If You're Peeing A Lot, A Urogynecologist Says You May Actually Be Dehydrated
As mundane as they may seem, our bathroom habits can actually tell us a lot about our overall health–most notably, your pee frequency can reveal information about your hydration levels. It's easy to assume that the more you urinate, the more hydrated you are...right?
It turns out, that's not always the case. As board-certified urogynecologist and pelvic floor expert Betsy Greenleaf, D.O., shares on a recent episode of the mindbodygreen podcast, "Sometimes the urge to go frequently is a sign that you may be dehydrated." Yep, we were stunned, too.
Why frequent urination can be a sign of dehydration.
Greenleaf shares that in her practice, people who have the urge to pee often will sometimes "purposely dehydrate themselves" in order to reduce that frequency. "They think, 'Oh, I'm going too much. I'm just not going to drink,'" she explains. And while that may seem (sort of) logical, the consequences can be less than ideal.
According to Greenleaf, consuming less fluids can actually have the opposite effect on the body: "When you become dehydrated, the urine becomes very concentrated," she says. "And within the urine are different chemicals, salts, and these can become very irritating to the lining of the bladder when they're extremely concentrated." Ironically, this phenomenon can mean even more trips to the bathroom. "That irritation to the bladder can actually trigger you to go more," Greenleaf adds.
However, frequent urination can also mean you are drinking too much water. So how can you tell what your pee habits are trying to tell you? Well, Greenleaf advises also taking a look at the color of your urine, instead of only focusing on the number of trips to the bathroom. Remember: Optimal water intake results in pale yellow pee, whereas a dark yellow hue may represent dehydration.
So if your pee appears dark and concentrated and you're heading to the bathroom a bunch? That's a surefire sign to up your water intake. Rather, "When urine is clearer, that's going to be more soothing to the bladder," Greenleaf says. And for many, it can actually slow down the urgency and frequency.
According to Greenleaf, your pee color and frequency can clue you in to signs of dehydration, so it's important to keep both in mind. And while bladder health is on your brain, feel free to check out her nonnegotiable tips for optimizing it long term.
Olivia Giacomo is mbg's Social Media Associate. A recent graduate from Georgetown University, she has previously written for LLM Law Review.