What Does Your Pee Say About Your Health?
We recently touched on the three types of waste products in Ayurveda (purīṣa/feces, mūtra/urine, and sveda/sweat) and learned what a healthy bowel movement looks like.
Today, we're going to continue our discussion on waste products and dive further into what our pee, mūtra, can tell us about our health. Our body sends us all sorts of clues when something isn't right (rashes, aches and pains, fatigue, etc.), and urine is an important signifier of our overall health.
All About Mūtra
The natural and timely evacuation of liquid waste, our pee, is essential for maintaining health. The basti, or urinary bladder, is considered one of the three most important marmas (seats of prāṇa) in the body.
The Suśruta Samhita, a foundational Ayurvedic text, compares the filling of the basti to the filling of an inverted clay pot when it is submerged in water. As water enters the pot, it is filtered through the vessel's fine pores. Perhaps this is an ancient metaphor for the kidney's filtration function.
In addition to the bladder and kidneys, our urinary system is comprised of the ureters and urethra. Urine is formed as blood filters through the kidneys. Some of the water and micronutrients that pass through are reabsorbed, while some are secreted. About 180 liters of water a day is filtered through the kidneys, with 1.5 liters secreted.
From an Āyurvedic perspective, four handfuls of urine are excreted per day. This number is subject to change based on our fluid intake, salt consumption, and activity level. Like feces , urine is a natural urge and should not be suppressed. According to Āyurveda, suppression can cause pain in the bladder and genital organs, difficulty urinating, and headaches.
The traditional Āyurvedic method of evaluating urinary health involved collecting an early-morning sample (mid stream), storing it in an open-mouthed glass vessel, and examining it during sunrise. The process called for adding one drop of sesame oil into the sample and noting the pattern that resulted to form a diagnosis. While modern laboratory urinalysis has since replaced this early method, ayurvedic practitioners still use this method occasionally.
I wanted to delve into some frequently asked questions my clients and I discuss about urination. Generally, unless it's about babies or UTIs, we don't discuss our pee. Let's dive into some of these more common questions to set the record.
"What Is Considered a Healthy Pee Color?"
The next time you use the bathroom, take a minute to examine the contents of your toilet bowl. Normal, healthy pee color ranges from amber to pale yellow. An orange tint could indicate dehydration or infection.
Noticing pink or red in your toilet bowl may give you immediate concern, but this isn't always a sign of infection. Sometimes this happens if you've eaten a lot of beets or red berries the previous day. If you haven't been eating red foods and notice this discoloration, talk to your doctor.
'Why Do I Pee So Much?'
If you've ever found yourself asking, 'why do I pee so much?', you may be overhydrated. Completely colorless urine, or regularly urinating more than 8 times per day, could indicate that you are drinking too much water. Overhydration can actually dilute essential salts, such as electrolytes.
Frequent urination can also signal infections and diseases.
Alternatively, an overactive bladder may mean you have a weakened pelvic floor. The good news is that you can improve your health with pelvic floor exercises like these.
'Why Do I Have Painful Urination?'
If your bathroom trips are synonymous with pain, it's time to consult a doctor. Some of the most common reasons for discomfort in this area include urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases, and kidney stones.
Ask yourself if you notice any of the following when taking a tinkle:
Pain or burning sensation
Frequent urination during the day or night (hourly or more)
None of these symptoms are considered normal and are a surefire sign it's time to see a doctor.
Another possible reason why you have painful urination could be repeated suppression of this natural urge. Have you ever held it in because you didn't have access to a bathroom or because you were in a long meeting? Do you do so regularly?
I hear this from teachers all the time. Back-to-back classes without an opportunity for a break can cause long-term issues including pain and weakness in the bladder, myalgia, kidney stones, incontinence, UTIs, and more.
If you know you have a habit of pushing off your bathroom breaks, make a game plan to ensure you are never holding it too long.
Waste products are a telltale sign of our overall health. Stop scrolling on your phone and start paying attention to what's happening while you urinate! If you're reading this and beginning to worry that something may be off, now is the time to talk to a doctor. Don't put it off until it's an emergency.
If you're ready to learn even more about Ayurveda and how it can transform your perspective on health and reduce your stress, schedule your free breakthrough call with me now.