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Urine indicators
April 22, 2008 1:48 PM   Subscribe

What can the colour, smell, composition of your urine in the mornings tell you about yourself?

(Put this part on the inside page to avoid the worst of the gross-out factor of this post.) In particular, what is urine crema and what does more or less of it suggest?
posted by zaebiz to Health & Fitness (29 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Trying to divine much from looking at your own urine is a pretty common symptom of hypochondriacs and people with similar problems, so I'd be pretty careful about this.

About the only things I'd get crazy over is blood in the urine, too little bright orange or dark urine suggesting dehydration, or way too much urine combined with constant thirst suggesting diabetes.

If you are staring at your urine more than that, you probably should consider an anxiety problem.
posted by Justinian at 1:57 PM on April 22, 2008


I hesitated to add this, but I guess I should fully answer the question: Assuming by "urine crema" you mean the foam or bubbles that can sometimes develop (is that even a real term?) it sometimes can if present in constantly excessive amounts suggest kidney problems since it could possibly represent protein in the urine. But for gods sake don't look at your own pee and decide you have protein in your urine. Really.
posted by Justinian at 2:02 PM on April 22, 2008


Well, from personal experience, foaming or frothy urine was indicative of high protein levels being spilled along with the urine, which was diagnosed as a kidney problem.
posted by jaimev at 2:04 PM on April 22, 2008


And I agree with Justinian about self diagnosis: don't. Just pee in a cup at the doctor's office and if anything is wrong, let them determine it.
posted by jaimev at 2:06 PM on April 22, 2008


This thread is the first hit on google for 'urine crema'. Where did you ever come up with that term? Anyway, if you aren't peeing blood, you're fine. If you're that concerned you can always check it with Diastix.
posted by pieoverdone at 2:10 PM on April 22, 2008


It can tell you whether you had beets for dinner! Otherwise, my sort of post-pee analysis could tell me if I was going to get my period, whether I was not drinking enough liquids generally, whether I was pissing out caffeine or whether I was maybe eating too much sugar. On the other hand, I could tell all of these things in other ways as well, peeking at my pee just sort of confirms them ["why do I have a huge headache? Oh my pee is darkish, probably dehydrated..."]. I have no experience with this crema of which you speak.
posted by jessamyn at 2:13 PM on April 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


After I've eaten asparagus my pee smells weird. Or did you mean urine chroma, as in color of?
posted by wafaa at 2:25 PM on April 22, 2008


Justinian: "Assuming by "urine crema" you mean the foam or bubbles that can sometimes develop (is that even a real term?) "

It's probably not a real term. It's barista terminilogy meaning the creamy tan substance that indicates a well-made espresso. Been making too much coffee lately.
posted by zaebiz at 2:29 PM on April 22, 2008


Well, from personal experience, foaming or frothy urine was indicative of high protein levels being spilled along with the urine, which was diagnosed as a kidney problem.
posted by jaimev at 5:04 PM on April 22


To all hypochondriacs: please note there is a difference between foam and bubbles. It is normal for bubbles to form when pee hits the water in the toilet. See a doctor if you are worried.

And please for the love of God tell me that "urine crema" was not a misspelling of "urine cream".
posted by Pastabagel at 2:30 PM on April 22, 2008



After I've eaten asparagus my pee smells weird. Or did you mean urine chroma, as in color of?
posted by wafaa at 5:25 PM on April 22


The compound producing the smell is always in urine after a person eats asparagus, but apparently only 40% of people have the genetic ability to smell it.
posted by Pastabagel at 2:34 PM on April 22, 2008


I don't hear the OP implying that he's freaked or obsessed. I also have wondered about this. Sorry, I don't know what crema is.
posted by wafaa at 2:35 PM on April 22, 2008


wafaa: "I don't hear the OP implying that he's freaked or obsessed. I also have wondered about this. Sorry, I don't know what crema is."

Nope not freaked or obsessed. Was just wondering if it could provide any useful information about my health. Re crema, see above. Yes I mean the foamy stuff you sometimes see.
posted by zaebiz at 2:37 PM on April 22, 2008


And finally, you'll learn a lot more from your pee by leaving it in the toilet unflushed overnight. If in the morning the pee is excessively cloudy (all pee will turn slightly cloudy), it may be a sign of excess phosphates or possibly bacteria in the urine.

And I realize I know way too much about this topic.
posted by Pastabagel at 2:38 PM on April 22, 2008


As a diabetic I learned this: Urine with an apple juice (dark amber) color means there's too much sugar in ya. Lemonade looking urine is what you want to see. I don't know if this applies to non-diabetics.

Diabetes use to be diagnose by either tasting the urine for it's sugar content or, more smartly, putting it in a dish outside and seeing if it attracted flies.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:08 PM on April 22, 2008


nothing.
posted by docpops at 3:12 PM on April 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


docpops said it most concisely.
posted by Justinian at 3:33 PM on April 22, 2008


I can tell from the smell of my pee whether I've eaten asparagus or onions recently, and whether or not I'm dehydrated. That's about it.
posted by dilettante at 3:57 PM on April 22, 2008


If it smells like acetone, that could mean you are in ketosis, which is good if you're on a low-carb diet.
posted by beandip at 4:21 PM on April 22, 2008


Bright yellow means you've consumed a lot of beta carotene. Dark yellow shading to orange means you're dehydrated. A lot of foam means you're pissing protein, which isn't good. If you're odd enough to taste it, sweet urine indicates diabetes.

And if you're me, normal-looking pee means the kidney transplant was successful :)
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 5:39 PM on April 22, 2008


I feel especially qualified to answer this question because for the past week I have been studying my pee quite intensively (nephrologist directed).

Anyway, I think the right answer is a combination of docpops with Justinian and jaimev. By itself, I don't think urine is very useful as an indicator for much. However, if used in combination with other symptoms or non-symptoms, it may be useful.

Others are right when they say frothy or foamy urine (which is what I have been looking for in my own pee) can be a sign of protein in the urine (proteinuria), but it could just because you pee really forcefully into the bowl. (Protein changes the surface tension between water and urine. High velocity pee can trap air.)

But I'm not looking just for frothy urine, I'm also looking for swelling in my feet and puffy eyes when I wake up (edema). This is actually my primary means of checking for nephrotic syndrome. Anyway, as my renal failure got worse, it caused dark urine and my output was very low but by that point, other symptoms were worse.

Before my kidney problems, I never looked at my pee and never noted anything about it. Unless you have a specific reason to look at your pee, it's best to have a doctor do a urinalysis if you want to learn anything from your urine. It might be able to tell you something is wrong, but not what specifically. I mean, if you look at, say, MedlinePlus and look at all the urine entries, you'll notice there are several possible causes for all of the problems, including some benign causes such as the food you eat.

Don't put too much stick in your urine.
posted by mathlete at 6:16 PM on April 22, 2008


I can tell that I've eaten tuna by the odor. I've never heard anyone else mention this, though.
posted by marble at 7:00 PM on April 22, 2008


You can add coffee to the list of things that can make urine smell. Also, when I saw "urine crema" I immediately thought of pneumaturia. Many medical tests are more sensitive when performed on the more concentrated urine in the morning, so that may apply if you think you are pregnant or are an athlete being tested for doping. But really, docpops summed it up the best.
posted by TedW at 7:16 PM on April 22, 2008


If I have a multivitamin, it turns bright yellow.
posted by Comrade_robot at 7:16 PM on April 22, 2008


It tells me whether I've drunk coffee or red wine, or eaten tuna or asparagus, or whether the vitamin B supplement I took a couple hours ago was necessary or not (if it wasn't, the excreted excess turns piss a very characteristic bright yellow and makes it smell like vitamin B pills).

If your urine is green, you've probably been eating methylene blue.
posted by flabdablet at 7:19 PM on April 22, 2008


Its a handy way to know if youre drinking enough water. If its dark then you really need to start adding a couple glasses of water to your diet, perhaps cutting out some of the caffeine. If its blue then your friends are having a bit of fun with you.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:17 PM on April 22, 2008


My morning pee tells me if I've eaten buckwheat in the last few hours or more than a touch of Romano cheese in the last day, by the smell. It tells me if I'm hydrated, by the color, which is actually a useful piece of information. It tells me that my feet are still several degrees below my core body temperature, while it cures and prevents fungal problems. I have never investigated its composition. I hope this is helpful somehow.
posted by eritain at 12:09 AM on April 23, 2008


Can't remember where I read it, but at some point I heard you wanted it to be "three C's: clear, consistent and copious"
posted by orchidarea at 9:13 PM on April 23, 2008


Comrade_robot: If I have a multivitamin, it turns bright yellow.

That would be the B-12. Some say it's a great vitamin to take if you're taking an unexpected urine test and want your "oh-my-god-when-was-the-last-time-I-smoked-pot" water-diluted urine to look yellow. Umm, I think.
posted by jckll at 1:47 PM on April 24, 2008


After I eat Super Golden Crisp, my urine smells like.....Super Golden Crisp. I use this as a good barometer to determine if I've covertly been fed.......well.......Super Golden Crisp.
posted by illflux at 6:37 PM on April 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


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