The presence of oily urine can tell you a lot about what you’ve been eating, how much you’ve been drinking, and also if a particular infection or disease is present in the body.
Regular urination is a normal part of life, and most people go between six and eight times daily. But, it is rare that people actually look at their urine, or acknowledge changes in urine smell, consistency, or color.
Have you ever have asked, “Why is my urine oily?” Urine gives significant information about the condition of the body, and everything from food products to medications to supplements can easily affect the characteristics of your urine.
Oily urine can be a side effect of certain conditions, especially in pregnant women. Oily urine causes can also include increased vitamin consumption and dehydration, as well as chyle and ketones found in urine.
Read on to learn more about what causes oily urine and the potential diseases associated with it.
General Causes of Oily Urine
Urine is that watery, often yellowish fluid that is stored in the bladder before being discharged through the urethra.
Urination is one of the body’s key mechanisms for eliminating and detoxifying water, salt, and other compounds and wastes filtered from the blood by the kidneys.
A normal color of urine will range between yellow, very dark yellow, and white due to a pigment in the blood called urochrome, which determines the dilution or concentration of your urine.
Brighter orange can even indicate dehydration, while alcohol use, certain foods in the diet, infections, and blood in the urine can all make your pee appear to be a different color.
What causes oily urine? This section will examine how excess vitamin consumption, chyle, starvation, dehydration, pregnancy, and ketones in the urine can all contribute to oily urine.
1. Excess Vitamin Consumption
The presence of vitamins and other supplements can lead to oily urine, especially when there is excessive vitamin consumption. Too much vitamin D in particular can lead to oily urine.
It is also possible that vitamins are not being absorbed properly by the body. As a result, dietary changes may be necessary to help the body absorb and digest food more easily.
In general, the diet should be full of nutrient-rich, fibrous vegetables and other whole foods while absent of processed food with artificial vitamins and colors, as well as preservatives and other chemicals.
It is normal to have a small amount of oily urine due to urine sitting in the bladder for long periods of time. This oily urine is from chyle—a substance made from protein and fats.
But, if the amount of chyle is excessive and has a milky, sticky, or frothy appearance, it is a good time to consult with your doctor for medical attention.
High pressure in lymphatic vessels may cause chyle to get into the urinary tract where it becomes waste. This is considered common in pregnancy, as well as in those with roundworm infections, cancer, and cirrhosis.
Starvation occurs when a person cuts calories and consumes little to no food.
Other times, the body starves even when the person eats their normal diet. This type of starvation often happens with digestive issues, including the food not being properly absorbed or processed by the body.
Starvation may also be the result of a condition called hypermetabolism—higher than normal metabolism.
Under the circumstances of digestive issues and hypermetabolism, the body must turn to itself for nutrition, and it will feed on stored fats. When the fat runs out, the body then feeds on stored protein in the waist, hips, abdomen, and buttocks.
Some of the wastes produced when the proteins are burned get released into the urinary tract, and this can lead to oily urine. This is what is called ketosis—a condition where the body can no longer use carbohydrates for energy.
Oily urine ketosis is a life-threatening problem that also produces symptoms like gout, fatigue, nausea, weakness, increased sweating, and excessive weight loss.
Amber, dark yellow, and oily urine may be a sign of dehydration.
People taking part in vigorous exercise or physical activity, the elderly, and those with gastrointestinal issues are susceptible to dehydration. Excessive perspiration from a high fever or hot weather is another cause of dehydration.
If you notice oily urine, regular water consumption may be all that is needed to help relieve any problems with dehydration. At the same time, if you notice signs of dehydration alongside inconsistent urination, consult your doctor for assistance.
5. Ketones in Urine
As mentioned, oily urine can also result when ketones are found in the urine during ketosis.
Besides not eating on a regular basis or starving the body, other circumstances leading to a state of ketosis include having uncontrolled diabetes, an insulin overdose or blood sugar issues, and having changed your ordinary diet for weight loss, like a low-carb and high-protein diet.
Ketones in urine may also be triggered by excessive exercise, high-stress levels, alcoholism, or adopting a fasting diet.
In ketosis, the body is unable to break down carbohydrates for energy, and must use fats instead. As a result of this metabolic process, ketones are left in the urine, and this is where oily urine may be present.
Pregnancy is another potential cause of oily urine. The nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy can trigger abnormal ketone levels in urine.
Ketones in urine during pregnancy can also be a sign of gestational diabetes—a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy and disappears once the baby is born.
When food is consumed, the body converts it into blood sugar that is then used by insulin for energy. However, during pregnancy, placental hormones can set insulin resistance in motion even though enough blood sugar is available in the body.
Basically, pregnancy women are unable to use the blood sugar due to insulin resistance. As a result, the body uses the fat for energy, and this causes ketones in the urine and oily urine.
Pregnant women with oily urine will also experience underlying metabolic disorders, poor eating habits, and dehydration.
Diseases Associated with Oily Urine
When the urine is normal, it doesn’t have a strong smell. However, a strong smell from cloudy, oily urine may indicate kidney stones or a kidney infection.
Conversely, a sweet smell in the urine can be a symptom of diabetes.
Eating certain foods can also cause the urine to smell, and some of these include cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, garlic, red meat, and excess alcohol.
Orange urine may also be triggered by the consumption of too many red or orange-colored foods, like berries or beets.
There are also certain diseases and health conditions associated with oily urine. As we noted, in general, a healthy person will visit the bathroom six to eight times daily, but this all depends on how much fluid you drink.
If you feel the need to urinate without drinking extra fluids, you may have a urinary tract infection, overactive bladder, diabetes, interstitial cystitis, an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia), or a neurological condition like a stroke or Parkinson’s disease.
Again, normal urine color will be yellow, very dark yellow, and white. Most people do not know what their urine looks like.
Keeping a journal and tracking your urine smell, consistency, and appearance is a good idea. If you feel there is a problem, you can provide your urine journal as important information to your doctor.
The doctor can then give a correct diagnosis for the cause of your oily urine.
Final Thoughts on Oily Urine
Most people will urinate when they have to go, and not think of anything else. However, it is important to consider the consistency, appearance, and smell of your urine.
Something seemingly harmless like oily urine can indicate how much you’ve drunk, what you’ve eaten, or a more serious problem like a disease or an infection in the body. Kidney stones, urinary tract infections, an overactive bladder, an enlarged prostate, or a complication with diabetes and pregnancy like gestational diabetes are all potential culprits.
In this article, we also discussed other key oily urine causes, including ketones in urine, dehydration, starvation, and how chyle and excessive vitamin consumption contribute to oily urine.
Always keep your doctor in the loop about your health, and monitor your urine smell, look, and consistency to help provide a good comprehensive picture of your health.
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