Urine is made up of a combination of a large number of chemicals. Certain conditions within the body can solidify these chemicals into crystals of salt that may pass through urine.
This condition is clinically known as crystalluria.
Even healthy individuals can have crystal particles in their urine. This can be caused by minor conditions like an excess of vitamin C or protein in the body.
Cholesterol Crystal In Urine – Diagnosis And Preventive Methods
Many of the crystals found in urine are actually harmless. However, in a certain situation, the presence of crystals in the urine can indicate an underlying health condition within the body.
Some other symptoms to watch out for that may signify a medical condition include acute abdominal pain, fever, traces of blood in the urine, jaundice, and fatigue.
This article is aimed at understanding the significance of cholesterol crystals in the urine.
Types of urine crystals.
There are different types of crystals that can be traced in urine. These are uric acid crystals. The presence of this in the urine can suggest conditions like kidney stone, gout, or tumor lysis syndrome.
Calcium oxalate crystals can be observed in the urine of relatively healthier individuals. However, it is caused by the intake of ethylene glycol, which is toxic to the body.
Another rare form of crystals is the hippuric acid crystals that can be found in the urine of a healthy person.
Calcium carbonate crystals are formed due to the intake of calcium supplements. The presence of bilirubin crystals in the urine can indicate a problem in the individual’s liver function.
Calcium phosphate and ammonium biuret crystals in the urine indicate disrupted thyroid functioning and improper storage of collected urine samples, respectively.
Amino acid crystals like cysteine, leucine, and tyrosine in the urine can signify liver disease or metabolic disorder.
Cholesterol crystals in the urine.
Cholesterol crystals found in the urine are clear and rectangular in structure with a cut on the corner and show a stained effect like observed in a glass.
They usually appear in urine samples followed by refrigeration. It does not otherwise appear as cholesterol, which is lipid in nature is present in droplet form in the urine.
Cholesterol crystals can be traced in both neutral and acidic urine and are usually caused by renal tubular disorders. This often indicates the development of renal failure in the future if the condition is left untreated.
This implies severe kidney damage or rapture of a lymphatic vessel within the pelvis of the kidney.
The cholesterol crystals found in the urine are soluble in ether, chloroform, and ethanol.
The condition can be treated by alkali therapy which manages chronic metabolic conditions associated with kidney tubular disorders.
Diagnosis for urine crystals
The diagnosis for the presence of crystals in the urine starts with urinalysis. This test can be prescribed by a doctor even during routine health check-ups without the presence of any apparent complication.
For the test, the individual has to provide his or her urine sample, which laboratory technicians analyze to notice any change in color or opacity that may be caused by an infection.
For example, dark tea-colored urine signifies the presence of bilirubin in the sample, whereas traces of blood in the urine sample can be easily detected by the naked eye.
In the following step, the components of the urine are checked by using a dipstick.
Finally, the urine sample is analyzed under a microscope where crystals can be detected if any have formed within the urine.
Based on the initial findings, doctors can suggest more tests for the individual. For example, traces of bilirubin in urine can be followed by further tests of blood work or ultrasound to assess the condition and functioning of the liver.
In case of cholesterol crystals being present in the urine, blood tests are prescribed to assess the cholesterol level of the individual.
How to prevent the condition?
Urine crystals not caused by underlying medical criticalities like genetic or liver disorders can be easily prevented by adopting certain dietary and lifestyle modifications.
The easiest way to prevent the occurrence of crystals in urine is the consumption of a large volume of water as it dilutes the chemical components of the urine and prevents crystallization.
Avoiding the consumption of salty food, processed and high protein content foods should be avoided as per the guidelines of a doctor.
Crystals in urine is a highly treatable condition that can be managed by simple lifestyle rectifications. Still, for more critical conditions with underlying medical issues, proper medications help in alleviating the symptoms and curing the disease.