Check Your Urine! What Your Pee Says About Your Health
Your urine is probably something you don’t spend a lot of time thinking about. Before it even swirls out of sight down the toilet, you’ve probably already moved on to your next order of business. If anything, the urge to pee can be an annoying inconvenience that requires you to get out of bed early in the morning or sneak out of a movie theater mid-show. But as mundane as it may seem, your pee provides significant insight into the health of your body. The color, smell, and consistency of your urine can reveal your hydration levels, what foods you’ve been eating, and can alert you to any hidden health problems.
Historically, a person’s urine was one of the key ways to determine what was happening inside the body. Urine removes toxins and water-soluble wastes from the body including yeast, bacteria, and excess protein and sugar. It can provide a simple reminder of what you had for dinner last night (hello, asparagus pee), but it can also act as a warning sign of an internal infection or even cancer. Next time you need to unload your bladder take an extra moment to give your urine more than a disinterested glance and keep an eye out for the following indications.
If your pee is no different than the toilet bowl water, it may be a sign you’re actually drinking too much water. Didn’t think this was possible? While article after article touts the importance of drinking plenty of water, there are some rare but dangerous risks that come along with drinking more than enough H2O, including diluting your body’s necessary salt supply.
Pale straw color to dark yellow
As along as you stay within the spectrum of very pale, straw colored urine and a darker yellow shade, you can rest assured that your body is at a healthy hydration level. A very light yellow sample means you are drinking ample water and your system is healthy and well hydrated. If your pee is dark yellow, you are at a normal water level but should drink some water soon.
Amber or honey colored
You may notice your pee in the morning is typically a darker shade of orangey-yellow. This is because you’ve been sleeping for the past several hours and haven’t been drinking any water. If your urine is amber or honey colored regularly during the day, your body is trying to tell you that you’re not drinking enough fluid. When you aren’t giving your body enough water, it will hold onto fluid making your urine strong, concentrated, and darker in color. When this happens make an attempt to increase hydration.
Syrup or brown ale colored
Light brown urine is a sign of either severe dehydration or liver disease. If it’s the former, you’ll need to immediately drink water and make it a point to significantly increase your water consumption. If the brownish color persists once you increase your water intake, make an appointment to see your doctor to see if the color is connected to a liver problem. Jaundiced skin and eyes are also a sign of liver disease.
Pink to reddish-color
While seeing pink to red colored urine may look alarming, if you’ve been snacking on plenty of red foods like beets, rhubarb, or blueberries, the color may be attributed to those foods’ natural red pigments. If not, you’ll want to waste no time in visiting a doctor. Pink or red colored urine could be a sign of a urinary tract infection, kidney infection, kidney stones, or even cancer of the kidney, bladder, or prostate.
Even though it may look like alien pee, urine that is blue-green in color is probably harmless. It can be a side effect of some oral medications or could be from artificial food dyes. While unlikely, there is a rare inherited disorder that can make urine an unnatural blue shade.
Foaming or fizzing
While this bubbly phenomenon may just be from the force of your urine exiting your body, it can also be a sign that you’re getting too much protein or have a kidney problem. If you notice this foaming or fizzing quality every time you pee, make an appointment with your doctor or try cutting back on your protein intake.