Guys, we hardly talk about pee and barely glance at it in the toilet bowl. This body fluid can provide clues to your health status by the changes in color, odor and consistency. You could easily be alarmed by the unusual appearance of your urine but there could be a simple explanation as many of the ingested foods, drinks and medicine can in fact alter the appearance, color and odor.
Why is Your Urine Important?
Urine is an important part of the body’s detox process. The kidney is a sophisticated mechanism of filters through which the blood flows for the removal of excess salts, water and toxic compounds. Typically urine from a healthy individual has high concentration of urea, chloride, sodium, potassium, creatinine and other inorganic and organic compounds. Toxins are also excreted in the urine, and this is why in toxicology forensic analysis of urine is one of the body fluids to be analyzed.
Urine can have a range of colors
During the course of the day our urine can have a variation of colors which can be indicative of the body’s state of hydration. For a well hydrated individual the urine is transparent and pale yellow (straw color). Colorless urine indicates overhydration. On the other hand, dark urine indicates dehydration. Here are a few common abnormal discoloration of the urine:
• Bright yellow urine occurs when vitamins are taken
• Dark yellow urine is concentrated urine which results from dehydration
• Frank blood in the urine can occur with serious pathologies including severe urinary tract infections
• Brownish urine is seen in leptospirosis infection and jaundice
Note any change in the odor
Strong urine odor can be due to bacterial action or the release of ammonia from the breakdown of urea. Diabetics tend to have a sweetish smelling urine when the blood sugar is not well controlled.
Vegetables such as asparagus can give the urine a pungent odor. Many medicines including antibiotics can be detected in the urine due to the strong characteristic odor.
How much urine should I pass in a day?
Some diseases alter the quantity and consistency of urine. On an average we pass 1-2 liters per day. Producing ‘too little’ and ‘too much’ needs medical attention.
How often should I pee?
How often depends on your lifestyle. Health conscious persons imbibe a lot of water exceeding the recommended 8 glasses a day and naturally will pee a lot. It is also not unusually to pee a lot if you are on medication for high blood pressure such as diuretics. Peeing more frequently at nights in comparison to daytime could be a signal of bladder infection or prostate issues.
Other common signs of Illness
Here are some symptoms which require urgent medical consultation: straining to pass urine or hesitancy (delay), commonly are attributed to an enlarged prostate; painful urination is often indicative of a urine infection or passing a kidney stone. Blood in the urine must never be ignored and requires immediate medical consultation. This could be as a result of serious medical problems which include prostate and bladder cancers, blood disorders and severe urinary tract infections.
When in doubt, check it out!
So then guys, your magnificent machine which is your body, is designed to give you signals when something is wrong. Trust these signals as you would the engine light flashing on the dash board of your car. Err on the side of caution and give your healthcare professional a call or visit. Do not delay!