You see it several times each day but do you ever really take a close look? At your urine, that is. You can, in fact, learn a lot about your body from looking at your urine.
"Urine is the real personal body fluid," said Cleveland Clinic Urologist Dr. Daniel Shoskes. "It comes filtered through the kidneys, things are added, things are removed. It can reflect the functioning of a number of different systems including the urinary tract but also beyond it."
Urine is a useful tool that has been used for diagnosis since the earliest days of medicine. It's even being studied as a way to potentially detect lung cancer.
various shades from pale yellow to a more concentrated amber color typically indicate normally functioning kidneys. However, the darker the color of urine, the more dehydrated you may be.
"Being thirsty and seeing a much darker urine, that's your body telling you you should be taking in more water," said Shoskes.
Certain foods like beets, food dyes and medicines can change the color of urine temporarily from reddish to even greenish - this is normal. What's not normal is seeing blood in your urine at the beginning, throughout or at the end of your bathroom break. Blood in urine could signal kidney disease, tumors, prostate problems or something else, so don't wait to call your doctor.
"Too often we see people who have had it once or twice and it clears up and they delay seeking attention because they attribute it to, well maybe something I ate, or I ran that day and it happened once. While the majority of people will find that in the end it's not a serious cause, catching some of these serious causes early can be life-saving," explained Shoskes.
He adds that if your urine is dark brown in color or foams every time you use the bathroom, you should see your doctor to rule out possible liver or kidney problems.