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Urine speaks – reads more

Let’s face it, many people don’t give much thought to their urine and they flush it once they have done their, well, ‘business’. But the basic details of your urine can give you a hint about what’s going on inside your body. Because urine is so useful in giving a diagnosis, it can be helpful to become familiar with what different colours of your pee can potentially mean

1. Pink or pinkish-red

Have you eaten beets or blue berries recently? If your answer is ‘No’, you may have blood in your urine. Conditions that can cause urinary blood include urinary tract infections, enlarged prostate, cancerous and non-cancerous tumours, kidney cysts, and kidney or bladder stones.

Maybe even lead or mercury poisoning. In addition, red urine can also be caused by intense exercise. Aerobic exercise can cause the breakdown of red blood cells, which could lead to a slight tinge of pink.

2. Clear

Completely clear urine can be a sign of overhydration (yes, there is such a thing!). Drinking too many fluids can actually flush out electrolytes too quickly, which can lead to imbalances and lightheadedness in the short term.

3. White, cloudy, or murky

This can be caused by kidney stones and/or a urinary tract infection (UTI). In some cases, it can also be a condition called chyluria, a rare lymphatic flow disorder.

4. Orange

Orange-tinted pee could be a sign of excessive dehydration, or an indication of liver or bile duct problems. Certain drugs, such as vitamin B2, or laxatives might also be to blame. Eating rhubarb or fava beans also turn urine a darker colour.

5. Brown

It could be a pigment from something you ate, but it could also be a side effect of liver disease. Rhabdomyolysis, a side effect of extreme exercise or trauma, can turn your pee brown.

This is as a result of release of protein into the bloodstream that’s toxic to the kidneys. Brown-looking pee can also be from blood. Blood in the urinary tract may form a clot and turn the urine a very dark colour if not peed out quickly.

It takes a while for urine to travel from the kidneys, where it is produced, down to your bladder, and not everyone completely empties their bladder every time they pee. If this is the case, you may not have bleeding in your kidneys or bladder right now, but because you did at some point, you should have the issue addressed.

6. Green

Pseudomonas is a bacteria that can cause UTIs, and turn your urine a deep shade of bluish green. It’s pretty unusual, and most often happens in people with catheters, but it’s something to be aware of. In addition, some common medications can turn urine green, so be sure to rule these out first.

7. Foamy

Maybe you’ve jumped on the ketogenic diet bandwagon or you just love steak. Either way, eating a very high-protein diet can occasionally result in protein in the urine and cause it to appear foamy. This can also happen in people with kidney disease. In some cases, cloudy or milky-looking urine can also be a sign of infection. It could also be a sign of pregnancy in some cases.

8. Bright yellow

Does your morning regimen include popping handfuls of vitamins and supplements? High-dose vitamins can turn your pee a bright, almost neon yellow colour.

The most common culprit is vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, which is found in most multivitamins. The neon colour in pee is just a harmless sign that you’re taking more than your body needs, and the excess is mixing with your pee.

9. Transparent yellow or slightly dark yellow

Wondering what colour is ‘normal’ for urine? Typically, if you’re well hydrated, your urine will be a pale yellow hue.

10. If your urine is smelly…

This is a bonus point, don’t forget the smell of your pee. Well, let’s be honest, urine doesn’t have the best odour; but you can tell when there is a foul smell.

A change in the odour of your urine may simply be due to something you ate. Dehydration can cause your pee to smell like ammonia, and vitamin B6 supplements may alter the odour as well. Other strong smells can also be the result of a UTI, diabetes, a bladder infection, or metabolic diseases.

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