Everyone has heard the saying “You are what you eat.” With sodas, alcohol and excessive coffee drinking, we often forget that we are what we drink too. Urine is the liquid waste from what we drink throughout the day.
Everything else is stored in our bodies. Our urine can tell us a lot about how our bodies are reacting to the things we consume each day and acts like a sort of warning system to alert us when there are any problems.
The color of both our urine and our feces can tell us how healthy or unhealthy we really are. For instance, when our pee is dark yellow, orange or honey-colored, we should be consuming more water. Although foam or fizz is normal, if your pee is frequently foamy it can be a sign of excess protein consumption or kidney disease.
Gut bacteria, food dyes, medications and rare genetic disorders can cause your pee to turn green or blue. If this continues, see a doctor as a precaution. If your pee is occasionally red or pink in hue, it could be because you ate blueberries, rhubarb or beets. If you haven’t eaten any of these, and you have red or pink pee, then see a doctor to check for kidney disease, a urinary tract infection or a tumor.
The scent of your pee is also indicative of good health. We all know how pee can smell. Although the scent isn’t always pleasant, if you have either a sweet, musty or strong odor, this can be a sign of major problems. A strong odor can indicate a urinary tract infection.
A sweet smell can mean that you have diabetes. Some metabolic disorders can cause a musty urine scent. Also, the frequency with which you urinate can indicate a problem. If you have spotting or a frequent need to urinate, you might have incontinence or an overactive bladder. Increased frequency and urgency to pee can also be signs of diabetes, an infection, or kidney stones in women. See a doctor if you notice any of those scents.
Common problems for females and how to fix them
According to Dr. Yim Lik, a urogynaecologist at Mercy Hospital for Women in Melbourne, Australia, women’s bladders shrink over time from about 500 or 600 milliliters at the age of 30 to about 300 milliliters at age 80. Height also plays a role in bladder size. For instance, a five-foot-tall woman will have a smaller bladder than a six-foot-tall woman.
A common problem that occurs as we age is the inability to control when we have to go. As our bladders shrink, so does the length of time between visits to the bathroom. We can also experience urinary incontinence, which means it might be more difficult to control when and how you pee.
This can manifest in a few forms. Stress incontinence can increase the likelihood of peeing when you cough or sneeze, while an overactive bladder can cause you to go more often. Although this is more likely in older women, 20 to 30 percent of women in their twenties experience this. Men may also experience urinary incontinence, but it is more common in women.
Medications, pads and surgery are available for people suffering with incontinence. Behavioral therapy is also available for those dealing with incontinence as a result of stress. Thankfully, public awareness of this problem, in younger and older women alike, has grown due to advertisements for feminine products of this nature. There are now many products for a variety of urinary needs to help reduce the embarrassment of pee problems.
Two products that are common treatments for urinary problems are over-the-counter urinary tract infection (UTI) tests and UTI treatments in cream, pill and suppository forms. Urinary tract infections are also more common in women because the urethra is shorter in women, allowing it to come into contact with bacteria more frequently.
Symptoms are similar to kidney infections, bladder infections and dehydration, but if you have multiple symptoms, you should either buy a test or see your doctor. Symptoms include burning urination, increased frequency in bathroom breaks, pain just below the rib cage, feeling like you can’t empty your bladder, fever and leaking urine, or incontinence.
Kidney infections are also particularly common in women and symptoms mirror those of a UTI. If your UTI test comes back negative, see a doctor to make sure you don’t have a kidney infection. Although recurring kidney infections should be treated by a doctor, you can alleviate symptoms by avoiding coffee and alcohol, drinking more water, drinking cranberry juice, applying a heating pad when pain is felt, wearing soft cotton, and not holding your pee.
Can girls really pee standing up?
I know, it sounds bizarre, right? Guys can pee sitting down, but few people realize that girls can actually stand up while doing their business. If you’re interested, there are many devices on the market to help you, including Go-Girl, Sani-Fem Freshette, pStyle, Whiz Freedom, Shewee and the Sheenis — and yes, the last one is a real product. All of these devices are the shape of a funnel to help girls have a stream that points away from them. More surprisingly, you can actually recreate that stream without any device.
It’s easier to do with a skirt, but you will have to remove your panties before attempting this. First, bend your knees slightly, arch your back and thrust forward. Use your fingers to part your inner labia to create a controllable stream. Try not to minimize pauses.
Push out the last bit instead of letting it drip. Unlike the devices, this technique helps you pee standing up in a way that minimizes germs, is effective, and reduces the risk of coming into contact with your own urine. If you are new to this, then practice when hovering over a toilet so you don’t get messy. Once you have the hang of it, you will be able to use this trick on camping trips without the need for a gross porta potty.
Healthy pee is indicative of good health. To reduce your risk of diseases, infections and complications, check your pee regularly. Ensure that you have an unscented, colorless pee stream for good health. Drink plenty of water and reduce your consumption of alcohol, coffee and soda. Holding your bladder is not good for your health either and can cause many problems, so don’t be ashamed to make a run to the bathroom. Go when you need to go and see your doctor if you notice any changes in frequency, urgency, color or scent.
If you pee standing up, holding your inner labia is less messy and reduces the risk of spreading germs compared to using a device. When peeing sitting down, be gentle and make sure you thoroughly clean your vaginal area so you don’t have embarrassing spots on your panties or bacterial buildup on your vagina.
Despite us learning how to wipe when potty-training, many of us forget to wipe front-to-back. According to Alyssa Dweck, M.D. and ob-gyn and author of V is for Vagina, wiping back-to-front can cause rectal bacteria to come into contact with our sensitive lady parts, which can cause infections.
Also, over-wiping can cause irritation, inflammation and itching. If you feel the need to over-wipe, it can be a sign that you still have more pee in your bladder or that you need to increase your water and fiber intake. According to Anish Sheth, M.D., a gastroenterologist and author of What’s Your Poo Telling You?, you should only need to wipe roughly two times. So be sensitive to your lady bits and keep them clean, but not overly clean. In fact, using wipes, sprays and lotions can irritate the skin as well and throw off your pH balance, leading to irritation and infections.
Your pee can tell you a lot about your health, so pay attention, pee regularly, don’t over-wipe, wipe correctly, or pee standing up, and drink plenty of water.
Have you ever tried peeing standing up? Did you use a device or do it organically, and which do you prefer? Have you ever had urinary problems? What did you do to solve it? Leave us a comment below. We’d love to read about your story.
Nicole Manuel, CPC is a certified life coach with a degree in economics and over five years of professional writing experience. Her goal is to help others discover ways to incorporate sustainable solutions that can improve their health and well-being on a budget.