Bladder infection, pregnancy, sugar levels or kidney problems: there is a lot to read from our urine. But how do you know when something is wrong? General practitioner Edwin de Vaal (47) answers.
What exactly is urine?
"Urine is made by the kidneys. Before it enters your bladder, your kidneys extract the useful substances such as vitamins, minerals, sugars and hormones and bring them back into the blood. This way waste products, but also too many salts, remain, sugars or vitamins. They end up in the bladder and urinate. "
Do you have to worry if your urine smells different or has a different color?
"Your pee can sometimes have a different odor or color. That is usually due to nutrition. Think of beets, asparagus or certain herbs. Sometimes the urine is a bit cloudy. That also often comes from food."
"If you pee blood, you must go to the doctor immediately." Edwin de Vaal, doctor
"Occasionally there is a bladder infection, but cloudy urine without further complaints is not in itself a reason to consult your doctor. Even if you urinate blood. That is an alarm signal that you should go to the doctor immediately."
And if your pee is very dark?
"If your urine is very dark, cola-colored, you also have to go to the doctor immediately. This may indicate a closure of the bile ducts. Often this is accompanied by white stools and yellow eye white. But with urine that is slightly darker than usual, orange-colored "You don't have to go to the doctor. Usually you don't drink or sweat too much. The urine is very concentrated. That translates into that dark color."
Is that bad?
"If you systematically drink too little, that is not so healthy. Water is needed for all kinds of bodily functions, but the kidneys also benefit from sufficient fluid. If you have drunk little water, the kidneys have to work harder to get back the fluid that you lack. to get."
How much water should we drink?
"A minimum of 1.5 liters of moisture per day, even more when it's very hot. You can also include juices, tea and coffee."
There are also urine tests. What things can the doctor read from this?
"There are several disorders that can be detected in the urine. Bladder infection or pregnancy, for example. But also a too high sugar level or a problem with the kidneys themselves."
See also: What is a bladder infection and how you can sometimes remedy it yourself
"For example, if the filter in the kidneys does not work properly, there may be protein in the urine. The kidneys help keep the blood composition constant so that all chemical reactions in your body can go well. If something is wrong there, you sometimes see it again in the urine. "
What is the healthiest way to pee?
"Prefer not to hold your pee and do not press while urinating. Older men often have more difficulty with urinating. This is probably due to the interplay of all pelvic floor muscles: the muscles in the bladder and the prostate. But there is still no consensus on that "
"I advise men who are less able to urinate to find out what works best for urinating; standing or sitting. Sitting can sometimes help. But sometimes I also refer them to the pelvic floor physiotherapist or prescribe medication temporarily so that urinating can occur again becomes easier. "
Every week Edwin de Vaal (47), general practitioner in Nijmegen, answers a frequently asked or striking question from his practice at NU.nl.
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