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 kind of conditions? Here’s the scoop:
- Light yellow:
- All good on the urine front. Nothing to worry about!
- Dark yellow:
- You’re healthy, but you should drink some water soon.
- Amber or honey-coloured:
- Darker pee is a sign of dehydration. Get some water into you ASAP.
- Very dark, almost brown:
- You’re likely dehydrated and need to get more fluids right away. As this could also be a sign of liver problems, go see your doctor if it doesn’t lighten up after a day or two.
- Crazy colours:
- If your urine looks like grape juice, pinch yourself. You’re dreaming! (There’s no such thing as purple pee.) But under certain rare circumstances it can come out looking pretty bizarre:
- Pink or reddish:
- Eating beets, blueberries or rhubarb can do this to your pee. You could also have blood in it, which could be 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.
- This could be caused by a food dye, or it could be a sign of dehydration (you know the deal there: drink water). Or, there could be something wrong with your liver or bile duct. Again, visit your doctor if this persists.
- Crazy smells:
- 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 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.
What’s the colour of your pee last time you checked? Share your findings in the comments below!
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Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and father of two. His award-winning stories have appeared in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and National Post newspapers, in magazines like Explore, Reader’s Digest, International Traveller and Canadian Family, and on websites including MSN, MSN Canada, and DontChangeMuch.ca. Visit Adam’s website for more details on his award winning work.