You may not have a habit of looking at your pee (and we don't blame you!) but this slightly gross habit is one that you should adopt. The colour, smell and frequency of your pee is actually a good indication of what's going on in your body and can give you some vital clues about your health. Here are seven ways your pee can be a useful diagnostic tool.
1. Your urine is clear and odourless
Congratulations! This type of pee is optimal and usually means you've been drinking enough water. Continuing staying hydrated to keep this up. (Psst, you can also follow these six tricks to psych yourself into drinking more water.)
2. Your urine has blood in it
Is your pee pinkish or reddish even though you don't have your period? This one's cause for concern. Blood in your urine can be an indication of a serious underlying medical condition like kidney issues or cancer. But in some cases, it could be also be due to something harmless like over-exercising. Either way, it's best to see your doctor as soon as you can.
3. Your urine is dark brown
If you haven't been visiting the loo that frequently and your pee is very dark-coloured, you might not be drinking enough water. Dehydration is also accompanied by fatigue, dizziness, nausea or headaches. Don't wait until you feel thirsty to guzzle down some water. It's important to stay hydrated throughout the day. Follow this water drinking schedule for maximum benefits.
That said, if your pee is dark brown even though you've been good with drinking water, it could be a sign of liver problems. Urine is your body's way to clear out liquid waste and there might be something wrong with this detoxifying process if your pee is constantly dark.
4. You're urinating more frequently than normal
Do you always have an urge to pee? Does it burn down there whenever you go? Does your pee smell funky? Bad news, these are all signs of a possible urinary tract infection (UTI). According to experts at the Ministry of Health, roughly 40 per cent of women will develop a UTI at some point in their life. This is because we have shorter urethras which allow bacteria to enter and infect the area more easily. Thankfully, UTIs can be easily treated with antibiotics. Find out how to cope with - and prevent - UTIs here.
5. Your urine has a strong smell
Unsurprisingly, what you eat affects the way your pee smells. Certain foods and drinks like asparagus or coffee can give your urine a stronger smell than normal. But if this is not accompanied by any other symptoms, it shouldn't be anything to worry about.
6. Your urine is bright yellow or orange
Loading up on vitamin C-rich or carotenoid-rich foods like oranges, carrots or grapefruits can temporarily turn your pee bright yellow or orange. Certain medication can also produce this effect. An unusual colour like this is normally fine but you can consider seeking medical attention if your pee suddenly takes on a different colour when your diet and lifestyle hasn't changed.
7. Your urine is foamy or cloudy
Are you noticing that your pee looks kind of… frothy? The cloudiness and foaminess might mean that you have an infection and could also be an indication that something isn't working right with your kidneys. In these instances, it's best to check in with your doctor ASAP.
This article was first published on Shape.