, shaking, fever, chills, and flank pain. Fevers are ideally experienced when the individual has septicemia.

Laboratory Tests

Common UTI lab tests include:

Urinalysis

Most, if not all, urinary tract infections are detected by conducting urinalysis, a procedure that searches for infection evidence like bacteria and white blood cells in a urine sample.

Urine Culture

For patients with recurring UTIs or those who are hospitalized, urine culture is done to confirm urinalysis.

One or more lab tests can be conducted as follow up cases. These include:

  • When the doctor suspects the infection may have made its way into the bloodstream. In this case, a blood culture is performed.
  • When the doctor suspects the patient’s symptoms are due to an STD like gonorrhea or chlamydia. In this case, testing for more than one STD is conducted.
  • When the patient has chronic or recurring UTIs. Tests like glucose or hemoglobin a1c or BUN and creatinine can ideally be done.
  • When the individual has had kidney stones in addition to a urinary tract infection. In such a case, a kidney stone analysis is conducted.

Non-Lab UTI Tests

X-rays and imaging scans can be used to assess anatomical issues or the signs of an underlying condition or disease that could be causing recurrent urinary tract infections. These tests are usually performed on children with UTIs, adults with recurrent or frequent UTIs, and those with blood in the urine.

There are different types of imaging tests, each providing different, but crucial information:

Voiding Cystourethrogram

This is an imaging technique that allows practitioners to see the bladder and urethra in real-time.

Kidney & Bladder Ultrasound

In this test, sound waves are utilized to produce images of these organs, allowing the practitioners to assess any abnormalities.

Cystoscopy

In this technique, a flexible tube is inserted into the urethra, up into the bladder. It allows the doctors to assess the inner lining of urethra and bladder. It helps identify blockages and structural abnormalities. If there is a stone, the same technique can be used to break or remove the stone. Tissue and urine samples can ideally be obtained using this technique.

Nuclear Scans

There’s an array of scans that can be used to check the shape and function of the kidneys and bladder. For each type of scan, a radioactive dye is introduced to the bloodstream, which is transported to the kidneys and bladder. This allows the visualization of anatomical abnormalities.

Intravenous Pyelogram or IVP

This is another imaging technique that is used to look at the entire urinary system. An opaque dye is injected into the bloodstream, which then makes its way to the bladder and kidneys. A series of x-rays are then taken, which reveal anatomical abnormalities or reveal obstructions.

These are the main tests conducted to confirm urinary tract infection. Thanks to technological advancements in the medical field, these tests can be easily done in most hospitals. With this guide, you should be able to tell whether you are looking at a UTI, especially when you experience a burning sensation when urinating. UTIs, as mentioned earlier, are easily identifiable and treatable, and symptoms often disappear in two days. If you suspect you have a UTI, however, it’s important to consult your doctor as soon as possible to avoid life-threatening conditions like sepsis.