How to collect a urine sample?
Some of the tests on LabsDirect require you to provide a urine sample for testing. Although it seems simple enough to urinate in a cup, some tests are quite specific about how samples should be collected and when, so we thought we would be a good idea to provide a little more information about urine samples and also a bit more information on the terminology used to describe specimen collection methods.
Is there anything I need to do in preparation for providing a urine sample?
Before taking a sample, make sure that you fill out the details on the collection bottle. It’s also important to ensure that you don’t open the sample container before you are ready to start collecting a sample. The bottles provided have been sterilised to avoid any other elements from influencing the contents and risk influencing the results, so it’s important not to open it before you are ready to use it.
Make sure that you wash your hands before and after collecting a sample and you also make sure genitals are clean and dry before starting. Men are advised to pull back their foreskin when urinating, as bacteria often tend to collect in this area and could influence the sample you are collecting.
At what time of day is it best to collect a sample?
Although you can collect a urine sample at any point during the day, urine collected first thing in the morning tends to be more concentrated and can help provide more conclusive results. However, it’s important to read the test instructions for the best indication of when to collect a specimen. Some tests may require you to avoid urinating for at least three hours beforehand.
At what point during urination should I start collecting?
A test will normally specify whether you should collect urine when you first start urinating or mid-flow. Mid-stream specimen urine (MSU) should be collected not when you start urinating and not at the end but half-way through, this way it will make it less likely that the sample will be contaminated by bacteria present around the genitals.
However, some tests may request that you get a first-catch urine specimen, which requires you to start collecting urine from the first drop, preferably first thing in the morning.