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Urine pH test

pH - urine

A urine pH test measures the level of acid in urine.

How the Test is Performed

After you provide a urine sample, it is tested right away. The health care provider uses a dipstick made with a color-sensitive pad. The color change on the dipstick tells the provider the level of acid in your urine.

If needed, the provider may ask you to collect your urine at home over 24 hours. Your provider will tell you how to do this. Follow instructions exactly so that the results are accurate.

How to Prepare for the Test

Your provider may tell you to stop taking certain medicines that can affect the results of the test. These may include:

  • Acetazolamide
  • Ammonium chloride
  • Methenamine mandelate
  • Potassium citrate
  • Sodium bicarbonate
  • Thiazide diuretic

DO NOT stop taking any medicine before talking to your provider.

Eat a normal, balanced diet for several days before the test. Note that:

  • A diet high in fruits, vegetables, or non-cheese dairy products can increase your urine pH.
  • A diet high in fish, meat products, or cheese can decrease your urine pH.

How the Test will Feel

The test involves only normal urination. There is no discomfort.

Why the Test is Performed

Your provider may order this test to check for changes in your urine acid levels. It may be done to see if you:

  • Are at risk of kidney stones. Different types of stones can form depending on how acidic your urine is.
  • Need to take certain medicines to treat urinary tract infections. Some medicines are more effective when urine is acidic or non-acidic (alkaline).

Normal Results

The normal values range from pH 4.6 to 8.0.

The examples above are common measurements for results of these tests. Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different samples. Talk to your provider about the meaning of your specific test results.

What Abnormal Results Mean

A high urine pH may be due to:

  • Kidneys that do not properly remove acids (kidney tubular acidosis, also known as renal tubular acidosis)
  • Kidney failure
  • Stomach pumping (gastric suction)
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Vomiting

A low urine pH may be due to:

Risks

There are no risks with this test.

References

Bose A, Monk RD, Bushinsky DA. Kidney stones. In: Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, Kronenberg HM, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 30.

Fogazzi GB, Garigali G. Urinalysis. In: Johnson RJ, Feehally J, Floege J, eds. Comprehensive Clinical Nephrology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 4.

Remer T, Manz F. Potential renal acid load of foods and its influence on urine pH. J Am Diet Assoc. 1995;95(7):791-797. PMID: 7797810 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7797810.

Riley RS, McPherson RA. Basic examination of urine. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 23rd ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2017:chap 28.

  • Female urinary tract

    Female urinary tract - illustration

    The female and male urinary tracts are relatively the same except for the length of the urethra.

    Female urinary tract

    illustration

  • PH urine test

    PH urine test - illustration

    Some types of kidney stones are more prone to develop in alkaline urine and others are more likely to from in acidic urine. Monitoring the urine pH may be helpful in preventing the formation of kidney stones.

    PH urine test

    illustration

  • Male urinary tract

    Male urinary tract - illustration

    The male and female urinary tracts are relatively the same except for the length of the urethra.

    Male urinary tract

    illustration

    • Female urinary tract

      Female urinary tract - illustration

      The female and male urinary tracts are relatively the same except for the length of the urethra.

      Female urinary tract

      illustration

    • PH urine test

      PH urine test - illustration

      Some types of kidney stones are more prone to develop in alkaline urine and others are more likely to from in acidic urine. Monitoring the urine pH may be helpful in preventing the formation of kidney stones.

      PH urine test

      illustration

    • Male urinary tract

      Male urinary tract - illustration

      The male and female urinary tracts are relatively the same except for the length of the urethra.

      Male urinary tract

      illustration

    Tests for Urine pH test

     
     

    Review Date: 7/15/2017

    Reviewed By: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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