When Would I Need a Urine Test Instead of Bloodwork?

Dec 11, 2023
When Would I Need a Urine Test Instead of Bloodwork?
Bloodwork is a standard lab test that doctors use to diagnose medical problems and detect drugs in the body, but urine tests are also helpful. Take a moment to determine when you may need a urine test instead of routine bloodwork.

A blood test is a standard screening tool that doctors use to monitor your health and diagnose certain medical conditions. It's an easy, minimally invasive diagnostic test that helps your care team keep tabs on your health throughout your life.

Bloodwork can also tell you if you're pregnant and whether you have any drugs or illegal substances in your system. But bloodwork isn't always the best option for your needs. Sometimes, a urine test tells the doctor more about your health than a blood test.

At Prudent Medical Providers, our team of three nurse practitioners provides in-house lab tests to help you monitor your health. We offer drug testing and blood or urine tests to give you the answers you need regarding your well-being.

The facts on bloodwork

Blood tests are a standard screening test our team uses for various reasons, including during a routine physical exam or when you're experiencing abnormal symptoms.

Getting bloodwork is extremely simple, and we do it in the office for your convenience. It starts with cleaning off your arm and applying a tourniquet to make your veins visible.

When we find the perfect vein, we insert a needle into the vein and attach specific vials that we fill with blood. Each vial is for a specific blood test that checks for particular diseases, drugs, or other components within your blood.

You may need a blood test for several reasons, and you typically want the results fast. A few of the reasons we offer bloodwork include:

  • As part of your physical exam
  • You feel unwell
  • You require screening tests
  • To evaluate how treatments are working
  • You have genetic changes
  • To screen for drugs

Blood tests show how your blood works and whether your electrolytes, red blood cells, and enzymes are at normal levels.

Essentially, blood tests show us how your body functions by giving us levels of every essential cell and enzyme.

What's a urine test?

We also use urine testing to perform drug screens for work or to help you overcome a substance abuse disorder.

Urine testing allows us to analyze a sample of urine you provide. We look at the appearance of the urine, its concentration, and the contents within the sample.

A urinalysis is a simple test that tells us much about your health. It's a tool that provides insight into how your body is working by screening for various medical conditions like diabetes or kidney disease.

It may be part of a routine physical exam or necessary to monitor how treatment is working for diabetes, kidney disease, or urinary tract infections.

After the visual exam, where we inspect the urine and note its color and whether it's cloudy or clear, we perform a dipstick test, which tells us information like the acidity and alkalinity (pH) of the urine and if blood or ketones are present.

If there's anything suspicious in the urine, we may perform a microscopic evaluation of the urine. This part of the test screens for bacteria, white blood cells, and crystals within the urine.

When we use a urine test over bloodwork

Urine tests and blood tests are both essential aspects of evaluating your health. Still, sometimes, one is better than the other.

When it comes to drug testing, we provide both blood tests and urine tests — but which one is best? It depends on the reason for the drug screen.

A blood test is more accurate than a urine test, but it has limits. For example, although it's accurate, blood tests can't detect substances after they've disappeared from the bloodstream.

The window of blood testing for drugs is very small because the substances stay there for only so long. Urine testing isn't as accurate as blood testing for drugs, but it's great to detect recent drug usage.

Another benefit to urine drug testing is it's done right on site, and the results are immediately available. It's also more cost-effective than blood drug testing.

Further, we use urine testing to evaluate for genitourinary conditions like kidney problems or urinary tract infections. 

A urine test is also immediate in most cases. It allows us to provide treatment right away, where bloodwork may take a few days to come back, possibly delaying treatment.

Both tests are accurate and have their advantages and disadvantages. Still, the reason for the test determines which is better.

If you require on-site lab testing, don't hesitate to call or click Prudent Medical Providers today at one of our offices in Tacoma or Federal Way, Washington. You can also request a telehealth appointment on the website.