Wednesday, February 11, 2015
What Your Pee Says About You
What’s normal, and what’s not.
Sure, you’ve been doing it your whole life, but it’s not a bad idea to pay closer attention to your bathroom habits. How often you hightail it to the loo can clue you in on different aspects of your health.
On average, healthy adults urinate about every three to four hours during the day, says board-certified urologist Rebecca Roedersheimer, MD, of The Urology Group in Cincinnati, Ohio. Get up at night to go, too? You’re not alone: She says about one-third of adults wake up to relieve themselves. Of course, drinking a lot of water, alcohol, or even a cup of coffee can increase the amount of times you go, as well as certain medications, she says.Why try to go at least every three to four hours? It’s important to keep things moving along so that your bladder and kidneys stay healthy. “Regular bladder emptying should help reduce the risk of infection,” Roedersheimer explains.
On the flipside, some people can go to the bathroom too much, which can also be a sign that something is off. Infection, inflammation, an overactive bladder muscle, neurologic diseases, and diabetes can be to blame, she says, in addition to just being overly hydrated.
According to Roedersheimer, it’s “bothersome” if you regularly need to urinate more frequently than every two hours. If that describes you, she recommends watching the clock and trying to increase the amount of time between bathroom trips by 15 minutes each day. So, for example, if you start out going to the bathroom every 30 minutes, try to increase that to every 45 minutes the next day, then every 60 minutes, until you can wait two hours between bathroom breaks. If this isn’t helpful, she recommends visiting a urologist.Tend to wait until the last second to hit the bathroom? That’s not doing you any favours, either. “Delaying the urge to urinate has been associated with increased risk of UTIs and other urinary tract symptoms, including incontinence or a sudden compelling need to urinate,” says Roedersheimer.
As for what happens when you get to the bathroom, pale yellow or clear urine is ideal, says registered dietitian Joey Gochnour — it’s a sign that you’re well hydrated. If it’s darker, you aren’t drinking enough water. If you want to monitor your water intake, the Institute of Medicine recommends that women drink at least 2.2 liters of water a day, and men drink at least three liters a day.