How satisfying is it when, after a heavy weekend, your pee runs clear again, having been various shades of brown/orange/yellow over the weekend? Clear pee means you’ve flushed most of the bad toxins out, right? Well, did you know that prolonged, clear pee also means you are over-hydrated, which is almost as bad as being dehydrated? The colour of your pee can actually be a fantastic indicator of the state of your health.
Bear in mind that different Foods and multi-vitamins and medicines can also have an effect on the colour of your pee and can even cause different smells (think asparagus, which apparently only affects people who have a particular gene). For example, vitamin B and C. While the body can absorb the B and C vitamins quickly, it can’t store them, so it gets rid of them through your pee. If your pee is bright yellow and you take these supplements, it’s because the nutrients absorb blue light from the natural light spectrum.
If you over-excess on salt, your wee is likely to be orange in colour – the same goes for eating too many carrots or taking beta-carotene. This is because the sodium imbalance in the kidneys makes them retain more water, which makes the pigments more concentrated and visible.
So when should you be concerned?
If you haven’t been drinking alcohol or eating beetroot (Betacyanin in beetroot can cause red urine in some people who are unable to break it down. This is called beeturia), blackberries, or rhubarb, you should contact your GP immediately if your pee is dark in colour, if there’s any hint of red, or if it is cloudy urine, as this can be a sign of an underlying condition such as liver disease, kidney stones, cystitis or STIs.
Sometimes clear pee can be an indicator of something more serious. Did you know that around one in 25,000 people suffers from diabetes insipidus, a rare form of diabetes linked to a genetic defect or damage to the pituitary gland, which makes urine look more clear.
The hormone stops the body excreting too much water — a lack of it means excessive amounts are passed, making those affected very thirsty and unable to sleep because of needing the loo throughout the night.
If you are peeing more often than usual and you haven’t been drinking excessively, get this checked out by your doc as it could be a sign of pregnancy or diabetes.
If you notice you have been leaking, it burns or there is abdominal pain, give you GP a call straight away, too.
Generally though, aim to drink around 8 glasses of water a day, and more if you exercise, smoke or drink alcohol excessively. Aim for straw-coloured pee, and you’ll know you’re good to go!
photo credit: Health Hub
sources: Evoke/ Science Fair/ Harvard/Health Hub