A healthcare professional may need you to submit a urine specimen to a laboratory for testing. This is done so to diagnose or rule out various health conditions. Therefore, it’s vital that you collect your specimen properly so that the results are accurate. Here’s a quick guide on how to use a urine specimen jar to collect your sample and submit it to the appropriate healthcare facility.
Use an Appropriate Container
You must ensure that there are no contaminants in the jar. Therefore, you should only use a container that’s sterile and provided to you by a healthcare facility. It should be a screw-top container in the form of a jar or tube. This type of lid ensures that the contents cannot escape and contaminants cannot get into it. You can ask the healthcare facility that will test the specimen to provide the container.
Follow Your Doctor’s Instructions on When to Collect the Specimen
Your doctor may ask you to fill your urine collection tube at a specific time of day or at any random time of the day. Therefore, your doctor or practice nurse may advise you to collect the following types of urine samples:
- First-morning specimen
- Random specimen
- Timed collection
How to Collect Your Urine Specimen
Follow the steps below to ensure that you collect your urine specimen properly. Your diagnosis can depend on whether you perform this process appropriately, so make sure to take care.
- Label your sterile urine specimen jar with your full name, date of birth, and the date that you will fill the container
- Wash your hands thoroughly so that there’s no risk of contamination to the sample and the results of the tests
- Begin urinating in the toilet, and then place the urine collection jar in front of the stream of your pee, collecting the contents (collecting your urine mid-stream provides more accurate results in the tests)
- Remove the container from your urine stream when you’re nearing the end so that you don’t collect the final parts of the urine stream
- After collecting your urine in the collection tube, screw the lid on immediately, making sure that it’s fit tightly
- Place the collection tube aside and wash your hands thoroughly
If your doctor or nurse provided additional specific instructions, make sure that you follow them. The instructions may be critical to the tests they wish to perform on your urine specimen.
How to Store Your Urine Sample
Depending on when you collect your urine specimen, you may not be able to submit it to the appropriate healthcare facility. In that case, you will need to store your urine collection tube appropriately so that the contents of it aren’t adversely affected. That said, you should note that you don’t need to store the specimen container if you can deposit the sample within one hour of collecting it.
To store your urine specimen, place it in a sealed plastic bag. Next, place the container in your refrigerator at 39F (or 4C). Do not store any full urine sample jars for more than 24 hours. Therefore, it’s best to collect the specimen the same day that you can submit it for testing. Keeping your urine specimen outside of the refrigerator can allow the bacteria within it to multiply. Thus, it can affect the accuracy of your test results.
Why a Mid-Stream Urine Specimen Is Necessary
Collecting a urine specimen is when you don’t allow the initial and final parts of the urine stream to enter the container. As a result of this process, there’s a lower risk of bacteria being caught from the sink around your urethra and your hands. Your urethra is the tube that carries urine out of your body.
Healthcare professionals then use a urine transfer device to ensure that there is contamination when they’re testing your urine specimen.
What Urine Specimens Are Used to Test
Your urine typically contains waste products that your body filters out. Therefore, any abnormalities can indicate the presence of a health problem. That is why your doctor may prescribe a urine test to you.
While urine specimens can be used to check for various health conditions, there are some common conditions they check. These include:
- Kidney damage: an ACR test to check if there is a presence of protein in your urine
- Infections, including sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or a urinary tract infection (UTI)
Last Few Words
Collecting and submitting a urine specimen is a relatively straightforward process. That said, it’s important to ensure that you do it properly so that your results are an accurate reflection of your overall health. Moreover, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor questions about this process if necessary.
Visit Med Lock for information about urine specimen collection.