What It Is An automated dipstick urinalysis is often done as part of an overall urinalysis, but it can also be done on its own, depending on the doctor's concerns. Once a urine sample is collected, a nurse or technician will place a specially treated chemical strip (dipstick) into it. Patches on the dipstick will change color to indicate the presence of such things as white blood cells, protein, or glucose. The dipstick is then placed into a machine that uses beams of light to analyze the color changes. A machine reading can provide more detailed information than a manual reading. Why It's Done The results of an automated dipstick urinalysis may point to diagnoses such as a urinary tract infection (UTI) or injury, kidney disease, urinary tract trauma, or diabetes. If test results show there might be a problem, other tests may be needed before a definite diagnosis can be made. Preparation No preparation other than cleansing the area around the urethra (urinary opening) is required for the automated dipstick urinalysis. The Procedure Your child will be asked to urinate (pee) into a clean sample cup in the doctor's office, lab, or hospital. The skin surrounding the urinary opening has to be cleansed just before the urine is collected. In this "clean-catch" method, you or your child cleanses the skin around the urinary opening with a special towelette. The child then urinates, stops momentarily, and then urinates again into the collection container. Catching the urine in "midstream" is the goal. Be sure to wash your hands and your child's afterwards. If your child isn't potty trained and can't urinate into a cup, a doctor or nurse may need to insert a small soft plastic tube (catheter) into the bladder to obtain the urine specimen. The technician or nurse then will place a dipstick into the urine sample and put the dipstick into an automated reader. Collecting the urine should only take a few minutes. If your daughter is having her period at the time of the test, let the doctor know. What to Expect Because the test involves normal urination, there shouldn't be any discomfort as long as your child can provide a urine sample. It's important to keep the area around the urinary opening clean before the test and to catch the urine sample midstream. Getting the Results The results of the automated dipstick urinalysis usually do not take long, and your doctor will review them with you. If problems are found, more urine tests may be needed. Risks No risks are associated with taking an automated dipstick urinalysis. If a catheter is used to obtain the urine, it may cause temporary discomfort. If you have any questions or concerns about this procedure, talk to your doctor. Helping Your Child The automated dipstick urinalysis is painless. Explaining how the test will be conducted and why it's being done can help ease any fear. Make sure your child understands that the urinary opening must be clean and the urine must be collected midstream. If You Have Questions If you have questions about the automated dipstick urinalysis, speak with your doctor. Back to Articles Related Articles Getting a Urine Test (Video) If your doctor wants a urine sample, he or she means pee. It's easy to give a sample. Watch how this test is done in this video for kids. Read More Urine Test (Video) This video shows what it's like to get a urine test. Read More Kidney Diseases in Childhood The kidneys play a critical role in health. When something goes wrong, it could indicate a kidney disease. What are kidney diseases, and how can they be treated? Read More Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections and Related Conditions Recurrent urinary tract infections can cause kidney damage if left untreated, especially in kids under age 6. Here's how to recognize the symptom of UTIs and get help for your child. Read More Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common in kids. They're easy to treat and usually clear up in a week or so. Read More Kidneys and Urinary Tract The bean-shaped kidneys, each about the size of a child's fist, are essential to our health. Their most important role is to filter blood and produce urine. Read More Urine Tests Is your child having a urine culture or urinalysis performed? Find out why urine tests are performed, and what to expect when the doctor orders them. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.