Yes, we're talking about pee today, kids. Once you stop giggling, I'll tell you what your urine is trying to communicate.

I remember the first time I saw a graphic like the one below, showing how a hydrated person's urine differed from someone who was dehydrated. It all comes down to color. And once you figure that out, it makes it easy to determine whether or not you're getting enough water.

Now maybe I was living under a rock, but I'd never seen information like this before. I don't remember anyone teaching this in school. And it never occurred to me that my pee could tell me anything of value. Oh, my bladder spoke to me loud-and-clear. But pee was just... pee. It was waste. Right?

Why the Color of Your Pee Matters

The color of your urine can indicate whether you are hydrated or dehydrated. If you're getting enough water, your pee shouldn't be far off from the color of water. Healthy pee is clear, to slightly yellow.

If you're severely dehydrated, your urine can be almost a burnt orange color, like a craft beer of the amber or brown variety. This can also be an indicator that you have blood in your urine - or kidney disease.

Urine colour chart infographic

Infographic courtesy of Healthdirect Australia.

Why is My Pee Darker if I'm Dehydrated?

When you're dehydrated, your kidneys conserve water. The urine it releases is then more concentrated, which results in the darker color.

Is Darker Urine Always Bad?

Certain foods, supplements and medications can also have an effect on the color of your pee. So pay attention to what you put in your body and don't freak out at the first odd-colored pee-stream you have. Ask yourself: "has my diet changed? Am I taking a new medication?" Chances are that's your culprit, if you're drinking enough H20. If it persists, call your doctor.

 How Much Water Should I Be Drinking?

The Mayo Clinic suggests the following:

  • 3.7 liters of fluids a day for men (15.5 cups)
  • 2.7 liters of fluids a day for women (11.5 vups)

The U.S. Army is even more specific with their recommendations, taking into account your activity level and the temperature outside.

U.S. Army Public Health Command Health Information
U.S. Army Public Health Command Health Information

Did You Learn Anything New?

I hope so. Either way, share this article if you think others could use this helpful info. It's so simple, yet so important.

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