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BackgroundUrinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the commonest bacterial infections in general practice, with urine testing a frequent feature of its management. Urinary dipsticks are widely used, with urine culture the reference standard test. To avoid contamination, patients are advised to discard the first part of the urine stream, retaining the midstream part for the sample. This process, however, can be challenging both to explain and to perform. There is a lack of literature investigating women’s perceptions and understanding of urine sampling.AimTo explore women’s understanding of urine collection, sample contamination, and how information from samples informed UTI management.Design and settingQualitative study embedded in a UK randomised controlled trial (RCT) of urinary collection devices (UCDs) among women attending primary care with a suspected UTI.MethodSemi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with 29 women participating in the RCT. Interviews were transcribed and thematically analysed.ResultsParticipants were not always aware about what midstream samples were and why they were preferable. They also lacked understanding about how urine samples may be contaminated, and sources of contamination. Participants experienced variability in the information received following analysis of their sample.ConclusionProvision of clear information could help provide better urine samples, aiding the diagnosis of UTIs, presenting results with greater clarity, and creating less need for repeat samples. Sharing of information derived from uncontaminated samples may also support better UTI management, helping to reduce unnecessary prescribing and antibiotic resistance.

Original publication




Journal article


British Journal of General Practice


Royal College of General Practitioners

Publication Date



BJGP.2021.0564 - BJGP.2021.0564