Style & ShowbizHealth

What your urine is telling you

HealthBy Sunday World
What your urine is telling you

You may not think to inspect your urine after using the toilet, but it could be the key to learning about any health problems you may have.

Pale yellow is arguably the most common colour of urine, with 96 per cent made up of water and the small remainder waste products. The shade stems from a yellow pigment called urochrome, a by-product of the breakdown of the green bile that aids digestion.

While urochrome doesn't actually have a purpose, Marc Laniado, a urologist at Windsor Urology, Berkshire, explains that it is useful in looking at how diluted urine is.

"Ideally, if the urine were in a clear bottle, you should be able to read a newspaper or an iPad through it. If your urine is a darker colour, it's a sign you might need to drink more," he explained to Mail Online.

If you have bright yellow urine, this could be an indication of lots of vitamins. People who take supplements will see the colour of their urine change, as the tablets contain more vitamins than the body is able to absorb in one go, whereas sticking to fruit and vegetables as natural sources of vitamins will keep things stable.

"While the body can absorb the B and C vitamins quickly, it can't store them," Neal Patel, of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, noted of the water-soluble nutrients. "So it has to get rid of them in the urine."

On top of this, blue light from the natural light spectrum enhances your urine to make it look brighter.

Meanwhile, orange could indicate that you are dehydrated, which may be the case in the morning after not drinking all night. Or perhaps you eat too much salty food, as this causes your sodium levels to become unbalanced and your kidneys to hold onto more water, thus resulting in your urine being a deeper shade.

Likewise, your bile duct could be blocked by something like a cyst or, more seriously, a tumour, causing jaundice.

Other wacky colours, such as blue or green, are no real reason for concern, as it could come down to eating food that has been dyed like cake. The same goes for red/pink urine, with medication being another reason your wee may end up an unusual tone.

However, purple could be an indication of the rare genetic disorder porphyria. This is when you make too much of a purple pigment called porphyrin, which aids blood cells in carrying oxygen around the body.

White or cloudy urine should be taken seriously too, as it may be a sign of a bacterial infection.

So don't be afraid to keep an eye on your pee - and make an appointment with your doctor if the colour changes significantly.

Cover Media