What does your urine tell you about your health?
We usually pay little attention to the pee, because the appearance and smell of the urine can provide important information about the fluid balance and even indications of possible illnesses. So it is worth taking a closer look at the toilet. We have compiled an overview of the possible significance of changes in the urine. Urine cloth and colour play a central role.
Diseases of the urine
Since ancient times the so-called Harnschau was for a long time one of the most important diagnostic methods of medicine. Besides colour, turbidity and smell, the taste was also tested. Thus diabetes mellitus (“honey-like flow”) could already be diagnosed in the 17th century.
Through the technical progress of medicine, the mere consideration of the urine has now lost importance. However, conspicuous urine changes can contribute to the early detection of diseases, if appropriate investigations follow.
Composition of the urine
Urine is 95% water. Other ingredients are urea and electrolytes as well as creatinine, uric acid and other acids, vitamins, hormones and dyes.
The composition of the urine may be altered due to various factors and may be noticed by abnormalities in the smell and appearance.
What does dark urine mean?
The colour of the urine naturally changes with the drinking quantity. For the more liquid you drink, the thinner and thinner the urine. A yellow to colourless-transparent urine is therefore usually a sign that you drink enough to drink a lot.
If, however, the urine colour reminds you more of amber, or if the urine is even brown, you should take more liquid. If the urine remains dark, although you have increased your drinking, a doctor’s visit is advisable.
Discolored urine: Possible Causes
A change in the urine can have several causes: the consumption of certain foods, the intake of vitamins or medicines as well as various diseases can cause a colouration of the urine.
- Colorless: Colorless urine naturally arises with increased fluid intake. However, an increased amount of drinking due to severe thirst can be an indication of diabetes mellitus. Rarely, water urine (diabetes insipdus) is the cause of large amounts of colourless urine: in these diseases, the kidneys can not concentrate the urine hormone-related.
- Neon yellow: The intake of highly dosed vitamin B2 can colour the urine intensely yellow. The colouration is harmless and goes off when the preparation is discontinued.
- Orange to brown: Orange or brown urine can be a sign of a too low amount of drinking. However, certain diseases of the liver and bile ducts can also be the cause: the cause of the dark urine is then an increased excretion of the bile pigment bilirubin. In addition, the antibiotic nitrofurantoin can colour the urine orange to brown.
- Red: If the urine is red, this can be a reference to blood in the urine(hematuria). However, even after the consumption of large quantities of beetroots or blackberries, the urine may temporarily appear red. In addition, the muscle protein myoglobin can colour the urine red in the case of a muscle damage – for example after an accident with severe contusions or extreme performance. Other possible causes of red urine may include the antibiotic rifampicin as well as the metabolic disease porphyria.
- Brown to black: Drugs with the active substances L-Dopa or alpha-Methyldopa can colour the urine very dark. Rare causes for a brown to black urine colour can be the metabolic disease alkaptonuria as well as a certain form of skin cancer (malignant melanoma) in the advanced stage.
- Green or blue: Blue or green urine is rare – possible causes are various drugs such as amitriptyline, indomethacin, mitoxantrone or propofol as well as multivitamin preparations, rare genetic diseases or infections.
What about urine? Get to the doctor!
In healthy people the urine is clear. If it is opaque or flocs in the urine, this can be a sign of an infection or a disease of the urinary tract. For this, bacteria, pestilators, red blood cells (erythrocytes) or white blood corpuscles (leukocytes) can appear in the urine and cloud it. Pus (for example, in renal cell inflammation) or lipids (such as nephrotic syndrome) can make the urine appear white.
Foamy urine by protein
If the urine is foaming, this can be a reference to protein in the urine(proteinuria). In some cases, this is harmless
: especially in young people, stress, physical stress or fever can lead to protein in the urine.
Nevertheless, you should have a frothing urine clarified by the doctor. For many renal diseases the kidneys lose their filter function for proteins, which is expressed by protein in the urine.
Urine stinks: What can behind it?
Fresh urine is usually almost odorless. The typical urine poison is produced only after decomposition with bacteria. Temporary odor changes are usually harmless and can occur, for example, after the consumption of asparagus , onions or garlic .
However, if the urine is permanently odd, this can be a sign of a disease and should be clarified by a doctor. Here you will find an overview of possible causes for conspicuous urine searching:
- Ammonia: In urinary tract infections caused by certain bacteria as well as vitamin D deficiency, the urine can smell ammonia-like.
- Sweet smell / acetone : When ketones (ketone bodies) occur in the urine, a sweetish-fruity to acidic smell is produced, reminiscent of acetone-containing nail polish remover. Cause may be an untreated diabetes mellitus, but ketones may also occur in the urine even in case of fever, severe physical exertion, long-term diet, as well as serious injuries or operations.
- Alcoholic: alcohol-dependent, the urine may have an alcoholic odor.
- Schweflig: After the consumption of asparagus, the urine can temporarily smell of sulfur . The reason is the sulfur compound asparagusic acid contained in the asparagus, the degradation products of which are excreted with the urine. Also garlic or onions can make the urine smell of sulfur.
- Lazy: If the urine smells of rotten eggs, a tumor or other tissue-destroying process may be present in the urinary tract. Therefore, persistently existing foul urine should be clarified by a doctor.
- Fischig: In the rare metabolic disease Trimethylaminurie (“fish odor syndrome”) the body is missing an enzyme of the liver. This means that the substance smelling strongly of fish trimethylamine can not be degraded and is excreted, inter alia, with the urine. In women , however, an infection in the genital area is much more frequently the cause of fish odor during watering.
Urine test strips: Fast initial diagnosis
The urine-fast test (“U-Stix”) is usually the first step in the further Urindiagnostik. The test strip is immersed in the urine and, after a short time, provides information on important urine contents by color change.
Among other things, leukocytes, erythrocytes, protein, ketones, sugars (glucose) and the ph value in the urine can be detected, thus drawing conclusions on possible diseases. The test strips are available at the pharmacy and can be carried out at home. You should consult with your doctor in any case.
Pregnant? The urine betrays it!
From about 14 days after the absence of menstruation a pregnancy can be detected with a urine test . The test indicates whether the hormone hCG(human chorionic gonadotropin) produced during pregnancy is detectable in the urine.
However, the quantity of hCG can not be determined by means of a urine test, which is why the pregnancy has advanced.
Alcohol and drugs: traces of urine
In the urine, degradation products of alcohol and many different drugs such as THC (cannabis) can be detected. Depending on the substance and the quantity of the active substance absorbed, traces of the consumption can still be detectable in the urine for a few weeks.
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