Summer Flowers Bring Golden Showers…

The sunny season is fast approaching, with less than a month before the calendar’s recognition of the first day of summer (although current Saskatchewan climate makes it feel like it’s already here). And with the increased temperature comes the necessity to stay hydrated and sip plenty of water and fluids throughout the day. A lot of us have that unfortunate period at the beginning of the summer when we attempt to continue pushing just as hard as we have been without upping our water intake (exhibit “A” would be the nausea and light-headedness I felt last week after a long bike run).

But if you’re hydrating properly and taking in lots of fluids, the inevitable result will be that you’ll hit the washroom often, as well. Depending on where you get your information, it isn’t necessarily abnormal to see a people urinating up to ten times a day. Obviously, there are a number of factors behind this and there is no “set” number for any specific person. Diet, exercise habits and your consumption of things like caffeine and/or alcohol.

Just shy of New Year’s, I published a post entitled What Goes In, Must Come Out in relation to the body’s waste and why it’s important to sneak a peak at what’s coming out of you and what the different colours and textures could mean. Not the most pleasant of subjects, and the average person considers it embarrassing and even taboo in some respects, to discuss any of it (even if everyone does it).

But there are a number of important and medically relevant reasons to keep an eye on what comes out of you, and urine is no exception. If you have Diabetes, the urine can be used to check and measure ketones. At the risk of becoming long-winded, since I’ve explained this in previous posts, the long and short of it is that if your body isn’t getting the glucose it needs it will break down fat tissues as a substitute. This substitute creates ketones, which can end up in the blood stream and cause a score of complications.

Ketones will usually spill out through the urine, which is a means of measuring them. These days there are actual meters you can use, which is a step up from the old days when I had to either dip a test strip into a container of urine or try my hand at aiming cleanly enough to shoot directly on the stick. But checking for ketones is only one important aspect. Colour and frequency are also important aspects and the subject of today’s post…

First, according to an article posted by the Mayo Clinic, urine is normally supposed to be pale yellow to deep amber. The colour is “the result of a pigment called urochrome and how diluted or concentrated the urine is.” The depth and shade of colour is attributed to how much water you consume and how hydrated you may be. Believe it or not, if your urine comes out completely clear, you’ve likely drank too much water and your body is flushing out the excess.

But the thing is that depending on your health, hydration, diet and medications, your urine can represent all the colours of the rainbow; and very few of them are good news. There are a few really good sources that explain what all these colours mean, and they all cover the same basic information. The best one I’ve found is from HealthLine.com:

  1. Clear: This is the one I mentioned above, where you’ve been drinking too much water. Although being hydrated is a good idea, too much water will flush out needed electrolytes. Doesn’t mean you should STOP, but tapering back on the amount you sip is ideal;
  2. Yellow: Ah, the old classic! Under ideal circumstances, this is the colour your urine should appear, but may have different shades of the colour depending on your hydration level. If you happen to have a lot of B-Vitamins in your bloodstream, like on days I get greedy and have two energy drinks instead of one (I know, bad me!) your urine can have an almost fluorescent yellow appearance;
  3. Red or Pink: Most people would see red and panic, thinking it’s blood. It’s not. remember the colour wheel you studied in like, first grade? You need yellow and magenta to make a red hue. So if you already have red, it shouldn’t be blood (unless your blood is pink, you Klingon!). Red or pink urine is normally because of foods but can also be the result of kidney stones or tumours;
  4. Orange: This could be due to dehydration, but can also be caused by issues with the bile duct or liver. Jaundice in adults can also cause orange urine;
  5. Blue or Green: Is this becoming surreal? How bad of a panic attack would you have if you looked down and saw blue fu&$in’ piss in the bowl? This is normally caused by dyes or food colouring, although certain bacterial infections can be the cause;
  6. Dark Brown: This one is normally due to dehydration, although certain foods and medications can cause it. In extreme cases, it can also indicate liver disease.

Like I said, all the colours of the rainbow! Yay! Don’t even get me started on the smell of your urine and whether it burns or stings. That’s a whole other thing! I consulted a few different medical websites, but they’re all of the same opinion. If you see swirls of blood in your urine, have a colour indicator of something potentially serious as explained above, or the discoloured urine is accompanied by fever, pain or vomiting, then it’s time to see a doctor.

Most of us go to the washroom, flush whatever’s in there and wash up (I hope) and leave. But there’s something to be said for keeping an eye on what your body is expelling. It can lead to early warnings and potentially avoid serious complications. Sometimes, colour will simply be off for simple reasons like dehydration or something you ate. In those cases, normal urine colour should return within two to three days. If it doesn’t, a visit to your doctor may be in the cards. ☯

Published by

Shawn

I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s