Home Kidneys and urinary systemKidney disease and health Characteristics of urine: what it is and its history

Characteristics of urine: what it is and its history

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

An adult person usually urinates between one and eight times a day, discarding 1,500 milliliters of urine, which throughout life represents 39,000 liters. The composition of this waste liquid is 95% water and 2.5% urea, plus various residues (mineral salts, hormones, and enzymes).

All this is possible thanks to the kidneys’ ongoing work that filters 180 liters of liquid daily. But, apart from this curious statistical point? Next, in FastlyHealwe talks about the characteristics of urine and its use throughout history.

Properties and uses of urine

Although it is commonly considered a waste product, human urine throughout history has had the most unsuspected and varied uses: as an insecticide, toothpaste, detergent, stain remover, pregnancy test, beauty treatment, etc.

In ancient Rome and Pompeii, the population’s urine was collected in jars distributed through the streets to wash clothes. On the other hand, it was the most reliable way to diagnose diseases by observing their color in the Middle Ages. In China, little waters were used for cosmetic purposes. However, the most widespread use that has lasted to this day has been as a method of diagnosing our physical health.

General urine test

At present, urinalysis is one of the most routine tests to determine the presence of certain substances indicative of our state of health. These analytics consist of a battery of chemical tests to identify and measure different elements and a microscopic examination for the detection of red and white blood cells.

In biochemical tests, sheets of paper are used impregnated with products that change color in the presence of substances in the urine. Let’s see below some of them and what implications they have for our health:

  • Proteins: their presence in the urine is known as proteinuria, which is generally caused by albumin and is a sign of kidney disease. However, it can sometimes occur naturally after strenuous exercise or due to a rare and harmless genetic abnormality known as orthostatic proteinuria.
  • Glucose: or sugar in the urine, often caused by diabetes. It can also be due to dysfunction of the renal tube.
  • Ketones – The breakdown of fats forms compounds like acetone, acetoacetic acid, and B-hydroxybutyric. Excess ketones in the urine can also be caused by uncontrolled diabetes, starvation, and alcohol poisoning.
  • Nitrites: their detection in the urine is known as nitrituria and is indicative of a bacterial infection.
  • Blood: the presence of proteins such as hemoglobin or myoglobin is especially interesting for patients with acute renal failure.
  • Leukocyte esterase: This enzyme is found in white blood cells or leukocytes. Its detection is indicative of inflammation caused by bacteria.
  • Urinary pH: the acidity of the urine can be increased by the intake of certain foods, which is why it is especially critical in patients with renal tubular acidosis.
  • Sediment: normal urine contains a small number of cells and other wastes such as casts that come from inside the urinary tract. When more cells are shed than usual, it indicates a urinary tract disease. The study of the models (made up of cellular elements, proteins, and fat droplets) found in the urine help to determine the type of kidney disease.

Urine colors

The color can be as light as water or dark yellow, depending on its concentration. The tone is due to coloring substances called chromogens, such as urobilin. However, removing some food colors can cause the paint to shift towards red.

The excretion of some drugs also causes urine to appear black, blue, green, or brown. Now, except for these assumptions, any color other than yellow suggests the presence of a disease. For example, hematuria (blood in the urine) makes the urine appear brown or red, melanoma stains it black, and porphyria stains it red. Milky-colored urine may be due to phosphate precipitation and indicates the presence of a possible infection.

Curiosities about urine

If you want to know more about urine, here are some curiosities:

  • Optimal hydration: a good water balance or hydration is achieved when the amount of water expelled equals that ingested.
  • Desire to urinate: when the bladder reaches a volume of 250 milliliters, the urge to urinate occurs, although it can be voluntarily delayed to 500 milliliters. A group of neurons in the brain stem are responsible for inhibiting and activating urination at the neurological level. The order of bladder contraction to evacuate the urine travels through the nerve pathways, ending in the spinal cord at the level of the sacral vertebrae that connect with the bladder, the pelvic floor, and the urethral sphincter. Some neurological disorders cause urination to be lost and urinary incontinence to appear.

If you liked this article on the characteristics of urine, you might be interested in this other article on Dark urine: causes.

This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Characteristics of urine: what it is and its history, we recommend that you enter our Kidneys and urinary system category.

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