What your urine says about your health
KIDNEYS filter out toxins and balance fluid in the body to secrete urine. Toxins, bacteria, excess protein and sugar, etc. circulating in your body ultimately make their way into the urine. Hence urine can provide important clues about what’s happening in the body.
The colour, odour, and consistency of urine, and how often you feel the urge to go can all tell a lot more about the status of your health.
Noticing a change in urine may indicate something as harmless as what you ate to something as threatening as cancer.
Here are the changes that you might see in your urine and what it says about your health: Colour change — what shade is it? The characteristic yellow colour of your urine is due to a pigment called urochrome or urobilin. Depending on the concentration of urine, its colour varies from clear to deep amber. Your urine changes colour depending on what you eat or drink, what medications you take, etc.
Clear: When you are sufficiently hydrated, you will have clear urine. Diuretic medicine could also have the same effect. Deep yellow: This means you are dehydrated. Reddish hue: Liver disease causes jaundice which turns the urine darker. Intake of beetroot, iron supplementation, food colourings, etc. can give a red hue to your urine.
Blood Red: Red colour urine may also be a sign of blood in urine (haematuria) due to urinary tract infection, kidney stones or cancer of the kidney.
Rich wine red: Porphyria, a genetic disorder, can give the classic “port wine colour to the urine”.
Green or blue: Certain medications, food colouring, urinary tract infections due to pseudomonas bacteria, etc. can turn your urine green or blue.
Brown or black: Your urine may turn brown or black if you suffer from a condition called alkaptonuria, a rare inherited genetic disorder in which your body cannot break down amino acids phenylalanine and tyrosine. Odour change – how does it smell? Changes in urine odour could indicate a medical condition. In fact, dogs have been shown to actually “smell cancer” in urine. The odour of urine is normally mild. Dehydration can cause your urine to have a stronger than normal smell. Foods like asparagus, garlic, etc. can pass their characteristic smells on to the urine. Pungent smelling ammonia-like urine odour could be a sign of urinary tract infection. If your urine smells sweet you could be diabetic. A strong, stale urine odour can be a sign of liver disease and certain metabolic disorders. Consistency of urine – clear or cloudy? Too much of protein in your diet may cause your urine to be frothy and foamy. Constantly cloudy urine may indicate an infection. Stones in your kidney can also make your urine cloudy.
Frequency – how often do you feel the need to go?
The frequency of urination can be an important indicator of your health. Usually, how often you feel the need to go depends on how much fluid you drink. But increased frequency even after limited fluid intake and the urge to go more often may be a sign of bladder inflammation, overactive bladder, diabetes, benign prostate enlargement, etc.
Meanwhile, oliguria is a decreased output of urine — below 400 millilitres of urine over a period of 24 hours. Anuria is complete absence of urine or less than 50 millilitres of urine output in a 24-hour period. Dehydration, urinary tract obstruction, or blockage, some medications, end-stage kidney disease, severe fluid loss (hypovolemic shock), etc. can make you not go to the bathroom enough.