Urine pH tests measure the acid content of your urine. A urine pH that is too high or too low indicates a range of illnesses, such as kidney stones, urinary tract infections, kidney failure or sepsis, according to MedlinePlus. Urine pH levels also helps your doctor determine if you need a new medication regimen, depending on whether your test results are alkaline or acidic. Knowing the factors that influence this type of test is key to obtaining accurate results.
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Testing your pH first thing in the morning will result in a more acidic specimen than at any other time during the day. This is due to the process known as decreased pulmonary ventilation, notes "The Textbook of Therapeutics: Drug and Disease Management." As pulmonary ventilation slows during sleep, respiration becomes more acidic, affecting first-morning urine.
Kidney and Urinary Health
The health of your kidneys impacts your urine pH level. Urine pH levels can vary for healthy kidneys between 4.5 to 8.0, with consistent testing ranges outside these norms indicating a problem. If the range often exceeds 7.0, you could have a urinary tract infection. Be sure to inform those testing your urine if you know of a pre-existing condition affecting your kidneys that could impact your pH test.
Following meals, it isn't uncommon for your urine to become more alkaline. Therefore, testing your urine at this time is going to give a potentially inaccurate pH reading overall. Advise your lab technician if you have just eaten a meal before providing a urine specimen.
You can have excellent kidney health, avoid meals prior to providing a urine sample and even give the specimen during the middle of the day, but if the lab technician allows the urine specimen to sit for a lengthy period before testing its pH level, this can influence the result. Urine pH that is not tested immediately will turn alkaline.
Certain medications also influence your urine pH. MedlinePlus states potassium citrate, sodium bicarbonate and acetazolamide are three medications known to increase a person's urine pH. Before having your urine pH tested, tell the technician if you are on these medications or ask your doctor if it is OK to stop taking them before the scheduled test.
Eat a balanced diet for several days before your test. A diet overloaded with any one of these foods or food groups --- citrus, vegetables, dairy, meats, vegetables or cranberries --- will skew the test results, says MedlinePlus.
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