The key difference between urine dipstick and urinalysis is that a urine dipstick only consists of a reagent strip, which is a chemical analysis, while a urinalysis consists of three components: macroscopic, chemical, and microscopic analysis.
The evaluation is carried out during a urine test using various steps such as visual examination, dipstick test method, and microscopic examinations. Such tests help to detect and manage a wide range of disorders related to the urinary tract. Therefore, they screen, diagnose, and monitor different health conditions. Screening detects health issues before the appearance of any signs or symptoms, thereby allowing early treatment.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Urine Dipstick
3. What is Urinalysis
4. Similarities – Urine Dipstick and Urinalysis
5. Urine Dipstick vs Urinalysis in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Urine Dipstick vs Urinalysis
What is Urine Dipstick?
A urine dipstick is a urine test carried out using a special strip of paper that is dipped into a urine sample. It is also known as a rapid urine test. It is the fastest way to test urine. The process involves dipping a paper strip, which is specially treated into a sample of urine. The results are usually visible within one to two minutes.
During a urine dipstick test, the sample is not sent to a laboratory, unlike other tests. However, if abnormal results are obtained, another test is carried out using another sample and sent to the laboratory for further testing. There are various types of testing strips to test different components in urine. The strip contains squares that change color in the presence of a suitable substance. Then, the strip is compared to a reference chart given with the urine strip package. A more intense color is observed when more substance is present in the urine. A urine dipstick is carried out to check for diabetes, urine infections, back pains, pregnancy, haematuria, and abdominal pains. The tests detect blood, proteins, glucose, ketones, bilirubin and urobilinogen, leukocyte esterase, and nitrite present in the urine sample.
What is Urinalysis?
A urinalysis is a urine test carried out to detect a wide range of disorders. It is used to detect disorders such as kidney diseases, urinary tract infections, and diabetes. A urinalysis checks the appearance, content, and concentration of urine during the analysis. Therefore, if the urine sample is clear, it is a healthy sample, and a cloudy sample depicts a urinary tract infection. In terms of content, increased protein levels in urine indicate a sign of kidney disease.
A urinalysis is a test carried out to check overall health and to diagnose and monitor medical conditions. Pregnancy testing and drug screening testing are also done using urinalysis. A urinalysis alone does not provide a proper diagnosis. Therefore, the evaluation of urinalysis, along with other tests, provides a proper diagnosis and helps determine whether further testing is needed. It also states whether there are signs and symptoms for a particular disease.
What are the Similarities Between Urine Dipstick and Urinalysis?
- Urine dipstick and urinalysis are two methods of urine tests.
- They are mainly used to screen and diagnose disorders such as kidney failure, urinary tract infections, and diabetes.
- Both tests are used in the diagnosis of pregnancy.
- Both require sterile urine samples.
What is the Difference Between Urine Dipstick and Urinalysis?
Urine dipstick only consists of a reagent strip, which is a chemical analysis, while urinalysis consists of three components; macroscopic, chemical, and microscopic analysis. Thus, this is the key difference between urine dipstick and urinalysis. Moreover, a urine dipstick is the fastest way to test urine and is called a rapid urine test, while urinalysis is comparatively more time-consuming. The result of the urine dipstick is obtained through the change of color in the strip, while the result of urinalysis is obtained after test assays.
The below infographic presents the differences between urine dipstick and urinalysis in tabular form for side-by-side comparison.
Summary – Urine Dipstick vs Urinalysis
A urine dipstick test and urinalysis are two types of urine tests to diagnose disorders. The urine dipstick only consists of a reagent strip, which is a chemical analysis. It is carried out using a special strip of paper dipping into a urine sample. The strip contains a chemical that changes color due to certain substances present in the urine sample. In contrast, urinalysis consists of three components; they are macroscopic, chemical, and microscopic analysis. It detects a wide range of disorders. It checks for the appearance, content, and concentration of urine. However, a urine dipstick is faster than a urinalysis. So, this summarizes the difference between urine dipstick and urinalysis.
1. Sarah Jarvis. “Urine Dipstick Test: Patient Leaflet.” Patient.info, 14 Oct. 2021.
2. “Urinalysis.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 14 Oct. 2021.
1. “Visually read a urine test strip by comparing it with the color key provided by the manufacturer. Color chart from Urinox-10 urine test strips by Diagnox is shown in this image.” By Hxa098020 – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Amanda Cotton – Urinalysis Test Strips” By Dominic Alves (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
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