There’s more to your pee than you’d think
By Lucy Abbersteen
Let’s be honest, the majority of us usually take a quick glance in the toilet bowl once we’ve been for a wee. Which is good, because the colour of your pee can actually indicate a whole manner of health problems.
The basic indication the colour of our pee gives us is one we’re all aware of – the darker yellow or amber your urine, the more dehydrated you are.
“Water should make up nearly two-thirds of your body,” says Dr Luke Powles, GP at Bupa Health Clinics. “It’s important to keep your body’s water content topped up so you don’t become dehydrated. This can happen when you lose more water than usual – for example, if you have a bout of vomiting or diarrhoea, or don’t drink enough.”
“Most people need about 1.5 to 2 litres of fluid a day, which is about eight to 10 glasses. One thing to remember is that you should be drinking water, so drinks like sugar-free cordial and herbal teas will help contribute, while caffeinated, fizzy and alcoholic drinks don’t count – they can be full of sugar and can dehydrate you even more.”
But aside from dehydration, are you clued up on what it means when your urine isn’t a shade of yellow? Or the shade it’s meant to be normally?
Read on to find out what it means when your pee is any of the following colours..
1. Pale straw
For optimum health and hydration, your pee should be a pale straw colour – not too light and not too dark.
“If it’s lighter [than pale straw], you’re probably drinking more water than you need to” Dr Powles says. “This isn’t usually a problem, except that you might be going to the loo frequently!”
2. Dark yellow / amber
As a rule, dark urine tends to indicate that you’re lacking water and should probably head to the water cooler, stat.
“Generally, the darker your urine the more your body is in need of fluids,” advises Dr Powles. “If your urine is dark yellow, I’d grab a glass of water when you can – and if it’s amber grab two!”
Usually, green urine is totally harmless and is a result of something you’ve eaten. “This is usually a result of food colouring in something you’ve eaten; it can be natural from something like asparagus or, artificial food colouring,” says Dr Powles.
“Rarely, it can be due to a medical issue like familial hypercalcemia – an incredibly rare genetic disease – or could be a side effect of some medications.”
Again, this one is usually totally harmless if you’ve just eaten red foods such as beetroot or rhubarb.
“Sometimes it can be blood, which may be related to a bladder, kidney or prostate problem including infections and cancers,” says Dr Powles. “If you cannot clearly link it with something you’ve eaten and it’s not settling quickly, go and see your GP.”