What is a Glucose in Urine Test?
A glucose in urine test measures the amount of glucose in your urine (pee). Glucose is a type of sugar. It is the main source of energy for the cells in your body. Your blood carries glucose to your cells.
Normally, urine contains very little or no glucose. But if you have too much glucose in your blood, your kidneys will get rid of some of the extra glucose through your urine. So, a high level of urine glucose may mean that your blood glucose is high, too, and that could be a sign of diabetes. If your urine glucose level is high, your health care provider will usually order a blood glucose test to help make a diagnosis.
Other names: urine sugar test; urine glucose test; glucosuria test; glycosuria test
What is it used for?
A glucose in urine test may be part of a urinalysis, a test that measures different cells, chemicals, and other substances in your urine. Urinalysis is used to check your general health.
In the past, urine glucose testing was used to screen for or monitor diabetes. But urine glucose testing is not as accurate as blood glucose testing, so blood tests are now more commonly used to diagnose and monitor diabetes.
Your provider may order a urine glucose test if blood glucose testing is difficult for you. A blood test may be difficult if your veins are too small or scarred from repeated punctures or if you have an extreme fear of needles.
Why do I need a glucose in urine test?
You may have a glucose in urine test as part of your regular checkup. You may also need this test if you cannot have a blood glucose test and you have symptoms of diabetes or need to monitor diabetes.
Symptoms of diabetes include:
- Increased thirst and urination
- Increased hunger
- Blurred vision
- Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
- Sores that don't heal
- Weight loss when you're not trying to lose weight
If you are pregnant, you will likely have a glucose in urine test as part of a urinalysis to check your health. Some glucose in urine is common during pregnancy. But high levels over time could be a sign of gestational diabetes, which is diabetes that happens for the first time during pregnancy.
What happens during a glucose in urine test?
You will need to give a urine sample for the test. A health care professional may give you a cleansing wipe, a small container, and instructions for how to use the "clean catch" method to collect your urine sample. It's important to follow these instructions so that germs from your skin don't get into the sample:
- Wash your hands with soap and water and dry them.
- Open the container without touching the inside.
- Clean your genital area with the cleansing wipe:
- For a penis, wipe the entire head (end) of the penis. If you have a foreskin, pull it back first.
- For a vagina, separate the labia (the folds of skin around the vagina) and wipe the inner sides from front to back.
- Urinate into the toilet for a few seconds and then stop the flow. Start urinating again, this time into the container. Don't let the container touch your body.
- Collect at least an ounce or two of urine into the container. The container should have markings to show how much urine is needed.
- Finish urinating into the toilet.
- Put the cap on the container and return it as instructed.
If you have hemorrhoids that bleed or are having your menstrual period, tell your provider before your test.
Your provider may ask you to monitor your urine glucose at home with a test kit. Your urine glucose home test kit will include a package of strips for testing and instructions on how to do the test. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully. Talk with your provider about what time of day you should test your urine to get the most accurate results.
Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?
You don't need any special preparations for this test. Some medicines and supplements may affect your test results, so be sure to tell your provider about everything you're taking. But don't stop taking any medicine without talking with your provider first.
Are there any risks to the test?
There is no known risk to having a glucose in urine test.
What do the results mean?
Normally, there is little to no glucose in urine. Too much glucose in urine may be a sign of:
- Diabetes, which is the most common cause of high glucose in urine
- Gestational diabetes
- Certain types of kidney disorders (uncommon)
A urine glucose test is only a screening test. It cannot diagnose any conditions. If you have too much glucose in your urine, your provider may order blood tests for diabetes to help make a diagnosis.
If you have a normal level of blood glucose with a high level of glucose in your urine, it may be a sign of an uncommon kidney condition, such as renal glycosuria or Fanconi syndrome.
An increase in urine glucose doesn't always mean you have a medical condition that needs treatment. Certain medicine, vitamin C, and eating a large meal may affect your test results. Ask your provider what your test results mean and whether you need a blood glucose test for more accurate results.
Learn more about laboratory tests, reference ranges, and understanding results.
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