Talking about bodily fluids can be gross. True, mucus and sweat may not be the best dinner conversation. But it’s important not to hold back when you’re talking with your doctor. Share any changes in these bodily fluids because even subtle signs may mean there’s something going on with your health that needs to be addressed.
Believe it or not, we produce and swallow about 2 cups of nasal mucus every day. This bodily fluid serves an important purpose. It’s used as a barrier to infection, trapping foreign particles so they don’t enter the body and infect your lungs.
The color of your mucus may indicate potential health problems.
- White: If your mucus is white or cloudy instead of clear, it’s due to congestion. You may have a cold or allergies.
- Yellow or green: You may have a respiratory infection that your body is fighting off. Or you may have sinusitis, a bacterial infection that needs to be treated with antibiotics.
- Pink or red: This may be due to bleeding or inflammation.
Pay attention to sudden changes in your mucus and how you’re feeling otherwise when those changes happen. See a doctor if you have any concerning symptoms or don’t get better after a few days.
Clear or pale yellow urine is a good indicator that you are generally healthy and well-hydrated. But if you notice other colors, it may mean something isn’t quite right.
- Dark yellow: You may be dehydrated or have an excess of B vitamins in your body.
- Orange: This could indicate more severe dehydration or that your liver isn’t working properly.
- Pink or red: This may be a sign of blood in your urine, which could be caused by a urinary tract infection, kidney stones, or something more serious. If you recently ate beets, your urine may also be this color.
- Dark brown or maroon: This could also be a sign of blood in your urine. Additionally, dark brown urine can be a sign of muscle injury or damage, such as after heavy exertion or significant traumatic muscle injury. It can also be a sign of porphyria, a disorder of the nervous system.
The smell of some bodily fluids like urine can also indicate a health issue. Urine typically should not have much of an odor. If you smell something strong or sweet, it could be a sign of a urinary tract or bladder infection, diabetes or other metabolic diseases. Some foods and medications (like asparagus!) can affect the color and smell of urine. But if it’s happening on a regular basis and you don’t know why, mention it to your doctor.
What's Your Body Telling You?
Talk to a doctor about any changes in your health no matter how subtle.
Sweat is one of those bodily fluids we take for granted. Our bodies produce two types of sweat: a light, watery sweat when we’re exercising and a thick, fatty sweat when we’re stressed. While some sweat is natural and helps to cool you off, there are certain instances when sweating (or not sweating) can indicate a problem.
- Anhidrosis: This is when you never sweat, even if it’s hot or when exercising. This may be caused by diabetes, radiation therapy, heatstroke, alcoholism, or genetics.
- Hyperhidrosis: If you often sweat excessively, a doctor can make recommendations on how to improve this condition.
A sudden outbreak of heavy sweating may also indicate a serious health issue, such as a heart attack. If this happens, especially with other symptoms, seek medical treatment right away.
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