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 problem.
For example, a high level of glucose (sugar) in your urine may be a sign of type 2 diabetes. Other reasons for a urine sample include checking if you:
Collecting a urine sample
Your doctor or another healthcare professional should give you a container and explain to you how to collect the urine sample (located in patient toilets).
What are stool samples used for?
Your GP or another healthcare professional may ask you for a stool sample to help them diagnose a health condition or rule it out. Stools contain bacteria that are present in the digestive system. By testing the bacteria in your stools, healthcare professionals can work out what’s happening in your digestive system.
For example, a stool sample can be tested to help diagnose:
There are many ways to collect a stool sample, please seek the advice from a doctor.
You can collect a urine sample at any time of day unless your GP or practice nurse advises you otherwise.
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
- men should wash their penis
- women should wash their genitals, including between the labia (lips around the entrance to the vagina)
- 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, you should also follow those.