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We do it a handful of times a day – some more than others. Even though most of us don’t think twice about our pee, it can be a good indication of how healthy we are. This is why your doctor probably asks for urine samples at yearly exams or prior to procedures. The reason why doctors look at their patients’ urine is because it’s liquid waste, primarily made of water, salt and other chemicals. What comes out of the body is a good indication of what’s in it.

Let’s talk about the color and odor of urine and what it means for your own health.

What Color is Your Pee?

Healthy pee should be yellow – anywhere from a pale yellow to a gold yellow. The reason why your urine is this color is because of a pigment in the body called urochrome. If you’re drinking a lot of water (or taking a diuretic), it’s normal for urine to be clear. If you aren’t drinking a lot of water, your urine may be dark yellow or brown.

Other colors that may pop up over a lifetime are:

  • Pink or red. Some foods can cause the pee to be pink or red, such as beets, blackberries or rhubarb. Some medications can also cause this. If the red color is from blood, call your doctor, as it could be a sign of a UTI.
  • Orange. If you find that your urine is orange, it’s probably because you’re taking high doses of vitamin B2. Some medications can cause this, as well as being dehydrated.
  • Blue or green. Blue and green colors usually come from dyes in your food or medicine.
  • Foamy. If your pee looks foamy or frothy, check in with your doctor. It could be a sign of kidney problems.

How Does Your Urine Smell?

Urine usually doesn’t smell that bad, though it can have an odor. Some foods, asparagus in particular, can give urine a pungent smell. When you’re dehydrated, you may notice that your pee has an ammonia smell. If you notice that your urine has an odor that isn’t going away, reach out to your doctor who can check for a UTI, bladder infection or diabetes.

How Often Should You Go?

Everyone is different, so there is no “right” or “wrong” way to pee. On average, people need to empty their bladders around eight times a day, though this depends on what you eat and drink. Some medications can also cause you to urinate more often. Again, if you notice that you are going more than normal, it’s a good idea to see your doctor. There are a number of conditions that could be causing this. Same thing if you suddenly feel like you have to go all the time – this could be a sign of an overactive bladder.