Urine specific gravity is a laboratory test that shows the total concentration of all chemical particles in the urine.
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 the dipstick changes to will tell the provider the specific gravity of your urine. The dipstick test gives only a rough result. For a more accurate result, your provider may send your urine sample to a lab.
Your provider may tell you that you need to limit your fluid intake 12 to 14 hours before the test.
Your provider will ask you to temporarily stop taking any medicines that may affect the test results. Be sure to tell your provider about all the medicines you take, including dextran and sucrose. DO NOT stop taking any medicine before talking to your provider.
Other things can also affect the test results. Tell your provider if you recently:
The test involves only normal urination. There is no discomfort.
This test helps evaluate your body's water balance and urine concentration.
Urine osmolality is a more specific and precise test for urine concentration. The urine specific gravity test is easier and more convenient, and is usually part of a routine urinalysis. The urine osmolality test may not be needed.
The normal range for urine specific gravity is 1.005 to 1.030. 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.
Increased urine specific gravity may be due to conditions such as:
Decreased urine specific gravity may be due to:
There are no risks with this test.
Krishnan A, Levin A. Laboratory assessment of kidney disease: glomerular filtration rate, urinalysis, and proteinuria. In: Yu ASL, Chertow GM, Luyckx VA, Marsden PA, Skorecki K, Taal MW, eds. Brenner and Rector's The Kidney. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 23.
Riley RS, McPherson RA. Basic examination of the urine. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 29.
Villeneuve P-M, Bagshaw SM. Assessment of urine biochemistry. In: Ronco C, Bellomo R, Kellum JA, Ricci Z, eds. Critical Care Nephrology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 55.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 8/20/2023
Reviewed By: Jacob Berman, MD, MPH, Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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