Let’s be honest, most of us don’t give much thought to our pee.
But you may want to pay more attention, because you can learn a lot about what’s going on inside your body by inspecting what comes out. Here’s a guide to urine colour variations and what they can mean for your health.
Beetroot, blackberries and rhubarb can give you pinkish-red urine. Luckily, it should clear up in a day, but if not, it’s recommended that you visit your doctor immediately, as this colour tinge to your pee could indicate a urinary tract infection or more serious condition. It isn’t a reason to panic, though, because strenuous exercise can cause blood to enter your urine, while an iron deficiency can cause a reddish colour too.
Just like your skin, too many carrots can also make your pee slightly orange, as can high doses of vitamin B. Depending on the colour, it could also be a sign of dehydration, or a side-effect from taking medication. Try upping the amount of water you drink to see if it dilutes the colour of your pee, or ask your doctor if it could be caused by medicine you’re taking.
Is your urine green or blue? If it is, don’t freak out – it’s probably due to dyes in your food or from medication, or because you’ve recently had some diagnostic tests. However, if you haven’t been eating any blue-coloured food lately and you’re not taking any medication, a visit to the doctor is a good idea, just to rule out a health problem.
Cloudy, white-tinged pee could be a sign of a urine infection. In some instances, the cloudiness could represent pus. Most adults will recognise the signs of a urinary tract infection and know to visit the pharmacist for treatment, but if you’re not familiar with the symptoms or are concerned there could be pus in your pee, visit your doctor.
Liver conditions such hepatitis and cirrhosis, or a bile duct blocked by gallstones, can cause a build-up of bilirubin, which can make its way into your pee, turning it a brownish colour. Some more unusual medical conditions can have the same effect, so if your wee is brown, it’s best to see your doctor.
Purple pee is known to be a sign of a rare infection suffered by people with catheters – it’s even known as ‘purple urine bag syndrome’, and is definitely one for that should be referred to a doctor.
Congratulations, your urine is healthy! A pale yellow hue signifies very healthy pee, so whatever you’re doing, keep it up!
No matter what colour your urine is, you should definitely visit a doctor if your pee is foamy or frothy. It can could be a sign of protein in your urine, which can be caused by diabetes or high blood pressure, and if it is, your doctor is best placed to advise you on your next steps.
Pee doesn’t usually have a strong smell, but some foods, such as asparagus, curry, fenugreek, chilli, coffee and salmon, can change the odour – as can a big night on the beers or other alcoholic drinks, some medications and some vitamins. A strong pee odour could also indicate that you’re dehydrated.
If you notice any changes in your urine, and extra hydration doesn’t clear it up, a visit to the doctor wouldn’t hurt!