A urine pH test measures the level of acid in urine.
How the Test is Performed
After you provide a urine sample, it is tested right away. The health care provider uses a dipstick made with a color-sensitive pad. The color change on the dipstick tells the provider the level of acid in your urine.
How to Prepare for the Test
Your provider may tell you to stop taking certain medicines that can affect the results of the test. These may include:
- Ammonium chloride
- Methenamine mandelate
- Potassium citrate
- Sodium bicarbonate
- Thiazide diuretic
DO NOT stop taking any medicine before talking to your provider.
Eat a normal, balanced diet for several days before the test. Note that:
- A diet high in citrus fruits or vegetables can increase your urine pH.
- A diet high in meat products or cranberries can decrease your urine pH.
How the Test Will Feel
The test involves only normal urination. There is no discomfort.
Why the Test is Performed
Your provider may order this test to check for changes in your body's acid levels. It may be done to see if you are at risk for kidney stones. Different types of stones can form, depending on the acidity level of your urine.
The normal values range from pH 4.6 to pH 8.0.
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 result.
What Abnormal Results Mean
A high urine pH may be due to:
- Kidneys not properly removing acids from the bloodstream
- Kidney failure
- Some urinary tract infections
- Stomach pumping (gastric suction)
A low urine pH may be due to:
There are no risks with this test.
pH - urine
Gerber GS, Brendler CB. Evaluation of the urologic patient: history, physical examination, and urinalysis. In: Wein AJ, Kavoussi LR, Novick AC, et al., eds. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 3.
McPherson RA, Ben-Ezra J. Basic examination of urine. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 28.
- Acid loading test (pH)
- Acute kidney failure
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Diabetic ketoacidosis
- Diarrhea - overview
- Distal renal tubular acidosis
- Gastric suction
- Interstitial nephritis
- Kidney stones
- Nausea and vomiting - adults
- Proximal renal tubular acidosis
- Uric acid - blood
- Urinary tract infection - adults
Update Date 11/2/2014
Updated by: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.