The colour of your urine says a lot about your health

Knowing these colours can help you better meet your body's needs or alert you to a problem

Most people do not pay attention to the colour of their urine when they go to the toilet. Well, you should know that you could learn a lot about your health if you took a moment to take a look at it.

Our urine can have up to 9 colours

Urine is not only one colour, it varies and changes colour. It can indeed adopt colours other than the famous yellow, depending on your diet, your water consumption or your state of health. Nine urine "colours" can be distinguished: transparent, transparent or pale yellow, dark yellow, honey or amber, brown, pink or reddish, orange, blue or green, and foamy or sparkling urine.

Your health status according to the colour of your urine

Although these indications will never replace a visit to a doctor, it can always give you some clues about yourself when you look at the colour of your urine.

  •     If your urine is transparent, it means that you drink too much water and it would be good to slow down so as not to tire your kidneys.
  •     If your urine is pale or transparent yellow, it means you are hydrating properly and in good health.
  •     If it is dark yellow, you are relatively healthy but make sure you drink a little more water. If, on the other hand, it is honey or amber in colour, it is a sign that you really don't drink enough water and that you need to drink it regularly during the day.
  •     If your urine is brown, it means you have either dehydration or liver disease. To remedy this, gradually increase your water consumption, but if the brown colour persists, consult your doctor.
  •     If your urine colour varies from pink to reddish, there are two possibilities: either you have eaten rhubarb and beetroot, in which case this colour is normal; or you may have blood in your urine, which can be caused by a prostate problem or urinary tract infection.
  •     If your urine is orange, you should consult your doctor to determine if it is a dehydration problem or if it is a sign that you have biliary or liver disease.

    On the other hand, if it is blue or green, it is probably due to a food you ate the day before. Otherwise, if the blue color persists, see your doctor as it may be a bacterial infection.

    Finally, if your urine is foaming or sparkling, it is due to an excess of protein in your diet. So be sure to diversify your diet, but if it persists, consult your doctor to determine if it is not a kidney problem.

Some remarks about urine

It should be noted that the colour of the urine can vary from morning to night. For example, there is nothing to worry about if your urine has a dark color when you wake up.

On the other hand, it is important that people who are at risk of developing kidney disease, if you are exposed to diabetes, high blood pressure or smoking, have a urine test at least once a year at their treating physician for the potential presence of albumin, a blood protein.

Why is it so dangerous to your health to refrain from urinating?

Many people neglect the importance of urinating within a reasonable time. However, waiting until the bladder is full can lead to very serious complications ranging from urinary tract infections to bladder dilation and kidney stones.

Urinating is a natural cleansing process of the body. Many people neglect the benefits and sometimes hold back until they can no longer hold on. Either because the time is not opportune or because the toilets are not nearby. However, it is strongly discouraged to hold back more than 10 to 15 minutes of urination. Beyond this time, and if the process is repeated regularly, the health consequences can be serious.
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"A catheter three to six times a day in the penis"

Holding back from urinating frequently and for long periods of time causes urine to stagnate and bacteria to accumulate in the bladder, which can lead to urinary tract infections, which can spread and damage the kidneys. Because in addition to the water we consume, urine contains all the waste substances that the body no longer needs and that the kidneys have filtered. More precisely, the bladder contains the fluids consumed, small residues, as well as acid and ammonia substances. If this mixture is not regularly evacuated, it can damage the walls of the urinary tract, relax the muscles of the bladder and increase the risk of urinary retention - when you can't urinate despite the urge - which may eventually require the use of a urinary catheter.

In 2015, Joshua Meeks, a urologist at Northwestern Medicine (United States), described the case of a soldier who lost consciousness after keeping the equivalent of three bottles of wine in his bladder, in Men's Health magazine. "The organ has completely distended," he explained. The patient became unable to urinate normally, so a catheter had to be inserted three to six times a day into the penis."

Renal stones and bladder dilation

Holding back from urination can also lead to the formation of kidney stones. These small crystals (called "urinary lithiasis" in medical jargon) are formed in the kidneys, bladder or urethra. Their size is very variable and can range from a few millimetres to several centimetres in diameter. When they form in small ducts such as ureters, located between the kidneys and bladder, they can easily block the passage and cause severe pain. This phenomenon is called renal colic.

It is estimated that 5% to 10% of individuals suffer from it during their lifetime and that half of people with kidney stones will have it again 10 years later because of the lack of information. Overall, kidney stones are twice as common in men and often occur after the age of 40.

Holding back from urination can also lead to vesicoureteral reflux, a fairly serious disease that occurs when urine, instead of being expelled, returns to the urethra and kidneys. Toxins and bacteria stored in the bladder can also cause sweating, chills, cramps and pelvic pain. So don't wait any longer. Even on the way to the holidays, take breaks when your brain sends you the toilet signal.

Urinating in the pool can be very bad for your health

Be careful not to trust chlorine blindly.

If you have ever thought that chlorine acts as a magic product to purify water, know that you are wrong. Its presence is all the more problematic when it mixes with another substance, much more present in the basins than we think: urine.

On the Popular Science website, Ernest Blatchley, an environmental engineer at Purdue University, explains the situation: "If it were just a person urinating in the pool, then there would be no problem. But we have evidence that suggests that there are circumstances where the concentration of these components, in some cases, has reached levels that may be harmful to human health."

All components of urine can interact with chlorine. "But uric acid and a number of amino acids pose the greatest risks," says PopSci. When they react with chlorine, they can create nitrogen trichloride and cyanogen chloride." It should be noted here that cyanogen chloride is very volatile.

"It is a toxic substance, and once it reaches a sufficient level, it can be dangerous to human health," Blatchley explains. But the problem, as it forms and degrades very quickly, is that it is very difficult from which level it can reach in a pool."

Nitrogen trichloride can cause respiratory problems when inhaled, especially in people with asthma, but also irritation. And adding chlorine will only increase the risk of chemical reactions.

Unfortunately, analyzing this data in a swimming pool remains very complicated for the moment. First of all, because these places do not have the necessary equipment. Secondly, because these measurements depend on many factors: how many people are present at any given time, how well does the water mix, at what temperature is the water, and how long has the water not been changed.

Fortunately, if the risk is higher when pools are heavily used at a time T, dangerous concentrations are rarely reached. Nevertheless, we must keep in mind an interesting statistic, provided by Blatchley's study: "I think that for any pool in which you place people, you can be sure that they will urinate there." According to his estimate, the average swimmer leaves between 50 and 80 millilitres of urine behind him. "Essentially one shot full of urine per swimmer." You have been warned.

5 things you didn't know about peeing

The colour can turn blue, it has no antibacterial properties, it can cause discomfort... discover surprising details about urine.

The body produces between two and two and a half litres of urine a day from what we drink, but also from our diet, especially fruits and vegetables. Through the kidneys, a kind of natural filter in the body, peeing helps us get rid of all the toxins and waste products in our blood. That's why he can say a lot about our health... and many other surprising details.

1. No need on jellyfish

A friend has been stung by a jellyfish and, as a good Samaritan, you propose to urinate on him? It's no use, except to make people laugh when you tell this story. Indeed, pee has no antibacterial or healing properties. The fact that it soothes a jellyfish bite is just a myth, explains Reader's digest.

2. A very real phobia

Don't make fun of people who don't dare urinate in public, as they may have paruresis, a social anxiety disorder also called "shy bladder syndrome". Those who have it cannot use the toilets close to other people, which can quickly become disabling for outings. Fortunately, cognitive-behavioural therapy techniques help to overcome it.

3. A cause of fainting

Some people may suffer from syncope of urination, a disorder that causes vagal discomfort during or immediately after urination. Doctors still do not know the exact reason, but have observed a decrease in blood pressure, probably related to the opening of blood vessels that occurs when the bladder is emptied, according to experts interviewed by Reader's digest site.

4. Too much or too little

You pee every hour when you don't drink more than usual? Can't urinate? Both of these problems can be related to health conditions such as diabetes, overactive bladder, infection, prostate problems or acute urinary retention, which requires urgent medical assistance.

5. Colours and smells

The appearance of the urine can give important information about your health. A stronger than usual smell may be related to vaginal fungus or dehydration. Some foods such as asparagus or spices can modify it, but it is safe. And while normal colour varies from pale yellow to amber yellow, food and drug pigments can also give urine unusual shades, ranging from purple to orange, blue and green.

Blood in the urine: should we worry?

Most of the time, the presence of blood in the urine is a sign of an infection or a urinary stone. However, among the elderly and smokers, additional tests are needed.

What examinations are carried out?

The presence of blood in the urine (hematuria) is considered abnormal only above 10,000 red blood cells per millilitre of blood. To determine this, a test strip is dipped into a urine vial. This examination is all the more important as the presence of blood is not always visible to the naked eye.

The test is performed, for example, during an occupational health consultation. A positive result can lead to a diagnosis of diabetes or kidney failure.

If traces of blood are visible, this does not mean that we should panic.

    Most of the time, it is a sign of an infection of the kidneys (pyelonephritis), prostate or urinary tract (cystitis). To verify this, a cyto-bacteriological examination of urine (ECBU) is proposed.
    But the presence of blood can also reveal urinary stones (nephritic colic). In this case, they will appear on the ultrasound. Other, rarer causes can also be invoked.
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When should we worry?

Hematuria is more worrisome in the elderly and among smokers. It can be a symptom of a kidney or bladder tumour. It should be noted that bladder cancer is four times more common among smokers than among non-smokers. To remove the doubt, tests must be carried out: ultrasound, blood test, cystoscopy (endoscopy of the urinary tract and bladder).

Namely: the red colouring of urine may simply be due to the consumption of red cabbage, beets or rhubarb. Some drugs may also be involved: rovamycin or erythromycin (antibiotics), ibuprofen (anti-inflammatory), laxatives or vitamin B12.

Deciphering your urinalysis

A cytobacteriological urine test (ECBU), commonly called a urine test, has been prescribed by your doctor. You have just received your results. How do I know if cytology and bacteriology are normal? What infectious germs are being looked for? What types of cells are identified? What is an ECBU with antibiotic susceptibility testing? Explanations.

Very frequent, the cytobacteriological examination of urine (ECBU) makes it possible to diagnose a urinary infection by identifying the germ responsible. Combined with an antibiotic susceptibility test in case of infection, it helps the doctor to choose the most effective treatment.

Glycosuria analysis

What is it? What is it? Glycosuria measures glucose (sugar) in the urine. If the examination reveals the presence of glucose in the urine, there is a suspicion of diabetes. This diagnosis must be confirmed by a blood test. But it can also mean that we ate before the sample was taken!

Cytological analysis of urine

What is it? What is it? The biologist conducting the analysis examines the different cells found in the urine. These can be red blood cells (red blood cells), white blood cells (white blood cells), calcium crystals or urates.

  •     Leukocytes (white blood cells). Normal value: less than 10 000/ml. A higher value most often indicates a urinary tract infection.
  •     Hemacytes (red blood cells). Normal value: less than 10 000/ml. A higher value may have different meanings, the most frequent being an onset of renal impairment due in particular to high blood pressure.
  •     Uric acid or calcium oxalate crystals. "Their presence is frequent and generally has no clinical impact," notes Dr. Alain Le Meur, medical biologist and president of the Association pour le progrès de la biologie médicale (APBM). The problem appears if a stone migrates to the kidneys. »

Bacteriological analysis of urine

What is it? What is it? This involves looking for germs in the urine, when they are usually sterile. Among the bacteria sought: Escherichia Coli, responsible for about 80% of urinary tract infections.

A result indicated as negative means that no bacteria were found after culture in the urine.

A positive result means that one or more bacteria have been identified with an abnormal value: > 1,000 bacteria/ml for Escherichia Coli and > 10,000 bacteria/ml for the other bacteria.

The mention of a polymicrobial culture is not significant for urinary tract infection, as the sample may have been contaminated with genital or skin flora. A new sample is required: this is indicated on the result of the analysis.

If a bacterium is found in the urine, an antibiotic susceptibility test can be performed. Objective: To test the bacterium's sensitivity to different antibiotics to guide the doctor in his treatment prescription.

Are you worried about something when you read your results? No need to wait for the doctor to call back. You have the right to ask to speak to the responsible medical biologist when you get your results.

The most frequent causes of incessant peeing

More or less serious bladder problems can hide behind an unusual urge to urinate.

Peeing is normal. But going to the bathroom ten times a day in front of your colleagues can be embarrassing. If you are concerned about the frequency of your urge to urinate and have noticed an unusual increase, you may find an explanation among the most common causes.

More drinks

Do you usually put a bottle of water in your handbag? Have you added an extra cup of coffee or tea to your morning routine? Without realizing it, we sometimes increase our fluid intake and, inevitably, our need to pee.

An infection

Widespread among sexually active teenagers and young adults, simple urinary tract infections such as cystitis can increase the frequency of trips to the bathroom. Other symptoms such as burning or pain while you urinate can make your ear watery. Talk to your doctor quickly to get the right treatment.

Overactive bladder

Normally, when the bladder is full, the muscles stretch, and the receptors tell the brain that it is time to pee. However, if you are overactive, these receptors activate at the first sign of muscle contraction, even if the bladder is not full.

The urge is difficult to remember and can seriously handicap everyday life. Researchers are still working on this disorder to better understand it and find solutions.

The hormones

The natural flow of female hormones can affect our bladder. During sensitive periods such as the menstrual cycle, menopause or pregnancy, the urge to urinate may increase significantly in some women.

Sometimes, a frequent need to pee may hide chronic or more serious conditions such as uterine fibroids (which rest on the bladder), painful bladder syndrome (also called interstitial cystitis), diabetes or multiple sclerosis. For this reason, it is important to stay tuned to your body and not to underestimate the signals it sends us.

If in doubt, you can keep a logbook for a few days, noting everything you drank, and at what time, as well as the number of times you went to the toilet. Then talk to your doctor about it.

Urine, a biological fluid with more than 3,000 molecules

Often used but not well known, urine is one of the most complex biological fluids, containing more than 3,000 different compounds. A database has even been created that lists them all. Why? Why? Because it can be very useful in diagnosing diseases or intoxication with a pollutant.

Urine, a real treasure. It is not because of its golden colour, but because it contains the residues of our body's metabolism, that the kidneys concentrate in order to evacuate them. Thus, doctors have long understood that its composition can help in the diagnosis of certain diseases. "Most medical books list between 50 and 100 compounds in the urine, and most urine tests only test 6 or 7 of them," says David Wishart, a researcher at the University of Alberta (Canada).

With 18 of his colleagues and after seven years of research, they have just published the results of a study on this composition in Plos One. This work lists the 3,079 molecules that the researchers found in the urine of 22 healthy patients using NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) spectrometry, mass spectrometry and liquid and gas chromatography. In parallel, they also analyzed more than a century of scientific literature on the subject. The results therefore have nothing to do with the hundred or so compounds described above.

More precisely, 72 of them are synthesized by bacteria, while the human body naturally produces 1,453. To these must be added 2,282 substances from food, drugs, drugs, cosmetics or the environment. The math vouchers will have noticed that the count is not there. This is simply because the same compound can belong to more than one of these three categories.

A urine database

No one expected such diversity, the authors say. As an indication, urine contains between 5 and 10 times more molecules than other biological fluids, such as cerebrospinal fluid (whose composition was established by the same team in 2008) or saliva. Even louder: they noticed the presence of more than 480 compounds that were not found in the blood, whereas it was thought that urine consisted only of substances found in the circulation, simply filtered and concentrated by the kidneys. Proof that this body is working more than expected.

The diversity of urine is also reflected in the variety of molecules found in it: they are classified into 230 of the 356 chemical classes found in the human body. To make it easy for the scientific community to consult this list, the researchers have established an online public database, called the Urine Metabolome Database.

Expanding the scope of disease diagnosis

The term metabolome refers to all metabolites found in a human being, in the same way that genome or proteome refers to all genes or proteins. However, urine is already used today to diagnose metabolic disorders in babies, diabetes, bladder infections, check kidney function or detect illegal drugs.

By better describing the different compounds found in them, it will be possible to broaden the field of disease detection by a simple test in a test tube. An effective, inexpensive and minimally invasive technique for the patient, who does not need a needle or other torture device. For example, urine tests to diagnose prostate or colon cancer, celiac disease, hemorrhagic rectocolitis or pneumonia are ready or under development, in part due to this Canadian study.

But this database is not definitive. David Wishart says that many other compounds will be discovered using more modern and sensitive techniques. Moreover, new molecules are added almost daily to the already extensive list.
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