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.”

Want to learn more about your risk for stroke? Take a free online quiz here. 

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.