15 Wild Facts About Your Stream

We do it every day, several times a day, so why are we still curious about our own pee? Probably because scientists, researchers, and doctors are still learning more new things about urine every day. What we thought we knew just last year has now been discounted. Take, for instance, jellyfish stings. For the longest time we have been told to pee on a jellyfish sting to reduce the painful effect. It turns out that this is not true. You will get better results by putting the afflicted part in salty sea water. Skip the peeing ritual.

While our own pee seems to fascinate us, how about historical pee? For example, did you know that urine has been used in dying fabrics? This process is still used in some places. Also, animal pee, which I didn’t get to cover in this article, is extremely weird, gross, and fascinating. For example, cat pee will glow under a black light. Hippos, on the other hand, pee backwards and two male hippos will face off butt to butt and pee on each other as a show of dominance.

The strangeness of pee just goes on and on. It is historically and scientifically fascinating stuff.

15 It Starts Off Sterile

When we think of pee, we think of it as something gross and full of germs. There is no way in Hades that we are going to touch it or, goodness forbid, put it on our sunburn as some people say they do. The truth is that our healthy urine is sterile. It is not until it leaves the body that is becomes dirty. Your pee can pick up bacteria at it exists in your urethra. After your pee is in the toilet, bacteria is automatically attracted to it and can thrive in urine. Does that make you feel any better about your pee? Probably not, but just knowing that it is not teaming with germs while it's inside your body should help you get over your squeamishness for the yellow stuff. Of course, if your pee appears to be cloudy or if you already know you have an infection, your pee is going to contain unhealthy germs.

14 We Have To Pee Pretty Often

Honestly, when I was pregnant, I felt like I was peeing about twenty times a day or maybe more. I probably wasn’t, but I was sick of seeing the inside of the bathroom or having to stop to use the bathroom at a restaurant because I couldn’t wait another 10 minutes to get back home. Pregnant women do pee more than the average person because we have increased urine production and because our uterus is expanding, putting more pressure on our bladder. On the flip side, the average person who is not pregnant will have to urinate about six to eight times a day. That really is not so bad, especially when you consider that the average pee only takes about seven seconds. Think about that the next time you blurt out that you don’t even have time to go potty. Peeing only takes a few moments and holding it in is not worth the risk of getting a bladder infection or a UTI – both of which totally suck.

13 It Softens Leather

At some point long, long ago, someone discovered that their pee can be used to make leather softer. Maybe it was some caveman coming back home after eating a bunch of fermented berries, and he stopped to wee on some leather skins stretched to dry in the sun? Who the heck knows, right? Whatever the case was, urine used to be collected and stored until the urea broke down into ammonia. Animal hides were soaked in this stinky stuff to soften the skin and to get the rest of the meat and hair off of the hide. Not so surprisingly, ancient Romans also collected pee and stored it until it stank of ammonia. They used it to soak dirty clothing and get out the tough stains the way people still use store-bought ammonia today to get out tough stains. In other words, stale pee is pretty useful stuff when it comes to leathers and fabrics.

12 It Exits Through Your Urethra

I actually got in an argument with another woman over this one because apparently health teachers don’t feel comfortable with teaching young women about the intimate parts of their bodies. The argument was over where pee comes out of. The woman insisted that pee comes out of the vagina hole. That is not true. We do not give birth and go pee through the same hole. No, women have a urethra. It is a thin tube that goes from your bladder to a hole above your vagina. Most women do not know that it is even there, but with a diagram and a hand held mirror, you can view your own urethra. Men, on the other hand, pee through their penis. Needless to say, the woman was in a huff when I asked another woman to pull up a diagram online to show her that there are indeed two holes down there, each serving a totally different purpose.

11 It Is Mostly Water

Admit it. You secretly wonder what exactly your pee is made of, right? I mean, who doesn’t ponder that question every now and again while sitting on the potty having a tinkle. Surprisingly, your pee is made of mostly water, about 91 to 96 percent. When you drink water it helps flush out your system. Your kidneys work to remove the waste from your blood and the water helps move it on out of your body. Urea, hormones, salts, carbs, and creatinine can all be found in your urine. In total, over 3,000 different chemicals can be discovered in your pee, depending on what you eat, the medicines you take, and your environment. This is why doctors test your urine to find out if there are any environmental factors affecting your health and why jobs have your urine tested for drugs during pre-employment. It's possible to find out a lot about your lifestyle from just a few drops of your pee.

10 It Can Tell You When You’re Dehydrated

When you got up this morning you had a nice hot cup of coffee or tea. During your lunch hour at work, you drank a can of soda. After work, you grab a single water bottle and head over to the gym. You work out for 45 minutes and then finish off your bottle of water before leaving for home. When you get home and sit down for a private tinkle, you notice that your pee kind of smells almost like ammonia. Why is that and is there something wrong with you? More than likely you did not drink enough liquids during the day, especially water, and now you have dehydrated your system. You need to take in more water during the day and during your exercise routine so that your kidneys can properly flush out the waste in your blood stream. If, after adding more water to your diet you still have an odor, visit your doctor to find out if there is another problem or to help you calculate the right amount of water you should be drinking each day.

9 It’s Explosive

While I certainly would never recommend that anyone get all Game of Thrones and begin making a stock pile of their own explosives, pee has been used as a source for making gunpowder. That’s right. Your pee is explosive. The main ingredient in gunpowder is saltpeter, more rightly known as potassium nitrate. It just so happens that it is also an ingredient that is found in our pee. As recently as the 1800s, urine and manure were mixed together and allowed to ferment for a few months. That must have smelled great, right? Especially since they would also use the liquid slop from cesspools and outhouses. After being stirred and ripened for several months, the liquid was allowed to evaporate. The white stuff, called ash, that dried at the top was collected and combined with charcoal and sulfur to make gunpowder. Thankfully, they make synthetic saltpeter for gunpowder these days. Could you imagine living near or downwind from one of those pits?

8 Carrots Make It Orange

You have probably heard the saying that you are what you eat, but did you know that what you eat can also change the color of your pee? That is right. Certain foods can turn your pee pink, green, or even red. The next time you see that your pee is a strange color, think of what you just ate. Asparagus can turn some people’s urine green. Eating a lot of carrots or ingesting a high amount of vitamin C can make your pee look more orange-ish than yellowish. Rhubarb can make your pee brownish like the color of tea. Beets and blackberries can give your pee a pinkish or even a reddish color. Medications can also change the color of your pee, from different shades of brown to blue, green, or even orange. If you haven’t ingested any of these items and your pee is a strange color, you need to see a doctor for further testing.

7 It Was Used To Make Invisible Ink

Here is something you might never want to try. During WW1, the British MI6 began experimenting with different ways to make invisible ink. It was discovered that men’s semen could be used as invisible ink when there was a need to send a secret message to some official. What an image, right? You can probably picture some poor agent having to do the deed near a battlefield, collect the goop, and begin writing a semen covered letter that will be handed from person to person. Yum! I hope the handlers washed their hands often. While that bit of history makes invisible ink made from lemon juice seem rather tame, it just so happens that pee can also be used to make invisible ink. The ancient Romans used urine messages to pass on secrets to one another. Urine is certainly more plentiful than semen, but I think I will stick with the lemon juice instead.

6 Women Used To Stand To Pee

We ladies didn’t always sit down to pee. In fact, in places like ancient Egypt and in old Ireland, women would stand while they peed. Men, on the other hand, pulled a squat. Men and women in ancient China peed standing up which only makes sense because of the robes they wore. Hoisting the layers up would have been way too much trouble for just a quick pee. Move forward to about 200 years ago and the women of Europe would often pee standing up. Once again, the dresses allowed them to stand and pee without showing off their bare dirty butts (they didn’t wear underwear or bathe as often as we do today). Not so strangely, women are once again taking to peeing standing up. In many situations, it is just more convenient to pee while standing, such as when you are out camping. Lady devices are on the market to help women funnel the urine away from their bodies so that they don’t pee on their pants.

5 It Used To Be A Gross Way To Whiten Teeth

What wouldn’t you do for whiter, brighter teeth? Would you swish urine around in your mouth for some beautiful pearly whites? Probably not, huh? Well, maybe you would if you were living in ancient Rome and wanted white teeth. After all, they didn’t have teeth whitening strips back then. What they did have was pee, and urine buyers would go around from door to door to buy the household’s pee. Some of the collected pee was allowed to ripen, increasing the amount of natural ammonia in it. The ripened pee was then bottled and sold as a mouth wash. Ancient Romans would swish this foul smelling, bacteria-filled liquid around in their mouths each morning. The ammonia would help remove stains from the teeth and voila! White teeth and stinky breath. We know today that putting stale urine in our mouths is extremely unhealthy and unsafe. Stick to brushing your teeth and getting your teeth professionally whitened.

4 It Should Not Be Used As A Survival Drink

The first time I ever heard of someone voluntarily drinking urine was in the movie Dodgeball. Before that, I had heard that it was used in survival situations. As the survival lore goes, if you are in a desperate situation and there is absolutely no other source of drinkable water, you should drink your urine to stay hydrated. Indeed, survival shows have made contestants drink their own urine in mock survival challenges. The question is, should you do it? According to the US Army Field Manual, you should not drink urine as a method of survival. Your urine contains salts and that could speed up dehydration. If you are ever worried about being stranded in the desert without water, read up on the latest survival techniques and learn which cactuses and plants can be harvested for water. Also learn how to clean water through a homemade filtration system. Avoid drinking urine as best as you can.

3 There Is Pee On The Moon

Have you ever pondered what astronauts do with their pee when they are in space? I already knew that they had to bag their body waste, but I didn’t know what they did with it after that. The Atlantic magazine published a piece on our litter left on the moon. It is as though humans can’t go anywhere without leaving their trash behind. It turns out that we have left around 400,000 pounds of stuff behind on the moon. How nice of us, right? It turns out that our astronauts have left behind 96 bags of bodily waste: poop, pee, and vomit. Wet wipes and hygiene kits were also left behind. Yum, right? Most of the weight includes crashed, unmanned spacecraft. What will the aliens think of that? Probably that humans are disgusting and wasteful and that they should just skip over our planet. Actually, it is not at all surprising that we would treat the moon like a dumping ground, just as we do our own planet.

2 Shy Bladder Is A Real Thing

I developed what the nurses called a “shy bladder” when I was a teenager. If I had to give a urine sample, forget it. It could take hours before I could convince myself to pee, and that was after they had brought me water to drink. In my early 30s, I was hired to work in a hospital, pending a drug test. Well, I don’t touch drugs, but the pee test, I knew, was going to be hell. I got up, peed in the morning, and then made sure that I drank plenty of homemade tea and water before my test in the late afternoon. Sure enough, it still took me a full two hours of sitting there until I was able to produce enough pee for a pee test. Yeah, that is a shy bladder and it is technically called paruresis. With help and physical therapy, people can overcome the condition. For myself, working in the hospital helped me get over my hangups.

1 The Strong Chlorine Smell At Your Local Pool Is Because Of All The Pee

Just the other month I took my four year old daughter to a large indoor swimming park. After dropping our bags off in our rooms and changing into our swimming suits, we headed straight for the indoor pools and slides. The moment we stepped inside the huge area, we were both hit by the intense smell of chlorine. It was chokingly strong and we had to go to the outside pools where the smell was not as intense. Little did I know at the time that that horrible smell was from people peeing in the damn pool. Who does that? In a public pool, yet. According to statistics, 20 percent of adults admit they have peed in a pool. The pee combines with the chlorine and creates chloramine. This is what that strong smelling chlorine scent is. It is also what makes your eyes red when you swim in a public pool.

Sources: about.com, harvard.edu, smithsonianmag.com, theatlantic.com

More in Mishaps