Urine FEME: How It’s Different From Other Urine Tests, And Why It’s Important

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5 September 2023

Urine FEME: How It’s Different From Other Urine Tests, And Why It’s Important

How our bodies remove wastes and toxins can be directly affected by diseases and infections. Testing this waste through urine tests can help physicians identify and establish a course of treatment for these issues. The urine FEME is the gold standard of these types of tests and can actually reveal a treasure trove of information about a patient’s health.

Why is a Urine FEME Requested?

A Urine Full Examination and Microscopic Examination (FEME) is an essential tool used by physicians to assess wellness and diagnose a wide range of conditions. It can also be used to confirm the results of other urine tests.

The urine FEME is also often utilized by physicians to assess a patient’s response to treatment. For example, it is used for individuals with diabetes to determine how their blood glucose numbers are responding to insulin or other drug treatments. It can also be requested to establish a baseline for patients suffering from diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and kidney disease. Follow-up tests can then monitor the presence or progression of these diseases.

Finally, a doctor may order a urine FEME if they suspect you have diabetes, a urinary tract infection, liver or kidney disease or if you have the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Back pain
  • Blood in the urine
  • Painful urination

How is a Urine FEME Unique?

There are many types of urine tests. Many of these perform a single, unique purpose. Some tests can detect the presence of drugs or pregnancy, which are not typically part of a urine FEME. A urine culture can detect the presence of bacteria and fungi.

Although rapid urine tests can detect many of the same things as a urine FEME, they are not considered as reliable. These quick and simple test strip tests are often done as part of a regular medical examination and performed in any doctor’s office. A urine FEME is almost always ordered to confirm any results from a rapid test.

Unlike many other tests, urine FEME test is always conducted in a laboratory and involves far more comprehensive and extensive testing than other urine tests. It differs from other urine tests both in the extent of its analysis and in the sheer number of diseases and disorders it can detect. In many cases, the urine FEME can detect conditions that are in their early stages. This early detection can be critical to the successful treatment of many of these diseases.

What is the Process for a Urine FEME?

A urine FEME assesses urine in two separate ways — biochemically, and under the microscope. Separately, these tests are often referred to as dipstick/chemical testing, and microscopic urinalysis.

The test requires only a small amount of urine, but the sample must be sterile. To ensure a clean sample, the laboratory may request that the patient take a mid-stream or clean-catch sample. This requires the patient to urinate into the toilet for a few seconds and then collect the middle part of the urine stream in a sterile container. The patient then empties the rest of their bladder into the toilet. The idea is that the initial urine stream that is emptied directly into the toilet will also expel excess skin cells, bacteria or other contaminants. The middle stream will provide a “clean-catch.”

Once the sterile sample is collected, the sample is taken into the laboratory for the FEME test, which is, in reality, a series of three separate tests:

  1. A visual examination of the urine for colour, cloudiness and concentration.
  2. Biochemical testing of the urine using a testing strip analyzer to determine the chemical composition of the urine.
  3. Analysis of the urine using a microscope. The urine is first centrifuged. This part of the FEME test looks specifically for the presence of bacteria, cells and parts of cells.

What Can a Urine FEME Detect?

The biochemical portion of the FEME tests measures the presence and amount of several substances including:

Abnormalities in the levels of any of these substances can reveal a wide range of potential problems. For example, high pH levels can indicate kidney disease and asthma, while low levels can indicate emphysema, uncontrolled diabetes, or excessive alcohol consumption.

Urine does not typically contain glucose. So, its presence can indicate uncontrolled diabetes. However, it can also indicate brain damage, kidney disease or adrenal gland problems. The presence of bilirubin suggests issues with the liver or gallbladder. High levels of protein in the urine sample can point to a variety of illnesses from high blood pressure to leukaemia to rheumatoid arthritis.

The microscopic examination of urine is the final step in the urine FEME. This step can corroborate the results of the biochemical and other tests, but it also confirms other diseases or disorders. It detects the presence and amount of red and white blood cells, epithelial cells, bacteria, yeast and crystals. Abnormalities in red or white blood cells can reveal an infection, kidney disease, cancer, or a blood disorder. The presence of epithelial cells can indicate a possible tumor while bacteria or yeast suggest a possible UTI. Kidney stones may produce crystals. Microscopic analysis of urine can also detect the presence of parasites.

An Important Tool For Optimal Health

The urine FEME is a comprehensive tool that helps you and your health care provider monitor your health and detect both acute and chronic illness. It will also assure you and your health care provider that any course of treatment you’ve been proscribed is working the way it should.