Urine: 24-Hour Collection

On occasion, it’s necessary to obtain a urine collection over a full 24-hour period for certain tests.  Most patients, nurses, even many doctors don’t understand the simple logistics for how to do this.  If you ever need such a test, here’s how to do it.

Main Principle  —  We want to collect the urine that’s filtered by the kidney during exactly 24 hours.  We don’t care about the urine stored in the bladder during the night before we begin.  You should do the test on a day you can hang around the house, since every drop of urine needs to be collected into the container the lab gives you.  It should also be such that the lab is open the following day, to drop it off (don’t start on Sat. if the lab’s closed Sun.).  Soโ€ฆ

1.  When you get up in the morning, urinate into the toilet (that’s all the urine from the night before we begin).  Then write down the time you urinated into the toilet (for example, 7:10 AM).

2.  From then on, all through the day & night, collect all your urine in the container.

3.  The next morning, set the alarm so you’re up by 7:10 (give or take 5 minutes), and urinate into the container to complete the test (the rest of the night’s filtering within our 24-hour period). During the 24 hours, keep the container of urine in your refrigerator (not freezer).  If you’re squeamish, put it in a plastic bag.  But urine is mostly sterile, without any germs.  All the food in the fridge is dirtier than urine.  When the collection is over, drop it off at the lab that same day.

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