What your pee says about your health

What your pee says about your health

You’ve likely heard you might be dehydrated if your pee is darker or smellier than usual, but taking a closer look at your urine could provide other clues about your health, too.

Diet can impact minor changes in the color and smell of your pee, but Dr. Matthew Meadows, a urologist at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago, says there are a few more serious things to watch out for.

Changes in Color

“Cloudy urine can be associated with infection or inflammation,” says Dr. Meadows. “Red or bloody urine is never normal. Seek medical attention if this occurs.”

Certain medications can also change the color of your urine. Ask your physician if you notice a significant change.

Changes in Smell

“Some very rare medical conditions in children can lead to unusual urine smells,” says Dr. Meadows. “More commonly, a urinary tract infection can make your urine smell foul.”

Frequency of Urination

“How frequently you urinate can be associated with potential medical issues,” Dr. Meadows says. “Some of the most common conditions that can manifest as frequent urination include poorly controlled diabetes or benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), otherwise known as an enlarged prostate. Some neurologic conditions, like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, a history of stroke or spinal cord injury, can also manifest in frequent urination.”

Dr. Meadows recommends contacting a physician if you:

  • See blood in your urine
  • Feel pain when urinating
  • Experience any bothersome change in your urinary pattern

“Patterns of urination in both men and women change as you age, and although these changes are common, if they are bothersome, there are treatments that can help,” says Dr. Meadows. “Don’t feel like this is something you just have to live with; if it is bothersome when you urinate, or if urination issues are keeping you from doing what you enjoy, you should see a physician.”

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  1. Jackie McKinnis March 29, 2017 at 12:42 pm · Reply

    I’m surprised certain foods weren’t mentioned- such as asparagus. I eat a lot of asparagus and it always affects the smell of my urine.

  2. Larry Kulchawik March 29, 2017 at 3:17 pm · Reply

    Beet juice will create a reddish color

  3. Herscheleen Tso March 29, 2017 at 11:00 pm · Reply

    I take vitamins and they make my urine smell.

  4. Asparagus will make urine smell terrible.

  5. Dilip Palakaladinna March 30, 2017 at 10:53 am · Reply

    Urine from a healthy person has therapeutic value for human consumption and has proven historically across different regions of the word to cure diseases as dreadful as cancer and beyond

  6. Mens multivitamins makes your urine change color to a bright fluorescent yellow. The B-complex it contains also make you urinate more frequently.

  7. Allergies make me urinate more frequently. Also taking water-soluble vitamins (B and C) makes it a bright color.

About the Author

Brittany Hunter
Brittany Hunter

Brittany Hunter, health enews contributor, is a specialist of public affairs and marketing at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. She has a degree in Journalism from Ohio University and experience in communications, marketing and public strategies. She loves going to concerts, reading and exploring the city.