Drugs and medical conditions are two factors that can affect the levels of amylase in urine. Amylase is normally found in the body, but at unusual levels, it can indicate problems relating to the pancreas. In general, having certain drugs in the system can contribute to increased levels of amylase and will lead to inaccurate measurements because the purpose of testing for amylase in urine is to diagnose or monitor medical conditions. Depending on the medical condition, a person’s amylase level might be lower or higher than normal. To measure amylase levels in urine, a person gives a urine sample.
Aspirin, birth control pills and corticosteroids are examples of drugs that can cause an increase of amylase in urine. Since drugs affect amylase levels, a doctor might advise a person to stop taking certain medications prior to taking an amylase urine test so that amylase measurements are more exact. In addition to drugs, a decrease or increase of amylase in urine can indicate that a person has a certain medical condition. Kidney disease, pancreatic cancer and preeclampsia are medical conditions that can be responsible for a decrease in amylase. At the same time, an increased level might be due to conditions such as acute pancreatitis, pelvic inflammatory disease or salivary gland infection.
Amylase itself is a type of enzyme made by the pancreas, as well as by the salivary glands. This enzyme enables the body to break down and digest carbohydrates, such as starch. In general, there are two different ways to measure amylase in urine. Both of these methods involve a urine sample, but the difference is in the amount of the sample, as well as the length of time it takes to collect the sample. The two different tests are a clean-catch urine test and a 24-hour urine test.
A clean-catch urine test involves taking a single sample, while a 24-hour urine test involves collecting urine throughout a 24-hour period. These tests are harmless and, in general, only require a person to urinate as he or she normally would. For a single sample, all a person needs to do is fill a sample cup with his or her urine during a one-time trip to the bathroom. A 24-hour sample, on the other hand, requires a person to urinate into a container every time he or she needs to, for 24 hours. The urine in this container is the entire sample.