Why does it burn when I pee
June 26, 2008 1:19 AM   Subscribe

I love spicy food, and I seem to suffer no ill digestive-tract-related effects from it. However, it seems that it causes my urine to be.. spicy. Not excruciating, like touching your genitals after handling hot peppers, but quite unpleasant. Is this common? Is it something I should see a doctor for?

Before you ask, no, I don't have an STD; I get tested at my annual physical and this burning seems to only be only associated with eating spicy foods. Also, it has persisted through long periods of sexual inactivity. Everything else down there seems to be in working order; I'm worried it might be some weird kidney thing, as my kidneys were damaged in the past.
posted by tehloki to Health & Fitness (12 answers total)
Response by poster: Now that I think about it, it usually only happens when I eat a roti from Gandhi's... then again, it's probably the spiciest thing on my menu.
posted by tehloki at 1:47 AM on June 26, 2008

Um.... you eat rotis with your hands, don't you? So perhaps you're touching your bits without removing the spice properly... inadvertently. Perhaps. Either that or you're barking mad. Probably it's the hands on your bits though.

Apparently water isn't enough to remove the burn factor from your hands.... lots of soap and vigorous towel rubbing after is probably called for. Then do your wee wee.
posted by taff at 3:04 AM on June 26, 2008

Response by poster: I eat roti with a fork and knife; plus, I'm not circumcized... there's no actual contact of fingers to glans. Plus, it doesn't happen when I touch my penis for.. other reasons, only during urination.
posted by tehloki at 3:13 AM on June 26, 2008

This happens. I get it with certain foods and the next bowel movement is a nightmare. Which is why, generally I stay away from very spicy foods. My GERD Doctor has suggested that having a colonic might help things, but I have not done that. I might. But I really don't know that much about getting a colonic.
posted by parmanparman at 4:18 AM on June 26, 2008

Ok, if you eat roti with a knife and fork then you deserve painful bits! Seriously... that's not how you enjoy roti, possum! Tear a bit off and fold it in to a V shape and use it to scoop up the sauce of your curry.

I don't have much more to add.... except that I know that only certain people get smelly urine from eating asparagus, or red urine from eating beetroot.... not sure if it's the same people or not.... as it's not the case for me. I thought they were a bit mad when I first heard about it. I mean... who smells their urine, for god's sake?

Maybe you're someone who reacts to a specific spice with their urine. Hope you sort it out... and stop eating roti with a knife and fork, it's Indian food!
posted by taff at 4:38 AM on June 26, 2008

A quick googly google just revealed this.... your individual metabolism?
posted by taff at 4:42 AM on June 26, 2008

Hey Taff - you don't have to lean over and sniff the urine, it stinks up the entire bathroom! But maybe I'm just that sensitive to it. Garcia Marquez described it as a "fragrant green jungley bouquet" or something like that.... blech! But that's not what we're here for.

tehloki, my guess would be that something else in the roti is changing your body's PH enough so that it stings when you pee. My first guess actually was a urinary tract infection so slight that you only feel it after your body reacts to teh spicy.

Alternately: Have you tried alternating bites of spicy food with something that neutralizes capsicin, like yogurt?

Are you sure you're drinking enough water along with these spicy meals? Spicy foods tend to be very salty as well, and you could be getting just dehydrated enough to where it stings to pee.

Otherwise, because you have had kidney damage in the past, it seems possible that somehow, an inefficiently screening kidney is allowing capsicin to filter into your bladder when it shouldn't be. You might want to get it checked out.
posted by GardenGal at 6:44 AM on June 26, 2008

This isn't very polite conversation so I won't go into it, but fresh chilies are good. Powdered/processed chili... not so good.
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 8:12 AM on June 26, 2008

I would echo the comments that its probably just your individual metabolism, or a reaction to a specific spice or food. I cant say I've had anything specifically like that, but lord knows I've lived through the proverbial Ring of Fire after a particularly spicy meal. Couldnt hurt to have a chat with your Doc though.
posted by elendil71 at 8:41 AM on June 26, 2008

Best answer: According to this abstract, capsaicin is absorbed from the GI tract, but is almost completely metabolised by the liver (first-pass metabolism) and so never reaches the circulation to be excreted by the kidneys. There are a couple of ways this system can be bypassed. First, if you have liver disease your liver might not be up to the task. Second, if you have an abnormal enzyme that normally metabolizes capsaicin it might not function as effectively. A third possibility is that you are consuming enough capsaicin to overwhelm the system; I have no idea how much that would take, but I would guess an awful lot. I have no idea if any of these might apply to you, and there are other things that I didn't list that might also cause the sort of thing you describe.
posted by TedW at 11:14 AM on June 26, 2008

Best answer: I got interrupted before I could finish, but if you are otherwise healthy, none of the things I mentioned is very likely, so it is most likely to fall into the category of just one of those things.
posted by TedW at 11:46 AM on June 26, 2008

Response by poster: Hmm. The fact that nobody's really heard of this before is kind of unnerving. The fact that I get this and not the "ring of fire" is even weirder.

I should probably just ask about it next time I'm at the doctor, because other than being annoying it doesn't seem to be getting worse. Thanks for the insight, though.
posted by tehloki at 3:24 PM on June 26, 2008

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