What are urine samples used for?
Your GP or another healthcare professional may ask for a urine sample to help them 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. Common reasons for being asked to provide a urine sample include;
- to diagnose or monitor certain conditions such as type 2 diabetes
- to check for a urinary tract infection (UTI)
- to check for a sexually transmitted infection (STI)
- to confirm that you are pregnant
What do I need to know about collecting a urine sample?
If you are in the practice your GP or nurse will give you a container and explain how to collect a urine sample. On certain occasions you might be asked to provide a urine sample by letter or over the phone. In these instances you can collect a sample container from our reception desk. It is important that your sample is received before 3pm on any day that we are open, this will mean we can send it off for lab testing if required. Samples cannot be stored after this time and therefore a new sample would need to be provided.
To collect a clean urine sample you should:
- label the container with your name, date of birth and the date
- wash your hands
- wash your genitalia to avoid contamination
- start to urinate but don’t collect the first part of urine that comes out
- collect a sample of urine ‘mid-stream’ in a sample container provided by the practice
- screw the lid of the container shut
- wash your hands thoroughly
As long as the sample is clean and properly labelled you can drop the sample container in at the reception desk. If you can’t hand your urine sample in within an hour, you should keep it in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge (for no longer than 24 hours) to prevent bacteria multiplying and affecting the test results.
You can collect a urine sample at any time of day unless your GP or practice nurse advises you otherwise. If your doctor gives you any other instructions, you should also follow these.
What is a mid-stream urine sample?
A mid-stream urine sample means that you don’t collect the first part of urine that comes out or the last part. This reduces the risk of the sample being contaminated with bacteria from:
- your hands
- the skin around the urethra (tube that carries urine out of the body)
How long will I have to wait for a result?
Many urine samples can be quickly analysed using dipstick analysis so you should know the result immediately if you are in the practice or within 24 hours if you have dropped a urine sample off to us.
For some more complex tests we need to send your urine sample off for laboratory testing at one of the local hospitals. In these instances it might take up to 5 days for results to come back to the practice. These are sent electronically and are checked every day. We will not routinely inform you if the results are normal.