HCG in urine

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Definition

This type of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) test measures the specific level of HCG in the urine. HCG is a hormone produced in the body during pregnancy.

Other HCG tests include:

Alternative Names

Beta-HCG - urine; Human chorionic gonadotropin - urine

How the Test is Performed

To collect a urine sample, you urinate into a special (sterile) cup. Home pregnancy tests require the test strip to be dipped into the urine sample or passed through the urine stream while urinating. Carefully follow package directions.

Usually a urine sample taken the first time you urinate in the morning is best. This is when urine is the most concentrated and has enough HCG to be detected.

How to Prepare for the Test

No special preparation is needed.

How the Test will Feel

The test involves urinating into a cup or onto a test strip.

Why the Test is Performed

Urine HCG tests are a common method of determining if a woman is pregnant. The best time to test for pregnancy at home is after you miss your period.

Normal Results

  • The test is negative if you are not pregnant.
  • The test is positive if you are pregnant.

A pregnancy test, including a properly performed home pregnancy test, is considered to be very accurate. Positive results are more likely to be accurate than negative results. When the test is negative but pregnancy is still suspected, the test should be repeated in 1 week.

Risks

There are no risks, except for false positive or false negative results.

References

Morrison LJ. General approach to the pregnant patient. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2009:chap 175.

Warner EA, Herold AH. Interpreting laboratory tests. In: Rakel RE, ed. Textbook of Family Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 15.

Webster RA. Reproductive function and pregnancy. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 25.

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 11/16/2014
  • Cynthia D. White, MD, Fellow American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Group Health Cooperative, Bellevue, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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