You can learn a thing or two about what’s going on inside your body by examining what comes out. In fact, it has become pretty standard advice to keep an eye on what you leave behind when you pee, and to aim for a light lemonade color as a sign of optimal hydration.
our urine is one of the best diagnostic tools for determining health problems. Below is a breakdown of what the color, smell and consistency of urine says about your health. We tell you when you should seek medical attention and when you just need to drink a bit more water.
According to Cleveland Clinic, healthy urine is a pale straw color. The darker the yellow, the more dehydrated you are. If your urine is the color of amber or honey, grab a glass of water now. Orange urine can either be a sign of dehydration, food coloring, or something more perilous, like a problem with the liver or bile ducts.
Sometimes, the color of urine is effected by diet. If you’ve eaten beets, blackberries or rhubarb, your “beeturia” may be a pink or reddish color, says Prevention. However, if you have not eaten these scarlet fruits and vegetables, Cleveland Clinic says you need to seek immediate medical attention, as this may be a sign of kidney disease, tumor, a prostate problem, or urinary tract infection.
Asparagus is another food culprit. It can give your urine a green tint and a funky sulphuric stench. But a green color change can also be a sign of a urinary tract infection or kidney stones, warns Prevention. Another sign of urinary tract infection is cloudy white pee. If you see this, the infection is in a dire state and you should seek immediate medical attention.
The smell of pee is as important as its color. Typically, urine should not have a strong smell. If your urine smells of ammonia, you should gulp a big glass of water, as you are likely dehydrated, says WebMD. A strong smell can also be a sign of urinary tract infection, diabetes, bladder infection, or metabolic disease. If the smell persists, take note of other symptoms, such as the color of urine, and call your doctor.
Something you may not normally think about is the consistency of urine. But if it appears thicker than normal, you may be suffering from an undiagnosed illness or infection. All Women’s Talk also advices looking for cloudy urine, which signals kidney stones, and foamy urine, caused by protein build-up and an issue with the kidneys.
Bottom line? You’d rather ask your doctor about it when it’s not a big deal than when it is. “Healthy urine can range from clear to dark yellow, but if it’s any other color in the rainbow and hydration or diet doesn’t fix it,” Shaw says, “it’s best to get it checked.”