Dye (contrast media) if you have a radiology scan within 3 days before the urine test
Severe emotional stress
Urinary tract infection
Urine contaminated with fluids from the vagina
How the test will feel
The test only involves normal urination, and there is no discomfort.
Why the test is performed
This test is most often performed when kidney disease is suspected. It may be used as a screening test.
Normally, protein is not found in urine when a routine dipstick test is performed. However, tiny amounts of protein can be detected using special methods. This is because the kidney is supposed to keep large substances like protein in the blood. Even if small amounts of protein do get through, the body normally reabsorbs them.
Some proteins will appear in the urine if the levels of protein in blood become high, even when the kidney is working properly.
If the kidney is diseased, protein will appear in the urine even if blood protein levels are normal.
For a random urine sample, the normal values are approximately 0 to 8 mg/dL.
For a 24-hour urine collection, the normal value is less than 80 mg per 24 hours.
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 doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
What abnormal results mean
Small increases in urine protein levels are usually not a cause for concern.
However, larger amounts of protein in the urine may be due to:
Landry DW, Bazari H. Approach to the patient with renal disease. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 116.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.