The beauty of the human body is that it communicates with us, and often, it does so through some of the simple functions it performs every day. Like blowing our nose, creating discharge (that one’s for women), having a bowel movement, or just peeing. It may not be common practice for you to look into the toilet after using it — it’s certainly not the most appealing thing in the world – but it’s a good idea to do from time to time – reporting what you see can be one way to help your doctor get some insight into your health. It’s especially important to do if you’re suffering any regular discomfort or other symptoms.
Remember that your kidneys – the great filtration system of your body – create urine. So what you see in your pee can tell you a lot about how your body is doing at eliminating toxins, or what it’s holding onto. Monitoring your urine is also part of recognizing what’s “normal” for your body, so you can also identify when something abnormal occurs. Not everyone knows what’s even considered “normal” for the human bladder. For example, did you know that the regular volume of urine created by the human bladder in a 24-hour period is between 800 and 2,000 milliliters? Here are some other things you may not have known about your urine.
Peeing all of the time
Some people just live with the nuisance of having to pee all of the time. If you’ve always been someone who can’t be far from a bathroom, you may think it’s normal. And while it isn’t necessarily a cause for concern, you could have overactive bladder syndrome. This is categorized by having to pee more than eight times a day, and more than twice at night. For those with overactive bladder syndrome, the need to pee can come on suddenly and feel instantly urgent. There are simple ways to alleviate the condition, like drinking less caffeine and alcohol, and doing Kegels.
When to call a doctor
While in most cases, overactive bladder syndrome is just a nuisance but nothing to worry about, there are other times when it should cause you to call your doctor. If it’s accompanied by discomfort, or sets on late in life for those who haven’t experienced it before, frequent urination can be a sign of vaginal inflammation, diabetes, or bladder cancer or a tumor.
Which level of yellow are you?
There’s a myth that you want your pee to be totally clear. That’s not actually true. If your pee is crystal clear, then you’re likely overhydrating yourself, causing your body to send out the excess water that your organs do not need. Generally, you want your urine to be some degree of yellow. Slightly foggy and light yellow is good and means you’re properly hydrated. If your urine is more of a dark yellow, you may be slightly dehydrated and should drink more water.
Brown or amber
If your urine appears to be a brown or amber-like color, there is a chance that you are very dehydrated. At that point, you may want to go to a pharmacy and seek more intensive forms of rehydration other than just water. However, brown urine can also be a sign of a liver problem, or even hepatitis, and is cause to call your doctor.
Red, pink, or orange
Red, pink, and orange are pretty colors, but you don’t necessarily want to see them in your urine. Unless you’ve consumed something known to cause red urine, like beets or red Gatorade, seeing this color in the toilet is cause for concern. It can indicate an issue with your kidneys like a cyst or kidney disease. Orange urine can be the result of a urinary tract infection, a bile duct issue, or a liver issue. However, there are some medications that cause orange urine.
Colors to raise a concern
Though some medications can cause urine to appear green or blue, call your doctor if this happens. Green, blue, and black are colors for which there are rarely mild reasons to see in your urine. In fact, black urine can be a sign of copper or phenol poisoning, for which you should seek emergency assistance right away.
Some smell is okay
Though slightly musty-smelling urine is unpleasant, it’s usually just a sign of dehydration. So load up on water, and the smell should go away. Also keep in mind that some foods like asparagus, onions, and garlic can make your urine smell. These foods contain certain compounds that come out in your urine and create a foul odor.
Consistent bad smell
If your urine consistently smells bad, or it smells sweet, call your doctor. Foul-smelling pee can be a sign of kidney disease, which causes compounds in the urine to become concentrated and create a smell similar to ammonia. Sweet-smelling urine can be a sign of diabetes, because, when you have diabetes, your body attempts to get rid of the excess glucose through the urine.
Call a doctor if
If you have consistently foul-smelling urine and are at risk for some of the conditions mentioned above, make an appointment with your doctor. However, if the smell is accompanied by burning, fever, chills, and/or back pain, you should seek more immediate medical help, because this can be a sign of a kidney infection or bladder infection.
Foamy pee can be a strange sight to behold. It’s typically just the result of waiting until your bladder is very full to pee – the strong urine stream and volume of urine can create foam, the same way pouring a drink rapidly can. However, if it persists, and you see it even when you do not release a lot of urine, it can be a sign of dehydration or even kidney disease.