Urine cytology: how it’s done

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The study of cells in all their aspects is described as cytology, which is why, specifically, urine cytology refers to the analysis of epithelial cells of the urinary tract. It is considered a very useful test in the diagnostic panorama of some pathologies according to the amount of these cells present, as well as their structural and functional appearance.

Likewise, in certain circumstances it is usually the most recommended option compared to other tests that become more invasive and dangerous, however, when the result obtained is abnormal, it is likely that it will be necessary to supplement with the extraction of a tissue sample. If you are interested in knowing more about urine cytology: how it is done , in the following FastlyHealarticle we provide you with the most useful information.

Cytological urine analysis: What is it for and when is it recommended?

The epithelial cells found in the urine are those that line the urinary tract and the kidneys , so the alteration in their structure can be interpreted as a reflection of some important condition that could or is affecting the correct function of the urinary tract. For this reason, urine cytology is used to detect :

  • Inflammation of the urinary tract .
  • Viral diseases, even cytomegalovirus can be detected.
  • Aggressive and fast-growing tumors.
  • Cancer, whether of the kidney, bladder, ureters or urethra. In these cases it is necessary to carry out other diagnostic tests to confirm the pathology.

Likewise, the doctor may indicate the performance of the urine cytological examination in the following situations:

  • There is presence of blood in the urine.
  • You suffer from pain or burning during urination.
  • As a control of patients with their own or family history of cancer in the urinary tract, especially of the bladder.
  • Lesions in the bladder were located on radiographs.

How is urine cytology performed?

To perform the urine cytological examination, it is not necessary to be fasting or any other special indication, however, it is important to note that the sample for the analysis should not be from the first urination upon waking, because the epithelial cells may be altered. by staying in the bladder overnight and giving an uncertain result. This study of the cells can be done in two ways and the indications of the procedure of how the urine cytology is done for each case must be detailed by the doctor, but they basically consist of:

Clean urine

It involves taking a sample of the urine without contaminating substances that may be through the conduits or holes through which it passes and can be done in the medical unit or at home. After the first urination in the morning, it is advisable to drink plenty of fluids in the next 2 to 3 hours, since the second urination will produce a urine sample in a sterile bottle. Before urination, it is essential that the genital area and each fold have been previously washed with soap and water, without leaving traces of it. When the sample is to be obtained, first it is necessary to urinate a little to discard other substances and then without stopping this action, the bottle is approached to fill it to the indicated level, being necessary at least 25 ml of clean urine.


This technique is less used for urine cytology because it is invasive and usually causes some discomfort. It consists of introducing a cystoscope, it is a probe with a camera at its end, through the orifice of the urethra and through it until reaching the bladder to examine it and obtain a sample that will be deposited in a sterile bottle. Before this, discarding the first urination, it is generally requested that the urine be retained for a couple of hours and just before the introduction the specialist cleans the genital area, using liquid antiseptic for the inside of the urethra that also contains a little of anesthesia, then general, regional or local anesthesia is applied. It is possible that a few hours after finishing the urethra will feel sore or that there will be light bleeding in the following days, in any case it is better to consult with the doctor.

Possible results in the urine cytology study

Since the urine sample has been obtained, it is taken to the laboratory for analysis and cytology. In a healthy person , it is normal to find epithelial cells in the urine sample in a low value and with a normal structure, low concentration of other waste elements and without pathogenic microorganisms, such as bacteria or fungi.

On the other hand, the sample can be determined as unsatisfactory if the amount of useful cells is not enough to give a diagnosis, being necessary to obtain another sample for the cytological analysis of urine. Likewise, it is said that the result is suspicious when the appearance of the cells is abnormal , but not to such a degree as to be sure that it is a pathology.

Instead, a positive urine cytology result is indicated if there are enough epithelial cells that have an abnormal structure or there is a high presence of pathogens.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Urine cytology: how it’s done , we recommend that you enter our Kidneys and urinary system category .

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