Today marked my 29th day on Urine Therapy.
What Your Urine is Telling You About Your Health
By Sally Wadyka for MSN Health & Fitness
Medically Reviewed by: Pat F. Bass III, M.D., M.S., M.P.H. March 4, 2011
A trip to the toilet may be more revealing than you think. “The appearance and smell of your urine—as well as the frequency with which you have to go—can provide many clues to what else is going on in your body,” says Dr. Michael Farber, director of the Executive Health Program at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, N.J.
If your urine is as colorless as water, well, that’s probably because you’ve been drinking a lot of water. And besides the inconvenience of going to the bathroom many times a day because your bladder is filling up with fluid faster, there’s really nothing medically worrisome about having a light colored output.
If your urine has a brownish, iced tea-colored tinge, that could be a sign that you are dehydrated and the kidney is producing more concentrated (as opposed to diluted) urine. “The urine gives good indications of the body’s level of hydration,” Farber says, “so if a patient complains of dizziness or lightheadedness, you would want to check the urine to rule out dehydration as a cause of the problem.” The ideal shade to strive for is the color of straw. Another reason to get yourself checked out if you see dark urine—especially if it doesn’t lighten up after you drink a few glasses of water—is that the cause could actually be blood. It won’t be as obvious as a bright red drop in the toilet, but it could be a sign of bleeding higher up in the kidney which could indicate an infection, kidney disease or even cancer.
Catching a whiff of something sugary sweet after you pee might actually be a clue to something very serious going on in your body. “A sugary smell might indicate the presence of blood sugar that’s being excreted in the urine,” says Farber. And a high concentration of blood sugar in the urine is one sign of diabetes. The kidney acts as a filter for all sorts of waste that flows through the body. But if your filter is damaged, things can leak out of it and end up being excreted in the urine. In the case of diabetes, excess blood sugar sneaks out through a leaky filter and shows up in the urine. If you are pregnant, changes in the kidney filtration system can result in the presence of sugar in the urine. Whether pregnant or not, if a doctor finds sugar in your urine, he or she should order further tests to determine if diabetes is a concern.
It can be a little bit disconcerting, but, smelling an odd odor when you pee is probably nothing to be worried about. Certain foods—asparagus, most notoriously—produce a sulfur-containing amino acid. So when the food is broken down in the digestive system, those smelly substances are released, filtered through the kidney, and then make their way into the urine where they create an unpleasant scent. As soon as the food responsible has been fully digested and flushed from your system completely, the smell will vanish as well.
Urine that looks nearly neon-colored may seem somewhat alarming, but the cause is most likely nothing more sinister than your daily multivitamin pill. “The B vitamins and carotene in particular give the urine a deeper, more golden color,” says Dr. Deborah J. Lightner, associate professor of urology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. And don’t worry: That brightly colored urine means you’re simply pissing away all of your expensive supplements. The urine color can be affected as the vitamins filter through your system—even as they are being absorbed and utilized.
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