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
Please do not provide a urine sample unless you have been asked to do so by a GP or healthcare professional. This is so that any symptoms can be assessed, medications started if appropriate, and the appropriate tests arranged for the sample.
What do I need to know about collecting a urine sample?
If you are in a practice your GP or nurse will give you a container and explain who to collect a urine sample. On certain occasions you might be asked to provide a urine sample after contact by letter or over the phone. In these instances, you can collect a sample container from our Reception Desk.
To collect a clean urine sample you should:
- label the container with your name, date of birth and the date of the specimen
- wash your hands
- wash your genitalia to avoid contamination
- start to urinate but don’t collect the first part of the 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 cannot hand your urine sample within an hour, you should keep 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 the day unless your GP or practice nurse advises you otherwise. If your healthcare professional gives you any other instructions, you should follow these.
What is a mid-stream urine sample?
A mid-stream urine sample means that you don’t collect the first part of the 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 the results to come back to the practice. These are sent electronically and checked every day by our Clinical Team. If there is a cause for concern we will contact you by phone, text or letter within 24 hours of receiving the result.
We will not routinely contact you if the results are normal.