How to test for Protein in Urine at Home
Protein in Urine can be a cause for concern and may indicate serious health problems. If you have reason to suspect you have Protein in your Urine then it is important you understand what this means for your health.
A common cause for Protein in Urine is the break down of the filter in the Kidney. Protein should never appear in Urine as the molecule are too large to pass through the Kidney’s filter. If Protein is appearing in your Urine then it is possible that this filter has begun to break down and could signify the onset of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).
Causes for CKD may vary and could include old age, a family history of CKD or as a side effect of long term Diabetes and/or Hypertension. Another reason could be as a side effect of UTI.
Urine Test Strips
To understand how to test for protein in Urine at home, you need to know about Urine Test Strips.
With Urine Test Strips you can test your Urine Protein levels at home cheaply and effectively. These Test Strips have been around for a long time and can be found in your local pharmacy or purchased on line inexpensively.
A Urine Test Strip is a strip of paper or plastic with chemical pads stuck on top. The Test Strip is dipped into a Urine Sample and the chemical in the pads react with molecules in the Urine Sample. The pads will change color dependent on what molecules are in the sample and in what concentration. The results are read by comparing the color of the chemical pads to a colored reference grid on the manufacturer’s packaging. As a patient you need to match the color on your test strip to the color on the grid. Once the color has been identified the patient’s result is known.
A Urine Test Strip is a Semi-Quantitative test. This means that the results give you a range of values for your Protein levels not an exact value. This Semi-Quantitative method is generally enough to indicate if you have a problem or not.
The best tests for consumers have a simple qualitative scale, usually based on a range starting from “Negative” & “Trace” followed by a series of plus symbols starting at “+” and going to “+++” to indicate a range from a small concentration to a high concentration of Protein in your Urine.
With the availability and ease of use of these test strips, nearly everyone in every part of the world has access to home based testing for Protein in their Urine.
So this leads us to the first step in how to test for Protein in Urine at home:
Step 1 - Select a Urine Test Strip
Step 2 - Do your Protein in Urine Test
Now we have explained how to test for Protein in Urine at home the next step is to do the test. There are a few things necessary to ensure you get a good result. This includes preparing your Urine Sample, making sure your test strip is fully submerged in your sample, that you wait the correct time to read your result and finally, to make sure you match the colors correctly.
We will take you through these steps briefly here, but if you want to see a great guide you can visit this article or you can visit the instructions on our website. To do the test you will need a disposable Urine Sample Collection Cup, a stopwatch and your Urine Strips. For those people who want to save their results, they should have the PURI application installed and opened on their phone.
Taking a sample from the first urination in the morning is good. Before taking the sample men should make sure their penis is clean and women should ensure that the area between the Labia are clean to ensure there is no contamination.
To collect the sample have your urine collection cup on hand and urinate a small amount into the toilet bowl then stop. Place the collection cup in the appropriate area and pee into the cup, stopping before it overflows. You are now ready to use your Urine Sample to do your Urine Test.
Start the timer and dip your urine test strip into the Urine at the same time (see instructions for how to use PURI here). Allow your strip to remain in the urine for as long as your manufacturer recommends, usually 1 to 2 seconds, and on removing the strip, wipe it on the side of the cup to remove any excess urine.
Wait until the correct time has passed to read your strip and then compare to the coloured grid provided in the manufacturer’s packaging.
You have now completed your Urine Test.
Step 3 - Record your results
Many Urine test results end up in the rubbish bin. By saving your Urine Test Results you are saving an important part of your health record. You can also provide to your doctor good information about your results that will give them more information when assessing your health.
A simple way to record results is to write them on a piece of paper, or type them into an excel spreadsheet, recording the date and time and the result of your test.
A better way is to download for free the PURI Urinalysis App from the Google Play Store or the iTunes app store. PURI safely stores your data, has a simple input screen making it easy to save your results.
PURI has other features such as a built in timer (as discussed above) and the ability to store two photos of your results.
Photos are can be viewed at a later date to confirm certain aspects of your test. Particularly useful is taking a photo of your Urine. Much can be interpreted from the colour and the physical properties. Your doctor may find these photos useful in reviewing your your test results.
The other advantage of saving your test results in PURI is that you can share your results at a touch of a button. By clicking the share icon on your test results you can share your results with a contact within the app or send to anyone via email. The share function will share your test results and also the photos you have added to this test.
Another benefit of recording your results in PURI is that you can view graphs of the result which will allow you see trends. Is your Protein in Urine getting better or getting worse? Storing your data electronically and having it on hand makes this type of analysis easier.
So now you have your results stored in a safe place the next step is to understand your results.
Step 4 - Understand your results
If you had a negative result then you can either stop testing, or if you wish, continue testing at regular intervals to be 100% sure of the result. A single result is a good indicator, but a series of results is much more reliable. You will have purchased more than 1 test strip so you might as well use them all.
If you received a positive result then it is time to understand your results better. Again, you might want to do a number of tests to double check your single result, for example, by testing every day for at least 3 days. That way you can gain confidence in your result and have more data to share with your doctor.
Armed with your test results you can seek a clear diagnosis of why you have Protein in your Urine. Some online research is always good as it will prepare you to understand the possible causes. That said, the best and most accurate way is to book an appointment with your Doctor. Your Doctor is trained to interpret your results and can initiate more detailed tests to arrive at a conclusive diagnosis. If your diagnosis requires special treatment, your Doctor can refer you to a specialist. The most important for you is that you understand what is causing the Protein in your Urine and begin a treatment program.
If you have saved your results in PURI you can easily share your results with a Doctor or Pharmacist at the click of a button. In that way, if your health provider offers remote service, they can view your results and advise you via email or the phone. You can also share your result with the PURI Pharmacist free of charge for an initial opinion.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, Protein should not appear in Urine and if you have Protein in any significant quantities then it is critical you understand what is causing this. Home testing is a cheap and simple place to start and will guide you if you need to take action.
Step 5 - Manage your condition
Hopefully you have a negative result, in which case their is not much more to do. A regime of ongoing screening can be helpful to pick up on symptoms early, but for now there is no condition to manage.
For patients whose test results have resulted in a diagnosis then it is important that you follow your Doctor’s advice. There are plenty of online resources for CKD; Diabetes and Hypertension, and in fact for most things that cause Protein in Urine.
We hope you have found this article on how to test for Protein in Urine at home useful, if you have any comments, feedback or questions then please let us know by filling out the contact form.