Admit it folks. You look at your urine after relieving yourself.
While you may think that makes you crazy and wouldn’t tell a soul about this behavior, it is actually a great habit to get into. While it may not be regularly discussed, you should consider checking out your urine now and again. Urine can actually tell you a lot about what is happening within your body.
The History of Urine
Don’t be embarrassed! Did you know that human beings have been studying urine for over six thousand years?! No kidding! Clay tablets have been found, detailing urinary testing in ancient times.
Hippocrates, who has been called the originator of medicine, said that no other part of your body can tell as much as the urine can. The study of urine is called Uroscopy, and the testing you receive is similarly called Urinalysis. Some doctors claim they can tell you what is going on in your body without even coming in contact with you as a patient, simply by studying and testing your urine.
The most obvious example that most humans are aware of is that your urine can tell you if you are properly hydrated. We all know that urine that is too concentrated or too yellow/ orange means you need to drink more fluids throughout the day. While your urine is supposed to be a light yellow color, the darker the color of your urine, the worse for your health. It isn’t always cause for alarm though, as often, medications or treatments can cause a discoloration in your urine. There are medications that can turn your urine bright orange, green, or even blue.
Certain foods, consumed in excess, can also discolor your urine. The most well-known would naturally be beets. Before seeing your doctor regarding discolored urine, consider changes in your diet, and additionally, check the reactions reported on all medications, especially medications you just recently began taking, to make sure a medication isn’t the cause. If not, it is time to get to the doctor.
Strange Smelling Urine
I know, this is gross to think about, but there are actually medical conditions that can cause your urine to smell, well, off. One specific condition, called maple syrup urine disease, truly makes urine smell like sugary maple syrup. I’m guessing you’ll never think of maple syrup again the same after reading this, huh?
This is a metabolic medical condition that is inherited from family members, and most people catch this disease in newborn babies. The problem is due to the body’s inability to process specific proteins easily.
Luckily, it can be treated fairly easily by watching an individual’s diet. But if it is not caught or you do not watch your diet, it can actually cause brain damage and some other really serious medical issues, it can even be deadly. This syndrome limits life expectancy due to its complications, and many states even test babies for this condition at birth to make sure they know as early as possible if the baby suffers from this problem.
John, one adult sufferer of maple syrup urine disease, was diagnosed at about 9 months of age with the disorder. His parents took him to many doctors who were unable to figure out what could possibly be making him so sick. As a child, he would sometimes go into a coma, wind up in the hospital for weeks at a time, and catch frequent infections. John’s parents noticed that he had a sweet smell associated with his urine, which is how the doctors wound up figuring out what was wrong with him. He has maple syrup urine disease.
As a kid suffering from maple syrup urine disease- hereon referred to as MSUD, John’s eating was severely monitored, and he couldn’t snack on foods normal kids would eat. He could not eat meat in any type or form, which severely limited him. It took John many years to understand that he simply couldn’t eat what normal people could because his body couldn’t tolerate it. He learned this the hard way, with vomiting, stomach aches, dizziness, and hospital visits.
Luckily, as a young adult, John sought the assistance of a dietician, who helped John fully understand the condition. Sometimes still, he eats something that makes him terribly ill, leading him to understand that his tolerances for food change and have different repercussions on his physical health. He has learned which foods he can eat to remain healthy and with the proper energy level, but it took decades for him to figure it out. Now, there is even a formula that you can use as a supplement to make sure you are getting the proper nutrition. Knowing that the alternative is risking brain damage was enough to get John on the right path to taking care of his health.
While John’s story is severe, it isn’t the only problem associated with your urine smelling strange. Sweet smelling urine can also mean you have diabetes, which is another condition that can be deadly if not properly treated. Testing your blood sugar (a test performed by your doctor) is required to diagnose you with diabetes. If you suspect you may have diabetes, you can’t get to the doctor soon enough, so schedule an appointment now.
Share Your Urine With Your Doctor
When your doctor checks your urine, it is a whole different ball game. Even if you aren’t having health problems, your doctor should regularly check your urine to make sure you aren’t suffering from health issues you are unaware of. A simple test of your urine, called a urinalysis, allows your doctor to diagnose exactly what may be wrong with you.
There are times when the color of your urine should trigger you to schedule an appointment with your doctor. If your urine looks pink or red, you need to go to the doctor immediately. This means there could be blood in your urine which can be very dangerous. Don’t wait to see if it comes back for days or weeks in a row, the very first time you notice blood in the urine, get to your physician immediately. While it might be an aberration, it could also be something much more serious, like kidney disease or cancer.
Different types of liver problems also cause a discoloration in your urine; it will often look brownish in color. This is another very serious condition which needs medical attention.
Most doctors who find issues in urine don’t find them because the urine is discolored- it is the results of what is found in the medical tests that is important. Your medical professional is able to do tests that tell them if you have infections or other medical problems. Urine can also be tested for drugs, alcohol abuse, and other issues.
Most people who report urine issues seem to have an issue with hydration. Being dehydrated isn’t always just solvable by telling someone to drink more water. Often there are conditions or medications which can cause dehydration. When urine is too overly concentrated, what needs to be excreted from your body remains in your system and almost causes a backup of waste products. If this happens over a long period of time, your kidneys will become clogged. In the worst case, this causes kidney failure, or even death.
How to Avoid Urinary Issues
To be on the safe side, every human being should attempt to drink 8 glasses of water per day. While it may seem difficult at first to consume that much water (and to always be close to a bathroom!), your body will thank you in many ways. Your energy level will increase, and hunger will be kept at bay, which can assist in weight control. Your skin will look hydrated and clearer as well (you’re welcome, ladies)! If you sweat a lot due to working out or your profession, you will need to drink even more water to stay in the safety zone.
And even more importantly, your body will be able to process waste by products in a healthy manner, which will make your body function in a more efficient way.
To get this much water in your diet, you will need to be strategic. First, carry a plastic bottle with you everywhere and refill it as often as possible to make sure you are never without water. Drink plenty of water with meals and after exercise. If you can’t get into the habit of drinking enough water, set the alarm on your phone to ring every 2 hours or so, signaling you that you must refill your glass and drink more water. You will naturally start falling into the rhythm and will begin to consume more water this way, and you’ll see results quickly in the way your urine looks and the way your overall body feels.
If you have concerns about your urine, it is important to seek the help of a medical professional as soon as possible. Remember, if you notice blood in your urine, if your urine smells strangely, or if it is discolored, these are all reasons to talk to a professional.
Have you dealt with urinary issues? What were your results? How did you deal with it? Share your thoughts with us!