My sister has kidney disease, so we keep urinalysis strips in the house as a way to help monitor that. Every so often she bullies me into using one of the strips (going so far as to come into the bathroom and read the strip for me, because apparently I'm too stupid to compare colors), and sometimes I have trace proteins. She goes on about how that's how it started for her, and how I need to go to a doctor, like, yesterday.
Today she wigged out on me because the swatch on the strip that tests proteins was blotchy. Most of it was the baseline color, but there were a few spots near the bottom of the swatch where it was the color that indicates a lot of proteins.
I feel like she's completely blowing this out of proportion. I have PCOS and IBS, and high blood pressure runs in the family, so I pay a lot of attention to my body and am very sensitive to anything that's outside of my norm. I've never experienced any of the ~early signs~ or symptoms of kidney disease (beyond a sometimes elevated blood pressure, which always corresponds directly with anxiety and stress), never had any tests indicate that I might have kidney dysfunction besides the protein on the test strips, which usually only ever indicates trace proteins.
At the same time, I'm now very anxious about this.
Is it normal for a test strip to be blotchy, or to be uneven in color? Is this due to a dysfunction in my body, or was the test strip just weird? And can not wiping off your genitals before using a test strip have a large effect on what the results show? She insists that she's been told by doctors that it doesn't make much of a difference, but I feel like there is probably a reason why the instructions on those strips recommend that you wipe off your crotch and catch the urine in a container to dip the strip into, rather than peeing directly onto it.
Actually the dip sticks need to be tested with the mid stream urine, and not the initial flow of urine. In addition, usually in the testing labs, a sample of mid stream urine collected in a container, is used on multiple testing strips, including for glucose, protein levels, nitrates, ketones and others as needed.
In case, you use the strips for home testing, urinating on the strips directly (but with the midstream) is acceptable.
Wiping of genitals is needed, for a urine sample, meant to do a urine culture and sensitivity. In case it is not done, bacteria in the perineum can contaminate the urine and give false results.
Presence of trace proteinuria is not a alarming symptom. But if serial testing indicate increasing level of protienuria, it would be a significant finding.
In such a case, you will need a quantitative testing for urine protein as well as a 24 hr urine protein evaluation.
If you have any doubts regarding the tests, you may consult your doctor, who can clear them for you.
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