The cortisol urine test measures the level of cortisol in the urine. Cortisol is a steroid (glucocorticoid) hormone produced by the adrenal gland.
Cortisol can also be measured using a blood test.
A 24-hour urine sample is needed. You will need to collect your urine over 24 hours. Your health care provider will tell you how to do this. Follow instructions exactly so that the results are accurate.
Because cortisol level rises and falls throughout the day, the test may need to be done three or more separate times to get a more accurate picture of average cortisol production.
You may also be asked not to do any vigorous exercising the day before the test.
You may also be told to temporarily stop taking medicines that can affect the test, including:
The test involves only normal urination. There is no discomfort.
The test is done to check for increased or decreased cortisol production. Cortisol is a glucocorticoid (steroid) hormone released from the adrenal gland in response to adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). This is a hormone released from the pituitary gland in the brain. Cortisol affects many different body systems. It plays a role in:
Normal range is 10 to 100 micrograms per 24 hours (mcg/24h).
Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or may test different specimens. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
A higher than normal level may indicate:
A lower than normal level may indicate:
There are no risks with this test.
24-hour urinary free cortisol (UFC)
Guber HA, Farag AF. Evaluation of endocrine function. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 24.
Stewart PM, Krone NP. The adrenal cortex. In: Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, Kronenberg HM, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 15.
Updated by: Brent Wisse, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Nutrition, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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