8 Interesting Facts About Urine

by Chris Regal Editor

Urine odor

Sometimes, urine can smell. Sometimes it smells like a specific food. Asparagus, for one, causes a characteristic odor due to asparagines, an amino acid. Foul-smelling urine can be indicative of bacteria and potentially a urinary tract infection. In this case, consult a doctor for urinalysis or urine culture tests. Additionally, sweet-smelling urine could indicate diabetes, in which case, also see your doctor.

Treating jellyfish stings

According to a report in the Western Journal of Medicine, urinating on a jellyfish sting is not an appropriate or effective remedy. Instead, dilute vinegar and apply it to the sting, then ice the injury. The exact origins of the "pee on a jellyfish sting" treatment are unknown, but maybe it was just someone messing with his buddy.

Medical benefits?

Urine therapy is sometimes cited as a "cure-all" that can boost the immune system. At five Urine Therapy World Congresses, people claimed drinking urine cured tuberculosis, HIV, malaria, and cancer, among others. The truth? According to AskMen.com, "morning pee" has a high concentration of melatonin, which has legitimate health benefits. But drinking your own urine is not recommended.

Urine for the skin

Former New York Mets outfielder Moises Alou famously used to urinate on his hands. According to Alou, he did this to "toughen up" his hands. Others claim urine is a skin treatment. Urine therapy is controversial, as few studies exist to substantiate these claims. Urine can contain bacteria and transport germs that could be harmful to both yourself and others. Use caution.

Changing color

In addition to changing its smell, certain foods can also influence the color of urine. Beets can cause urine to be a reddish tint. Fava beans or rhubarb can cause urine to be dark brown or even black. Blackberries can turn it pink. On the other hand, a kidney stone could give it a brownish tint, and blood in the urine can be indicative of kidney damage. Liver damage can lead to brown urine as well.

Sitting vs. standing

A Swedish political party proposed a motion to require gender-free bathrooms requiring all people to sit-down when urinating. According to the party, men who urinate sitting down are at a lower risk for prostate problems. Later in 2012, a Taiwanese minister made a similar proposal, citing the same statistic. In reality, prostatitis can be caused by urinary tract infections, among other factors.

Stopping Urine Midstream

A rumor exists that stopping urinating midstream can be bad for you. By all accounts – admittedly, nothing definitive in a peer-review journal – there is nothing dangerous about stopping urine midstream. Instead, it involves flexing the pubococcygeal muscle, the same one that controls emptying the urethra at the end of urination and controlling biological response during sex.

Washing Hands

Nearly one in five men do not wash their hands after using the bathroom. According to a poll by Harris Interactive, 18 percent of men did not wash hands after using a public restroom. 90 percent of women washed their hands in similar circumstances, though that still leaves 10 percent who do not. Please do it, and follow the NIH's advice for hand-washing while you're at it.

Chris Regal
Meet Our Writer
Chris Regal

Christopher Regal is a former Web Producer for a variety of conditions on HealthCentral.com, including osteoarthritis, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, ADHD, Migraine, and prostate health. He edited, wrote, and managed writers for the website. He joined HealthCentral in November 2009 after time spent working for a political news organization. Chris is a graduate of the Catholic University of America and is a native of Albany, New York.