24-Hour Urine Collection
What is a 24-hour urine collection?
A 24-hour urine collection is a simple lab test that measures what’s in your urine. The test is used to check kidney function. A 24-hour urine collection is done by collecting your urine in a special container over a full 24-hour period. The container must be kept cool until the urine is returned to the lab.
Urine is made up of water and dissolved chemicals, such as sodium and potassium. It also contains urea. This is made when protein breaks down. And it contains creatinine, which is formed from muscle breakdown. Normally, urine contains certain amounts of these waste products. It may be a sign of a certain disease or condition if these amounts are not within a normal range. Or if other substances are present.
Why might I need a 24-hour urine collection?
A 24-hour urine collection helps diagnose kidney problems. It is often done to see how much creatinine clears through the kidneys. It’s also done to measure protein, hormones, minerals, and other chemical compounds.
What happens during a 24-hour urine collection?
Generally, a 24-hour urine collection follows this process:
You will be given a container for storing your urine. A brown plastic container is typically used.(you will need a container in which the urine must be collected) NOT GIVEN.
You will need to transfer the urine from the collecting container to the storage container. You will need to keep it cold.
The 24-hour collection may start at any time during the day after you urinate. But your healthcare provider may tell you when to start. It is common to start the collection the first thing in the morning. It is important to collect all urine in the following 24-hour period.
Don’t save the urine from your first time urinating. Flush this first specimen, but note the time. This is the start time of the 24-hour collection.
All urine, after the first flushed specimen, must be saved, stored, and kept cold. This means keeping it either on ice or in a refrigerator for the next 24 hours.
Try to urinate again at the same time, 24 hours after the start time, to finish the collection process. If you can’t urinate at this time, it is OK.
Once the urine collection has been completed, the urine containers need to be taken to the lab as soon as possible. If you are doing the urine collection at home, you will be given instructions on how and where to take it.
Depending on your specific health problem, you may be asked to repeat the collection over several days.