What Your Pee Says About Your Health
Want To Keep Closer Tabs On What’s Going On Inside Your Body?
Let’s face it, most of us don’t give much thought to our pee before we flush it down. But if you take a peek at the bowl after going number 1, the basic details of your urine – the color, smell and how often you go – can reveal quite a bit about what’s going on inside of your body. For example, your urine can tell you whether or not you’re dehydrated, fighting off an infection, or even suffering from a more serious medical condition, so it’s worth keeping tabs on.
What Color Is Your Pee?
Your urine is the liquid waste produced by your kidneys as they filter toxins and other waste products from your blood, and is made up primarily of water, salt and chemicals called urea and uric acid. Ideally, if you’re healthy and these are all present in normal amounts, the color should be a pale straw-hued yellow. That tint comes from a pigment called urochrome produced by your body. The infographic below, from the Cleveland Clinic, lists other colors that might show up and what they indicate about your health.
What’s That Smell?
Urine doesn’t usually have a strong smell, but certain foods (especially asparagus) or supplements (especially B6) can change its odor. A strong smell of ammonia usually means you’re dehydrated. UTIs, diabetes, bladder infections and other metabolic diseases can also change the smell of your urine.
How Often Should You Be Going?
Most normal, healthy individuals will empty their bladder up to eight times per day, and seniors and pregnant women will usually have to go more often. If you notice a sudden increase in the number of times you’re running to the bathroom though, it could be a sign of a health issue like diabetes, an enlarged prostate, vaginitis, a UTI or interstitial cystitis of the bladder.
When It’s Time To Get Checked Out
If you see a sudden change in the color, smell or frequency of your urine that you can’t link to medication or your diet, especially if it lasts more than a day and/or comes with a fever, vomiting, back pain or discharge, it’s time to schedule a visit to your primary care doctor to see what’s going on.