When people think of urine collection for urine testing, they think of the traditional “pee-in-a-cup” method. Urine is used in measuring adrenal and sex steroid hormone by-products and their metabolic pathways.
Analyzing urine samples is also helpful for detecting neurotransmitters and elements like iodine and metals like arsenic.
While most researchers and labs are familiar with liquid urine sampling, not as many have experience with dried urine sampling, which is an excellent alternative approach to sample collection and analysis that provides several benefits.
One approach to dried urine sampling involves collecting urine by saturating a filter paper strip or card with a urine sample. Once dried, the urine filter cards are safe and stable for storage and shipment.
This is a convenient method that eliminates the need for jug urine collection (high-volume liquid urine collection).
Advantages of Using Dried Urine Samples
Dried urine collection offers a discreet sampling approach that people can use at home. By using small, remote sampling devices, they can do away with the hassles of all-day liquid urine collection in a jug. Users can collect smaller samples on a different filter strip or a different device tip up to four times a day.
The benefits of dried urine samples include:
Accurate lab analysis – Most labs certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) consider dried urine samples the best for urinalysis when tracking the effectiveness of hormone treatments, or detecting illicit drugs and anabolic steroids in athletes or other subjects.
Convenience and ease of use – Subjects can spot wet urine onto a urine filter paper card or the absorbent tip of a Mitra® device. These are "microsamples," which are dried before sending to the lab for analysis.
Ease of shipment – Once the Mitra device tips are dipped into the urine cup to collect a sample, they are enclosed in their plastic cartridge and sealed in a small specimen pouch that has a packet of drying desiccant (gel silica) inside. The specimen pouch is then slipped into a mailing envelope and sent to the lab that will perform the urine testing.
Less messy – Handling wet urine samples can be messy, awkward and inconvenient—both at home and in the lab. Dried urine sampling is less messy, more convenient, and less likely to be diluted, contaminated, or altered by the test subjects.
Sample stability – Dried urine samples are shelf-stable and can remain for up to 30 days at room temperature.
Many healthcare practitioners are switching to DUTCH (dried urine testing for comprehensive hormones) testing. This approach provides an extensive profile of adrenal and sex hormones in addition to their metabolites.
More clinical labs are also beginning to adopt the DUTCH test, which is the leading approach in hormone panels. It accurately identifies symptoms of hormonal imbalances by creating the complete picture of the hormone levels, which serum or saliva testing cannot provide.
While dried urine sampling offers many benefits, the adoption rate is still somewhat slow among labs. This can be attributed to the fact that most labs are simply more accustomed to wet sampling methods. The process of transitioning from wet to dried urine sampling will require some time, training and practice, but is worth the effort.