Most of us try not to pay too much attention to what comes out of us when we go to the bathroom. It’s smelly, it’s unattractive, and generally it’s not the kind of stuff we want to have much to do with. However while our urge might be to turn away in disgust, this is actually a big mistake seeing as it can tell us a lot about our health. Just checking your urine subtly while you’re in the urinal can help to alert you to a number of potential health issues and also give you a quick update on the status of your body in general.
One thing you might notice when conscientiously looking at your pee, is it’s colour – and if it’s overly dark you might be concerned. But what does this actually mean?
If your urine is looking dark, and particularly if it looks brownish like ice-tea, then often this is a sign of dehydration. The simple reason your urine is dark in this case then is that your kidneys are producing more concentrated urine that is less diluted by water that would otherwise make it look lighter in colour. Imagine you have a tea bag in your stomach – the amount of water you add will affect how lightly coloured the resultant fluid is.
There are many reasons that you may be dehydrated. In the short term this could be simply a sign that you should have had more to drink that day. In the long term though, it might suggest that you have a dehydrating condition such as diabetes. Try drinking several glasses of water to see if this has an effect, and if it doesn’t and the issue persists then consult a doctor.
What comes in generally has an impact on what comes out, so it stands to reason of course that what you eat and drink will have some impact on the colour of your urine. Drink lots of water and your urine will likely be light coloured or even transparent – but if you eat lots of things with food colourings then this might ultimately darken the colour of your urine. Beets meanwhile can change your urine red. Again, diluting your urine with more water can often quickly change this.
Medication and Supplements
If your urine is ‘smoky’ looking or has a pink-ish tinge to it then this might be a side effect of medications. Likewise if you use laxatives or vitamin supplements this can darken the colour of your urine to a kind of orange (particularly B complex and carotene). Check with your doctor and consult the side-effects section on the label of your medication to find out if this could be contributing.
If your urine is cloudy or murky looking then it might be caused by a urinary tract infection. If this is indeed the case then often your urine will also have a foul smell and it may burn when you use the toilet. This should be treatable with antibiotics.
Finally if your urine is dark brown and you aren’t dehydrated then this can be a result of a liver disorder such as acute hepatitis B (which causes irritation and swelling in the liver). If you notice other symptoms and particularly if you have been travelling or had a blood transfusion, then consult with your doctor.