What Does the Color of Your Urine Tell You about Your Health?
You’re a modern man. You try to stay fit, educated, personable. You want to be the whole package. Part of living up to that expectation is to take good control of your health. Now, we don’t all have time to go through med school and learn everything there is to know about the human body. Instead, we need faster, easier to understand methods to keep an eye on our health. Can you poop out a hemorrhoid? Maybe, but that topic is for another day. Today, you’re going to be introduced to health detectors in your urine.
Reading the Rainbow
Your urine is a crystal ball that reveals important secrets regarding your health. It can identify what you’ve been eating and how your body is processing foods, medications and naturally produced chemicals. It can predict how well you’re sleeping, how alert you are through the day and tip your doctor off to serious health problems. It all comes down to reading the hues.
It’s pretty common to see urine with no color at all. Usually, this happens when you’ve been peeing quite frequently. Despite what your father or drill instructor may have told you at some point, this isn’t the ideal color for urine. When it’s clear, that means your electrolyte count is actually a little low. This is nothing dangerous, but having low electrolyte counts is actually about as bad as being a little dehydrated. It messes with the efficiency of your neural system. If you have clear pee, it’s ok to drink a little less water or consume some electrolytes. It can be a great excuse to enjoy something salty.
This is the actual ideal color. When there’s a little bit of yellow in the urine, it shows that your water and electrolytes are right in the sweet spot. Urine like this usually accompanies good energy levels and feelings of alertness. It should always be your goal to tweak your piss color towards this end. When you see this color in the toilet, pat yourself on the back. But, maybe wash your hands first.
A bright or deep yellow color puts you on the opposite side of clear urine. The extra yellow color shows that you have a higher concentration of electrolytes in the bloodstream. That’s best fixed by drinking a glass of water.
Let’s take a moment to set the record straight on something. Yellow urine does not mean you are dehydrated. Dehydration is a medical term for a serious condition. When you’re dehydrated, your body can’t function properly. Bright yellow urine denotes sub-optimal hydration. You will probably feel a little sharper and more alert if you drink some water, but it’s not an indicator that your health is in danger. We've all had that coach who told us that by the time you're thirsty you're dehydrated. They're wrong, and now you can throw it in their face. You're welcome.
Now we’re getting away from standard urine colors. A number of things can add a redish hue to urine. Some of them are harmless, and some of them are indicators of health problems. Let’s start with the good source of red. Beets and a number of berries in your diet can add a tinge of red to urine. If you see a little pink when you drain the tank and you’ve been eating these foods, there’s nothing to worry about.
If you don’t have berries or beets in your diet, then the red hues are more likely from a little bit of blood in the urine. Before you panic, this isn’t necessarily a medical emergency. It’s pretty common for urinary tract infections (UTIs) to create this result. So, if you see the red/pink and you’re not 100-percent sure it’s from food you ate, it’s probably best to consult a physician. UTIs aren’t the end of the world, but you definitely want to get that stuff treated sooner than later.
Orange is a mostly harmless color for urine. It’s also uncommon. Basically, only things you consume will turn your piss this color. The most common contributors are medications. Drugs that specifically treat the urinary tract are known to come with this side effect. Additionally, drinking a lot of orange juice can tinge your pee a little. Less commonly, carrots can do the same thing. So, if you see orange urine, it’s probably something you ate or took. If, however, this comes suddenly without a change in medication or diet, it’s worth mentioning to your doctor. Chances are you’re fine, but a little caution never hurts.
Most of the time, this color of urine comes from one of two sources. The first is bacteria. A bacterial infection in the urinary tract is known to turn piss a deep shade of bluish green. Don’t let your hypochondria get away from you. A mild green or blue hue is not an indicator of infection.
The other common source of blue or green urine is catheters. Hopefully, you know whether or not you have a catheter placed right now. If you do, and you notice this color, mention it to your healthcare team. They’ll want to make sure the catheter hasn’t caused an infection.
Now, there is a third consideration. If you notice a light green color in your piss, it’s probably from eating asparagus. That’s right; it does more than just make your piss smell bad. It can tinge it green too.
We’ve covered a lot of stuff up to this point. This is where you need to pay attention. Brown is by far the scariest color of urine. If you see this, stop what you’re doing and go to the hospital. A few different things can cause urine to be brown, and they’re potentially deadly.
The most common source of brown (or cola-colored) urine is liver disease. When the liver has certain problems, it releases toxic proteins into your bloodstream. Those proteins can cause your kidneys to shut down. They also turn your urine brown.
The other source of brown urine is blood. Unlike the red and pink hues, brown blood indicates a serious problem. It can come from serious internal bleeding or from passing blood clots through your kidneys. Neither of those situations should ever be ignored or treated lightly.
Ok, cloudy isn’t a color. It’s still worth mentioning. It also lets us finish on a lighter tone. That brown urine stuff was intense. Cloudy urine comes from having protein in your pee. Now, contrary to what you just read, not all proteins that can get in your pee stream are dangerous. The brown stuff is toxic. Cloudy stuff is normal. If you see this in your urine, it reflects your diet. You probably eat a lot of protein, so maybe you’re trying the keto thing (or whatever else they call this fad when it circles back around in the future). It’s nothing to worry about. It just shows what you’ve been eating.
That covers the bulk of different urine colors that you might expect to see in the bowl. If you release something not on the list, go ahead and get yourself checked. You might need a shot of penicillin. It’s either that or your manhood is playing host to something yet undiscovered.
All jokes aside, it’s important to keep a watchful eye on your urine. At minimum, it’s your guide to peak hydration and the improved health that comes with it. In more important cases, it can get you on the path to a treatment that you really need. Most importantly, keeping at least an eye on the bowl will help your aim. Cleaning piss stains off of the bathroom isn’t fun for anyone. So, until next time, watch what comes out of your body and stay tuned for more vital life lessons.
Up next: Learn the answer to the question, "Why do I like the smell of my farts?"