Your doctor or other health professional may ask for a urine sample to help diagnose or rule out health conditions. Urine contains waste products that are filtered out of the body. If it contains anything unusual, this may indicate an underlying health condition such as:
- organ function (kidney or other)
- infection of the urinary tract
Collecting a urine sample
Your doctor or another healthcare professional should give you a container and explain how you should collect the urine sample.
The types of urine sample you might be asked for include a random specimen, first morning specimen or timed collection.
To collect a clean urine sample:
- label the container with your name, date of birth and the date
- wash your hands
- start to urinate, but don’t collect the first part of urine that comes out
- collect a sample of urine "mid-stream" (see below) in a sterile screw-top container
- screw the lid of the container shut
- wash your hands thoroughly
If your doctor gives you any other instructions, follow these.
What is a mid-stream urine sample?
A mid-stream urine sample means that you don’t collect the first or last part of urine that comes out. This reduces the risk of the sample being contaminated with bacteria.
Urine for Microbiology
Genitalia should be washed and dried before collection, with plain water. Please collect the sample from mid-stream urine.
Storing a urine sample until you hand it in
If you can’t hand your urine sample in within an hour, you should keep it in the fridge at around 4C (39F) for no longer than 24 hours. Put the container of urine in a sealed plastic bag first. If the urine sample isn’t kept in a fridge, the bacteria in it can multiply. If this happens, it could affect the test results.