180 Nutrition: For most people, urination is nothing more than a bodily function that is necessary in direct relation to how much fluid you’ve drunk.
A healthy person’s kidneys work to remove the soluble waste, water, and harmful toxins from the bloodstream and the fluid is then excreted into the toilet bowl in the form of what is commonly known as pee.
It’s a safe bet that urination is a biological function that many of you don’t even consider. Drink, pee, repeat. But did you know that your urine is one of the leading indicators of a more serious health concern within the body.
Doctors regularly take urine samples to detect illness, and in fact, detecting changes in your urine can also highlight you to hidden health problems if you pay a little more attention.
It’s important that you learn to understand what’s normal with your urine so you can identify any changes and detect potential illness early on. Here are five things to look out for every time you pee.
Urine can vary in colour from extremely dark to almost transparent. The clearer your urine the better, because that means that you’re adequately hydrated and there are few toxins in your stream as they’ve all been emitted.
If you regularly drink enough water throughout each day, you’ll probably notice that your pee is darker, or more brown or orange in colour, first thing in the morning as the toxins have built up overnight as you haven’t had the chance to rehydrate. Learn more about the importance of staying hydrated here.
Dehydration is the most likely cause of dark urine, so if you’re drinking two to three litres a day yet you’re still not getting the clear wee that you need, you could potentially have any of the following problems:
- Liver disease such as hepatitis or cirrhosis
- Kidney malfunction
If your urine is cloudy, it’s important that you get checked for STIs such as chlamydia or a urinary tract infection such as cystitis.
While dark urine is often nothing more than simple dehydration, many illnesses don’t display any other symptoms in the early stages, so it’s important to get it checked if this is unusual for you.
The food you eat can also affect the colour of your pee so if you’ve recently had a big serve of beetroot, give this enough time to pass before you panic over the colour of your urine.
A healthy pee range is anywhere between six and ten times a day, but this is just an average as everyone is so different. If you’re going much less, or much more than this, or indeed, if the frequency suddenly changes without you making any changes to your lifestyle this could indicate a problem. Feeling like you need to wee constantly could be a sign of a urinary tract infection such as cystitis and infrequent urination could be the sign of kidney malfunction.
If you’re drinking enough water, your urine should be odourless apart from a faint smell of chemicals, this is nothing to worry about and is just the toxins released from your body.
If the smell becomes pungent, certain foods such as asparagus can cause this too so think back to what you’ve eaten, and if food is the offender, this should clear up within a couple of days.
An offensive odour can be the sign of a serious health concern so if you haven’t eaten anything suspicious and there is a noticeable change in the smell of your urine; you’ll need a check-up by a health professional.
The cause of the odour could be something as small as a yeast infection, or a more severe urinary tract infection which may need medical intervention. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can also cause a smell in your urine.
Blood in your urine is never a good sign, but foods such as beetroot and berries can turn your pee pink or red for a short period. If you haven’t eaten red foods in a while and your urine is pink, red or has noticeable blood in it, you need to see a doctor urgently. This could be a symptom of a UTI or a more severe kidney infection.
The only thing you should feel when you urinate is relief if you’ve been holding on too long! If urinating burns or causes pain, you might have a bacterial infection, a sexually transmitted infection or high levels of inflammation in your body.
Drink two to three litres a water a day recommended for optimum health and your urine should be clear, odour free and painless to pass. Everyone is different of course, and this is largely dependent on the amount of water you’ve drunk to flush out toxins and the level of chemicals in your food.
If you notice any dramatic differences that don’t clear up quickly, make an appointment with a medical professional.