Preparing for laboratory tests
A referral is always needed for laboratory tests. Some laboratory tests require preparation. This page contains general instructions about preparing for laboratory tests, collecting samples at home, and getting your results.
The professional who referred you to the laboratory test will give you further information about the test and any preparation needed.
Collecting samples at home
Some samples can be collected at home. The FSHS laboratory in your study town will give you instructions and sample containers. You should bring any samples collected at home to the laboratory within its opening hours.
STD remote testing can also be done at home.
Laboratory test results
The professional who referred you to the laboratory test will tell you how you’ll get the results. If you are unsure, please contact your FSHS service unit.
The test results will also be visible in Self after the professional who referred you has seen them.
Some laboratory examinations and common practices related to them
Several factors prior to sampling affect the results of laboratory examinations. To ensure the reliability of the examination results, you must follow the instructions given by the person referring you for the examination. They will also provide you with additional information about the examination.
The day before blood sampling:
- You can eat normally.
- Avoid alcohol.
The morning of the day of sampling:
- Avoid smoking, coffee, tea and heavy exercise.
- If possible, sit for 15 minutes prior to sampling.
Examinations requiring fasting
- The letter f in front of the type of examination refers to a fasting sample, e.g. fP-Gluk, fS-Folaat.
- Do not eat for 10 to 12 hours prior to sampling. You may drink some water.
Blood samples taken to assess medicine concentrations:
- Take the medication only after blood sampling, unless your doctor instructs otherwise.
- Similarly, do not take thyroxine before thyroid hormone assays.
- The letter U in front of the type of examination refers to a urine sample, e.g. U-KemSeul.
- Urine samples are usually provided in the laboratory. If you provide a sample at home, you must use a sample container or vacuum sample tube you receive from the laboratory or a treatment unit.
- The best sample for basic urine testing is the first urine in the morning or, if later, from urine that has stayed in the bladder for at least 3 to 4 hours. Avoid excessive intake of liquid before providing the sample.
- An initial stream urine sample is taken when it is necessary to examine the accumulated cells in the urine, for instance when testing for chlamydia and gonorrhoea. You should not urinate for at least two hours prior to providing an initial stream urine sample. You should not provide a sample while menstruating or if you have an acute urinary tract infection.
Vaginal discharge samples
- Do not douche before providing a sample.
- You should not provide a sample while menstruating or while you have excessive, blood-streaked discharge.
- You should not provide a sample while taking vaginal medication or antibiotics. Please do not provide a sample any earlier than a week after discontinuing medication.
- Do not use a tampon in the morning of the day you provide a sample.
Gynaecological cervical smear (Pap smear)
- You should not provide a sample while menstruating. Please do not provide a sample any earlier than five days after the last menstruation day.
- You should not provide a sample while taking vaginal medication. We recommend you wait until you have had a period before providing a sample.