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Protein - urine

  • Definition

    A protein urine test measures the amount of proteins, such as albumin, found in a urine sample.

    A blood test may also be done to measure the level of albumin. See: Serum albumin

    Alternative Names

    Urine protein; Albumin - urine; Urine albumin; Proteinuria; Albuminuria

    How the test is performed

    Urine protein may be tested using a random sample of urine and a dipstick test, or it may require a 24-hour urine sample. See: 24-hour urine protein

    How to prepare for the test

    Your health care provider may tell you to temporarily stop taking any drugs that can interfere with test results.

    Drugs that can affect measurements include:

    • Acetazolamide
    • Aminoglycosides
    • Amphotericin B
    • Cephalosporins
    • Colistin
    • Griseofulvin
    • Lithium
    • Methicillin
    • Nafcillin
    • Kidney damaging drugs
    • Oxacillin
    • Penicillamine
    • Penicillin G
    • Phenazopyridine
    • Polymyxin B
    • Salicylates
    • Sulfonamides
    • Tolbutamide

    The following may also interfere with test results.

    • Dehydration
    • Severe emotional stress
    • Strenuous exercise
    • Receiving a special dye (contrast media) for a radiology exam within 3 days before the urine test
    • Urinary tract infection
    • Urine contaminated with vaginal secretions

    How the test will feel

    The test only involves normal urination, and there is no discomfort.

    Why the test is performed

    This test is most often performed when kidney disease is suspected. It may be used as a screening test.

    Normally, protein is not found in urine when a routine dipstick test is performed. This is because the kidney is supposed to keep large molecules, such as protein, in the blood and only filter out smaller impurities. Even if small amounts of protein do get through, they are normally reabsorbed by the body and used as a source of energy.

    Some proteins will appear in the urine if the levels of protein in blood become high, even when the kidney is functioning properly.

    If the kidney is diseased, protein will appear in the urine even if blood levels are normal.