As Canadian guys, we know not to eat yellow snow. The next time you write your name in a snowbank, however, it’s actually a good idea to double-check the colour of your penmanship. After all, the colour of your pee also happens to be a sign of good health and proper hydration.
See the photo of the four beers above? From left to right, they provide a handy guide for comparing normal, light-yellow urine with the darker hues that could signal more serious health conditions. What colour should your urine be? Here’s the scoop:
What urine colour indicates
Light yellow: All good on the urine front. Nothing to worry about! If you like, celebrate with a campfire…
Dark yellow: You’re healthy, but you should drink some water soon. Why? Keep reading…
Amber or honey-coloured: Darker pee is a sign of dehydration, which means you should drink some water ASAP. Water controls your body temperature, after all, as well as keeping your bowels regular, carrying nutrients throughout your body, and even cushioning your organs and joints. If you lose more fluid than you take in, you can get dehydrated, and this can impact your blood pressure, give you a terrible headache, and in extreme cases, shut down your vital organs! Need another reason to down some H2O?
Very dark, almost brown: You’re likely dehydrated and need fluids right away. As this could also be a sign of liver problems, see your doctor if it doesn’t lighten up after a day or two.
Orange or red urine causes
Pink or reddish: Eating beets, blueberries, or rhubarb can do this to your pee. You could also have blood in it, which could be a sign of kidney disease, tumors, urinary tract infections or prostate problems. If you haven’t eaten any of the above foods and your pee is either pink or red, pay your doctor a visit sooner than later.
Orange: This could be caused by a food dye, or it could be a sign of dehydration. Or there could be something wrong with your liver or bile duct. Again, visit your doctor if this persists.
Smelly urine in men
As asparagus-lovers know, some foods can change the odor of pee in surprising ways. If you’re dehydrated, as the colour of your pee may indicate, it can also smell strongly of ammonia. Catch a whiff of something really off the wall, and you could be dealing with type 2 diabetes, a bladder infection, or a metabolic disease. In these cases, you know what to do: Make a doctor’s appointment before you impress your buddies with your snowbank signature. More than 100 different tests can be done with your urine, so it’s worth getting checked out.
What’s the colour of your pee last time you checked? Share your findings in the comments below!
This article was originally published on March 1, 2018.
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Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and father of two. He’s been covering men’s health for over 20 years. As well as researching and blogging for Don’t Change Much since 2015, Adam’s award-winning work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, and National Post newspapers.