• “The notion of drinking eight glasses a day is unrealistic; you should listen to your body."
• Your doctor can be able to tell some things about your health by simply looking at the colour, odour and consistency of your urine.
It has been pretty cold outside over the past two months. What we really know about the cold season is that it is not just the volume of urine that might be different, but the composition can change too.
The body excretes a higher amount of calcium in the urine during cold seasons. This change is more likely due to lifestyle changes during the cold seasons rather than anything internal.
According to research, we tend to be less active, gain extra weight, and eat more salty, preserved and processed foods. Sweating is also decreased, and the kidney has to bear the entire burden of excretion that is we urinate frequently.
So as the weather cools down, people are often advised to maintain a healthy lifestyle, stay warm, and stay hydrated, even when it is cold.
Your doctor can be able to tell some things about your health by simply looking at the colour, odour and consistency of your urine.
According to Dr Mburugu Gitobu, a Nairobi-based urologist, Kenyans pay a lot of attention when it comes to their urine and most observe the colour and consistency.
This is how most get to know if there are certain changes in their body or when to seek medical attention. Gitobu also says that it is quite normal for increased passing of urine during cold seasons.
“Urine colour is important and any sudden changes like medication or diet can affect that. There is nothing embarrassing about looking, in fact everyone should be encouraged to check on a daily basis,” he told the Star on Thursday.
What you need to know about urine change
“Healthy urine is clear and odourless; if your urine contains blood, it is serious and that might be an indicator of a serious underlying condition.”
Gitobu advises that in case one sees blood in urine, it could be something fairly harmless like medication or it might be a sign of something serious like kidney disease, bladder cancer, a urinary tract infection or an STD.
“Some foods and medicines can change the colour of urine. For example, beetroots can make it reddish or pinkish, carrots can make it orange and some TB medicines can change it to orange to pinkish colour. However, talk to your doctor if your pee suddenly changes colour and you are not sure why."
He said that passing urine that has a strong smell could happen if one is not taking enough water or he or she is taking some supplements.
On cases of cloudy pee, he said it could be a sign of infections or other conditions of the urinary tract; kidneys, bladder and urethra or other reproductive organs.
“Dark yellow to orange colour is the most concerning; it might indicate an underlying kidney condition or it could additionally mean you are severely dehydrated. However temporary conditions or medication affecting the liver or kidneys can also cause this effect,” Gitobu said.
Hydrating is key to maintaining a healthy bladder. However, people should also watch the amount of water they drink.
“The notion of drinking eight glasses a day is unrealistic; you should listen to your body. The colour of your urine should guide you on how many glasses you need. Also environmental factors should be considered,” he said.
He said hot or humid weather can make one sweat, therefore that will require additional fluid intake. Dehydration can also occur at high altitudes.
A study shows that even in cold places, you need more water because every time you breathe, your body is forced to warm and humidify the cold, dry air you inhale.
Then you lose significant amounts of water for every exhalation and water helps you to maintain your body temperature and it reduces the risk of hypothermia; which is a dangerous condition caused by your body losing heat faster than it can produce.
“Drink enough water to hydrate the body, keep warm, but don’t drink more than the body requires,” he advised.