A urine glucose test is a quick, easy way to check for abnormally high levels of glucose in the urine. You will be asked to urinate into a plastic laboratory cup.
A lab technician can check glucose levels immediately by using a small cardboard device known as a dipstick. Any abnormal results will require discussion with your doctor and further testing.
A glucose urine test is most often performed as part of a physical exam or as a quick way to determine if a person has a urinary tract infection (UTI). If glucose is found in the urine while the medical team is testing for something else, they will schedule follow-up tests and help you figure out your next step.
You can give a urine sample at your doctor’s office or laboratory. No special preparation is required. A lab technician will give you a plastic jar with a lid on it and ask you to provide a urine sample. Make sure your hands are clean. Then, use the moist towelette to clean the area around your vulva if you are a woman or the tip of your penis if you are a man.
Let a small stream of urine flow into the toilet to clear the urinary tract. Then insert the cup into the urine flow midstream. After you have obtained the sample—half a cup is usually sufficient—finish urinating in the toilet. Carefully place the lid on the plastic jar, being sure not to touch the inside of the jar.
Give the sample to the appropriate person. Dipstick tests are generally efficient, so you can potentially get the results back after just a few minutes.
The normal amount of glucose in urine is 0 to 0.8 mmol/L (millimoles per liter). Any number higher than this could indicate a problem. The most common diagnosis, confirmed by a simple blood test, is diabetes.
Rarely, a high amount of glucose in urine uncovers a pregnancy, since pregnant women tend to have higher urine glucose levels than others. Women who start out with increased glucose in their urine should be carefully screened for gestational diabetes.
Renal glycosuria is a rare condition in which the kidneys release glucose into the urine. This condition can cause urine glucose levels to be high even if the blood glucose levels are normal.
If the results of the urine glucose test are abnormal, the next step is generally further testing until the reason for the abnormality is identified. During this time, it is especially important that you communicate honestly with your doctor. Some medications can interfere with glucose levels in the blood and urine. Make sure your doctor has a list of everything you are taking. You should also tell your doctor if you are under a great deal of stress, or if you have been binge eating (i.e., eating large amounts of food).
When too much glucose is found in the urine, the most common culprit is diabetes. Your doctor will probably refer you to an endocrinologist and a nutritionist to help plan the best strategies to get your glucose levels under control.