Sometimes new ketonians think of the strangest things to ask about on the Ketogenic Success Facebook group. One thing that just seems to keep coming up, again and again, is the question regarding changes to their urine stream. (We always want to remind people that there are over two hundred thousand users in the Ketogenic Success group, and maybe this isn't a question they would ask in front of a crowd that large, but clearly, the question is on a lot of minds!) So let's look at a couple of changes you may notice in the toilet after emptying your bladder.
Change in Color
You may find that your urine is changing color. Frequently folks report it getting lighter.
This is totally normal. When you pass more water through your body, the urochrome that gives your urine its yellow color is diluted and your liquid waste may shift in hue to become straw colored. This happens as your cells release their retained water, as well, so this sight is commonly paired with a 'whoosh' in weight loss as inflammation decreases in your body.
If your urine becomes nearly clear, or entirely transparent, you may be drinking too much water. Don't force yourself to drink water if you're not thirsty (unless you are dehydrated, more on that in a moment). If you are continuously drinking water and your pee is clear, be sure to replace your electrolytes with each serving (easiest thing to do is add Himalayan salt to your water bottle, or even pop a couple of H Salt crystals with each new glass of water). You can also replace electrolytes by drinking a shot of pickle or olive brine (just make sure it's high quality, without unnecessary chemical ingredients).
If your urine gets darker, on the other hand, you are likely not drinking enough water. Sometimes when we are dehydrated our bodies get confused, since water is required for our system's electrical signals to travel properly, and you may not feel thirsty. Try to hydrate well, and do so throughout the day (don't chug a gallon at once and call it done, this can be dangerous and any benefits will not last throughout the day). No, coffee doesn't count.
Bubbles, or Froth
If you're drinking more water, and your cells are flushing more water, you may be filling up your bladder faster than normal. Due to this, it may be coming out of your body at a higher than usual velocity when you urinate. You will be more likely to see this in the morning after waking, or if you "hold it" too long.
Just like water from a kitchen tap at high pressure may foam a bit, bubbles may appear on the surface of the toilet water. They will generally dissipate very quickly. If your urine is dark in color while also foamy, you may be dehydrated.
For most people with no other symptoms of illness, this is no big deal and is completely normal.
If your urine is also cloudy there may be a kidney issue where your usual filters are allowing an excess of protein to escape in your urine (think of foaming an egg white to make a meringue). If this condition persists, and if you have other symptoms of illness, you should seek the attention of a physician.
If urination also causes a burning sensation paired with foam, you may have a urinary tract infection (UTI) and should seek treatment.
But in general, if it only happens when you haven't used the toilet in a while, or it only lasts a day or two (or goes away if you are careful to hydrate more), it's not generally a cause for worry.
The Oil Slick
Some people report an oil slick that they see on the surface of the toilet water after they are a few days into their new ketogenic lifestyle. The timing is no coincidence! Your urine flushes waste materials from your system, and chyle (fats and proteins) may be flushed from your system more readily than they were when your insulin levels kept locking them away in your cells.
Additionally, in ketosis, you may begin producing more ketones than your body can use, and those will leave your body in the form of acetoacetate. Rather than freak out at the site of an oil slick, be proud of your ketosis! You just saved yourself from having to spend ten bucks on a tube of ketone urine strips.
This post has been brief, but so should your attention be to these items. While it's good to be aware of changes happening to your body, temper that with the expectation that things will change as a result of your dietary shift.
If you have no other symptoms of illness and the only thing that has changed is that you pee more often, pee with ferocity, and pee out the excess ketones that you are creating in your body, then everything is proceeding according to plan and you have nothing to worry about.
Here's the part where we remind you that we are not physicians and the above should not be taken as medical advice or replace the advice of your doctor. This is laymen's information based on the experience of over 200,000 members of our Facebook group, but you know your body best, and if you feel that something is wrong please go see your doctor.