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Video

Body Check – Urine Transcript

Dr Christian: We all feel the relief of a quick pit stop, but a trip to the loo might also reveal something more telling.

Urine is a mix of excess water and waste from all over the body. Its yellow colour comes from a pigment in the red blood cells. The spectrum can stretch from the almost clear to the dark orange – and it’s simply a matter of hydration, which is affected by how much water we drink and how much we sweat out.

What we’ve had to eat can also have some affect on our pee – causing different smells or colours as can any medications or supplements.

If you find, however, that an unusual smell or colour continues for no apparent reason it would be worth discussing with your doctor.

So here are a few things to look out for:

Very dark urine that is unaffected by what you drink is maybe characteristic of a liver disorder such as viral hepatitis.

Pink or red tinges could mean there is blood in the urine; but this could just be from strenuous exercise or a minor infection, stones or in rare cases a sign of kidney or bladder cancer.

Cloudy urine could mean a number of things, it could just be a little debris or in women could be a sign of cystitis. In men, it could highlight a sexually transmitted infection or less commonly a condition called retrograde ejaculation which is where semen enters the bladder and then clouds the urine.

How often you need to go can also indicate there might be a problem, excessive weeing – even when not hydrated can be a sign of diabetes.

Next time you go, take a look and remember to keep on an eye on anything unusual that keeps reoccurring – and don’t forget to tell us about what you find.

For this body check and others featured on the site we want to hear about your findings. So please come back to share your results and discuss them with other site users.

If you have any other problems passing water such as leaking, burning sensation or pain then make sure you speak to your GP or pharmacist.

Read the video transcript

Body Check: Urine

We all feel the relief of a quick pit stop, but a trip to the loo could also be more telling. In this video, Dr Christian talks about potential health problems that can be spotted from checking your urine.

The colour of urine can stretch from the almost clear to a dark orange and it’s simply a matter of hydration. Food can also have an effect on colour and can cause different smells, as can any medications or supplements.

Dark, red, or cloudy urine that is unaffected by food or drink can be characteristic of underlying conditions such as liver disease, kidney stones, cystitis or STIs.

How often you go can also indicate a problem as excessive urination can be a sign of diabetes.
If an unusual colour or smell persists for no apparent reason or if you have problems passing urine such as leaking, burning sensations or pain it would be worth discussing it with a GP.

We want to hear about your findings, so please click the link below and add your results to our national survey.

If you are worried that your child may have a urinary tract infection, read the guide for parents on the Embarrassing Bodies: Kids website.

+++UPDATE+++
From the 5th-12th May 2009 we conducted a National Health Survey to find out what the state of the nation’s urine was.

Around 80% of our respondents were women, with nearly two-thirds of these under the age of 30.

The good news was that nearly three-quarters of responders were reporting normal, light coloured urine (numbers 1-3). As urine colour is mostly dictated by hydration levels, this indicates a good level of fluid intake amongst those people.

Darker urine can be caused by certain foodstuffs, but it is probably dehydration that is to blame. If your urine is always dark, even after heavy fluid consumption, get this checked out by your GP as it can be a symptom of other illnesses.

Around 20% of you reported an unusual smell when urinating. What you have eaten is the most common cause of funny smelling urine, with beer, garlic and coffee causing unusual smells. If your urine smells extremely sweet on a regular basis, then this can be a sign of sugars being excreted (a possible sign of diabetes) and should be checked out by your Doctor.

Cloudy urine was also present in a around a fifth of responders and is common as a result of an infection, such as cystitis, but in men it can be a sign of an STI or less commonly a condition such as retrograde ejaculation, where sperm enters the bladder.

Only a handful of respondents reported red tinges in their urine. If this is a one off, it’s probably nothing to worry about and could just be a burst blood vessel. If it persists, it could be a symptom of something more serious, such as an injury.

Finally, a few people reported that their urine was green in colour. This could be caused by certain foods (such as asparagus), but it can also be a sign of a sexual infection, such as gonorrhea. As a result it should be looked at by a medical professional.

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Comments and Questions

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Please note: Unfortunately Channel 4 cannot respond to individual inquiries. If you have any concerns, you can check out NHS Choices, but ultimately it is always best to check with a health professional.

While I understand all of the above (what's "good" colour, it's beneficial for diagnosing medical issues) I'm trying to find out WHY it's important to have pale urine. What are the specific negative EFFECTS of dark wee? Why is it bad?Specifically: - what is the physical/actual positive EFFECT of pale urine on the body? - what is the physical/actual negative EFFECT of dark urine on the body?





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Dark urine could mean that your body needs more water which is important for keeping healthy whereas lighter colour urine means your drinking the right amount.

My urine is cloudy and smells all the time, but not a normal urine smell, I drink about 2 a 3 litres so water a day so it is always very pale but the smell is always there. I think it started when I started taking simvastin could that be the cause. Thank you





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im a 41 yr old woman and for the last 6 months my urine is a very dark yellow/orange colour and gives off a very strange smell, the best way to describe the smell is cheesy wotsits, I do drink plenty of fluids so it cant be due to dehydration, any help will be much appreciated





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I have a recurring smell of semen in my urine





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I have a problem with severe pain in my penis. The pain seems to be worse when I'm a little dehydrated. If I do drink a lot of water however, I have to pee every 30-60 minutes. There's no real pattern to the pain and it can come on at many moment. It's severe burning and stinging pain that shoots through the penis. I take a pain killers such as ibuprofen. I have been to see a specialist a number of times as I have had prostate problems. I have had my prostate reduced. To be honest, my specialist seems perplex with my problem. The last internal examination I had, revealed red blotches in my bladder but after samples were taken, no answers were given other than, I my need to managed this problem. To be honest, it's very stressful at times plus very uncomfortable. I would really like to find an answer. Any advice would be much appreciated.





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I have suffered the same symptoms for the past two years, and have recently been diagnosed with a condition called Intercystial Cystitis, theres no cure to the condition but I control the pain by avoiding acidic foods and drinks such as alcohol, tea, coffee, citrus, pasta and by drinking filtered water throughout the day. It took about two weeks of this diet to begin helping me but now I rarely suffer flare ups, i'm surprised at how such small adjustments have improved my quality of life. Maybe you could be suffering something similar?

why does my urine look frothy. im 59 female.





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Very dark orange urine looks almost thick , no appetite and what is eaten is coming back either vomiting or loose stools . There have been problems in recent months with thyroid but thought this was settled





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Very dark orange urine looks almost thick , no appetite and what is eaten is coming back either vomiting or loose stools





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Probable cause: food poisoning Orange or dark coloured urine is a sign of dehydration Drink more fluids and visit gp or out of ours for a rehydration prescription If its severe dehydration you may need to go on a fluids drip to keep you from dehydrating

What is the cause of white particles in urine accompanied by right side back pain?





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That sounds like kidney stones to me. I'm not a medical professional in anyway but I have just had kidney stones and thus is what happened to me too.

What is the cause of white particles in urine accompanied by right side back pain?





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It looks like no one else has asked this question, so please fill in the rest of your details below.





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