A urine collection device or UCD is a device that allows the collection of urine for analysis (as in medical or forensic urinalysis) or for purposes of simple elimination (as in vehicles engaged in long voyages and not equipped with toilets, particularly aircraft and spacecraft). UCDs of the latter type are sometimes called piddle packs.
A urine collection device is a simple utensil that allows an individual to empty his or her bladder into a container hygienically and without spilling urine.
UCDs for urinalysis
Special UCDs exist for the collection of urine samples for subsequent urinalysis. They range from a simple plastic cup to elaborate devices designed to collect specific volumes or types of urine samples at various points in the micturition process. Two of the most popular urine collection devices are the urine beaker cup and the urine cup with screw lid.
A related type of device is used for urine collection in bedridden and unconscious patients. This type of UCD usually includes a catheter inserted directly into the urethra of the patient in order to collect all urine as it is produced or whenever micturition occurs.
UCDs for elimination
A common use of UCDs is in military fighter aircraft. Small aircraft such as fighter planes are not equipped with toilets, but pilots are sometimes required to fly them for several hours continuously. Since most people produce enough urine to fill their bladders after only a few hours under normal conditions, some method must be provided to allow a pilot to empty his bladder without leaving his seat in the cockpit. A UCD makes this possible. UCDs are also used on spacecraft and occasionally in other vehicles, for the same reasons.
A typical UCD consists of a small container with a dehydrated sponge inside, connected to a tube which in turn is connected to a funnel-like orifice that is adapted to the user's anatomy (different designs are used for men as compared to women). The user simply holds the funnel near or on his penis or her vulva, as the case may be, and urinates into the tube, with the collected urine saturating the sponge (which may be impregnated with disinfectants and odor-control substances) and filling the container. UCDs are designed to be used in cramped quarters without requiring that the user rise from his seated position in the cockpit. In most cases, the user wears special clothing that can easily be opened to permit use of the UCD (e.g., special zippers in flight suits).
See Urine Specimen Cup for more information on urine collection cups.