This test measures how much of the enzyme amylase is in your urine.
About 40% of the amylase in your body is made by your pancreas. The rest comes from your salivary glands. This test is used to find out if you have a condition that affects your pancreas or your salivary glands. Your amylase levels are usually higher than normal if you have a problem with your pancreas. High levels can also be caused by an infection, cancer, or even alcohol or medicines you are taking.
You may need this test if your healthcare provider thinks your pancreas isn't working as it should.
Symptoms of a swelling of the pancreas (pancreatitis) or another problem with the pancreas include:
Foul-smelling, greasy stools
Abdominal or back pain
Loss of appetite
If you have been diagnosed with pancreatitis, your healthcare provider may order this test to monitor your disease. He or she may also order the test to see how well treatment is working.
Your healthcare provider may also order these tests:
Liver function tests
Many things may affect your lab test results. These include the method each lab uses to do the test. Even if your test results are different from the normal value, you may not have a problem. To learn what the results mean for you, talk with your healthcare provider.
If your amylase levels are higher than normal, you may have one of many conditions. These include:
Sudden swelling of the pancreas (acute pancreatitis)
Chronic pancreatitis that suddenly gets worse
Cancers of the pancreas, breast, colon, ovary, or lung
A sore in the pancreas
A type of cyst in the pancreas (pancreatic pseudocysts)
Swelling in your abdomen (ascites)
Macroamylasemia. This is a noncancer (benign) condition marked by having a substance called macroamylase in your blood.
Peptic ulcer that has a hole in it (perforated ulcer)
Death of tissue in your intestine (intestinal infarction)
Blockage in your intestines
Sudden swelling of the gallbladder (acute cholecystitis)
Ruptured ectopic pregnancy
Salivary gland swelling
Swelling of the lining of your abdomen (peritonitis)
Use of drugs such as morphine
Tumors in the prostate
Eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia nervosa
Inflammatory bowel disease
Higher levels of triglycerides (hypertriglyceridemia)
Your levels may also be higher after a pancreatic test such as a cholangiopancreatography. They may also be higher after surgery or trauma.
Your amylase levels may be lower in these conditions:
This test requires a urine sample usually collected over either a two- or 24-hour period. Your healthcare provider will tell you how to collect the sample.
This test poses no known risks.
If you have high cholesterol or high triglycerides in addition to a pancreatic disorder, your test results might be lower than expected.
A urine sample that has other bodily fluids in it, especially saliva, can affect your test results. Saliva has a level of amylase 700 times higher than that of urine.
You don't need to prepare for this test.