URL of this page: https://medlineplus.gov/labtests/proteininurine.html

Protein in Urine

What is a Protein in Urine Test?

A protein in urine test measures how much protein is in your urine. Proteins are substances that are essential for your body to function properly. Protein is normally found in the blood. If there is a problem with your kidneys, protein can leak into your urine. While a small amount is normal, a large amount of protein in urine may indicate kidney disease.

Other names: urine protein, 24-hour urine protein; urine total protein; ratio; reagent strip urinalysis

What is it used for?

A protein in urine test is often part of a urinalysis, a test that measures different cells, chemicals, and substances in your urine. Urinalysis is often included as part of a routine exam. This test may also be used to look for or to monitor kidney disease.

Why do I need a protein in urine test?

Your health care provider may have ordered a protein test as part of your regular checkup, or if you have symptoms of kidney disease. These symptoms include:

What happens during a protein in urine test?

A protein in urine test can be done in the home as well as in a lab. If in a lab, you will receive instructions to provide a "clean catch" sample. The clean catch method includes the following steps:

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Clean your genital area with a cleansing pad given to you by your provider. Men should wipe the tip of their penis. Women should open their labia and clean from front to back.
  3. Start to urinate into the toilet.
  4. Move the collection container under your urine stream.
  5. Collect at least an ounce or two of urine into the container, which should have markings to indicate the amounts.
  6. Finish urinating into the toilet.
  7. Return the sample container as instructed by your health care provider.

If at home, you will use a test kit. The kit will include a package of strips for testing and instructions on how to provide a clean catch sample. Talk to your health care provider if you have any questions.

Your health care provider may also request you collect all your urine during a 24-hour period. This "24-hour urine sample test" is used because the amounts of substances in urine, including protein, can vary throughout the day. Collecting several samples in a day may provide a more accurate picture of your urine content.

Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?

You don't need any special preparations to test for protein in urine. If your health care provider has ordered a 24-hour urine sample, you will get specific instructions on how to provide and store your samples.

Are there any risks to the test?

There is no known risk to having a urinalysis or a urine in protein test.

What do the results mean?

If a large amount of protein is found in your urine sample, it doesn't necessarily mean that you have a medical problem needing treatment. Strenuous exercise, diet, stress, pregnancy, and other factors can cause a temporary rise in urine protein levels. Your health care provider may recommend additional urinalysis tests if a high level of protein is found This testing may include a 24-hour urine sample test.

If your urine protein levels are consistently high, it may indicate kidney damage or other medical condition. These include:

To learn what your results mean, talk to your health care provider.

Is there anything else I need to know about a protein in urine test?

If you will be doing your urine test at home, ask your health care provider for recommendations on which test kit would be best for you. At-home urine tests are easy to do and provide accurate results as long as you carefully follow all instructions.

References

  1. Hinkle J, Cheever K. Brunner & Suddarth's Handbook of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests. 2nd Ed, Kindle. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; c2014. Protein, Urine; 432 p.
  2. Lab Tests Online [Internet]. American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2017. Pre-eclampsia: Overview [updated 2016 Feb 26; cited 2017 Mar 26]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://labtestsonline.org/understanding/conditions/pre-eclampsia
  3. Lab Tests Online: Urinalysis [Internet]. American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2017. Urinalysis: The Test [updated 2016 May 25; cited 2017 Mar 26]; [about 4 screens]. Available from: https://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/urinalysis/tab/test
  4. Lab Tests Online [Internet]. American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2017. Urine Protein and Urine Protein to Creatinine Ratio: At a Glance [updated 2016 Apr 18; cited 2017 Mar 26]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/urine-protein/tab/glance
  5. Lab Tests Online [Internet]. American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2017. Urine Protein and Urine Protein to Creatinine Ratio: Glossary: 24-hour urine sample [cited 2017 Mar 26]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://labtestsonline.org/glossary/urine-24
  6. Lab Tests Online [Internet]. American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2017. Urine Protein and Urine Protein to Creatinine Ratio: The Test [updated 2016 Apr 18; cited 2017 Mar 26]; [about 4 screens]. Available from: https://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/urine-protein/tab/test
  7. Lab Tests Online [Internet]. American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2017. Urine Protein and Urine Protein to Creatinine Ratio: The Test Sample [updated 2016 Apr 18; cited 2017 Mar 26]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/urine-protein/tab/sample
  8. Mayo Clinic [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; c1998–2017. Chronic Kidney Disease: Symptoms and Causes; 2016 Aug 9 [cited 2017 Mar 26]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-kidney-disease/symptoms-causes/dxc-20207466
  9. Mayo Clinic [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; c1998–2017. Protein in Urine: Definition; 2014 May 8 [cited 2017 Mar 26]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/protein-in-urine/basics/definition/sym-20050656
  10. Mayo Clinic [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; c1998–2017. Urinalysis: What you can expect; 2016 Oct 19 [cited 2017 Mar 26]; [about 5 screens]. Available from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/urinalysis/details/what-you-can-expect/rec-20255393
  11. Merck Manual Consumer Version [Internet]. Kenilworth (NJ): Merck & Co., Inc.; c2017. Urinalysis [cited 2017 Mar 26]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/kidney-and-urinary-tract-disorders/diagnosis-of-kidney-and-urinary-tract-disorders/urinalysis
  12. National Cancer Institute [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms: protein [cited 2017 Mar 26]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms?search=protein
  13. National Kidney Foundation [Internet]. New York: National Kidney Foundation Inc., c2016. Understanding Lab Values [cited 2017 Mar 26]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.kidney.org/kidneydisease/understandinglabvalues
  14. National Kidney Foundation [Internet]. New York: National Kidney Foundation Inc., c2016. What is a Urinalysis (also called a "urine test")? [cited 2017 Mar 26]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/what-urinalysis
  15. Saint Francis Health System [Internet]. Tulsa (OK): Saint Francis Health System; c2016. Patient Information: Collecting a Clean Catch Urine Sample; [cited 2017 Jun 20]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.saintfrancis.com/lab/Documents/Collecting%20a%20Clean%20Catch%20Urine.pdf
  16. The Johns Hopkins Lupus Center [Internet]. Johns Hopkins Medicine; c2017. Urinalysis [cited 2017 Mar 26]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.hopkinslupus.org/lupus-tests/screening-laboratory-tests/urinalysis
  17. University of Rochester Medical Center [Internet]. Rochester (NY): University of Rochester Medical Center; c2017. Health Encyclopedia: Urine Protein (Dipstick) [cited 2017 Mar 26]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=167&contentid=urine_protein_dipstick

The medical information provided is for informational purposes only, and is not to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please contact your health care provider with questions you may have regarding medical conditions or the interpretation of test results.

In the event of a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.