Cortisol in Urine
How It Is Done
- You start collecting your urine in the morning.
When you first get up, empty your bladder but do not save this urine. Write
down the time that you urinated. This marks the beginning of your 24-hour
- For the next 24 hours, collect all your urine.
Your doctor or lab will usually provide you with a large container that holds
about 1 gal (4 L). The
container has a small amount of preservative in it. Urinate into a small, clean
container and then pour the urine into the large container. Do not touch the
inside of the container with your fingers.
- Keep the large container
in the refrigerator for the 24 hours.
- Empty your bladder for the
final time at or just before the end of the 24-hour period. Add this urine to
the large container, and record the time.
- Do not get toilet paper,
pubic hair, stool (feces), menstrual blood, or other foreign matter in the
How It Feels
This test does not cause any pain.
Collecting a 24-hour urine sample does not cause problems.
A cortisol test measures the level
hormone cortisol in a 24-hour sample of urine.
These numbers are just a guide. The range for "normal" varies from lab to lab. Your lab may have a different range. Your lab report should show what range your lab uses for "normal." Also, your doctor will evaluate your results based on your health and other factors. So a number that is outside the normal range here may still be normal for you.
Cortisol level in a 24-hour urine sample
Less than 100
micrograms (mcg) or less than 276
5–55 mcg or 14–152
2–27 mcg or 5–75 nmol
High values of cortisol may be caused by:
- Some medicines.
- Pituitary and adrenal tumors, which are usually benign.
This means they are not cancer.
- Some types of cancer, such as adrenal cancer and some rare lung cancers.