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General Wellbeing

woman practicing breathing techniques in nature and being mindful

Getting Started with Mindfulness

By General Wellbeing, Mental Health No Comments

What is mindfulness?

 

Originating from ancient Eastern traditions, mindfulness is essentially trying to connect our mind to the present moment, non-judgmentally.

However, when our mind swings from the past to the future, and back again, it can rarely have a chance to rest in the present.

Why can this be unhelpful for mindfulness?

 

When we recall painful memories/regrets, or worries for the future, we feel the horrible feelings that come with it and can’t do anything to change it.

We have no control over what has already happened or what is to be. Our power and control rests solely in the present moment.

What does being in a state of mindfulness feel like?

mindfulness words in a wave illustration

 

If you think about the moments when you feel most calm and at peace, it is usually when you’re completely engaged in the moment, free from unhelpful self-talk and stress.

It might be feeling the breeze on your face when you are outside, enjoying a hot shower, or being engrossed in a hobby.

Your whole being is involved and engaged in the moment, body and mind.

This integrated state is so different to what we are used to – driving home from work and thinking about dinner, on a zoom call but wishing you were talking to your friends and talking to your friends with your mind on housework!

How can mindfulness be achieved in daily life?

 

Try an activity where you can actively connect with your body:

  1. Laying on your back in bed/on the couch, feeling the rise and fall of your breath in your abdomen and chest.
  2. Body scan. Work your way slowly up from your feet to your forehead, simply noticing the sensations in each part. You can take this a step further by intentionally tightening and loosening muscle groups (progressive muscle relaxation)
  3. Taking a deep breath, stretching your hands up to the ceiling, and exhaling slowly allowing your arms to rest gently by your sides. This can be repeated for a few minutes

mother and daughter practicing yoga pose in the loungroom

Make the most of nature:

 The outdoors is an easy space for us to feel connected with our senses and trying to get outside when the weather is good can be helpful.

Use your senses to engage in the moment – what can you hear? See? Touch?

When we feel stressed and overwhelmed, trying to ask ourselves “What is under my control right now?”

These are simple practices we can all try no matter where we are, the aim being to make it more than a ‘practice’ but an awareness that can benefit our lives.

mindfulness woman in nature holding out her arms

 

To see where you are at in your mindfulness journey, you can try this simple questionnaire called Mindful Attention Awareness Scale 

Smiling Mind can support your (and your family’s mental health throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. They offer a FREE daily mindfulness and meditation app and guide at your fingertips. You can learn more about them here

Priyanka Nair HealrhMint Medical Centre Psychologist

Priyanka Nair

General Psychologist (BHSc, MHSc, PGDipCounsPsych)

Priyanka is a lovely and warm registered Psychologist, trained in New Zealand.

The two main modalities used by Priyanka are, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), and Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT). Priyanka also has experience with Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), and has conducted skills-based groups for both adults and children.

Priyanka has worked with adults presenting with a range of concerns including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, work and financial issues, chronic fatigue, interpersonal difficulties, adjusting to physical illness, grief, and managing sleep. She has seen the impact of mental distress on career, relationships, and personal happiness, and aims to equip clients with skills to manage the mind. She is passionate about third wave psychology, and particularly resonates with ACT, a values-based, mindful approach to managing the mind and its thoughts/emotions.

Priyanka is aware of your needs, and will tailor every session to accommodate you. She is able to build rapport easily, and works with you to find a long-term approach to manage any unhelpful patterns in your lives.

Book Appointment

Watch Priyanka introduce herself here

How to Improve your Gut Health

By General Wellbeing, Lifestyle, Nutrition No Comments

What is gut health?

Gut health is the balance of microorganisms that live in the digestive tract. Looking after and improving your gut health is vital to your physical and mental health, immunity, and levels of anxiety and stress. Read on to discover how you can improve your gut health.

Gut health is important and is linked to the following:

  • Immune function
  • Weight management
  • Mental health
  • Autoimmune conditions

What causes gut health issues

How do I know if my gut health is off?

  • Upset stomach: gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea and heartburn can all be signs of an unhealthy gut
  • Food intolerances: bad bacteria in the gut can cause a difficulty in digesting some foods and also cause bloating, abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhoea
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Difficulties sleeping
  • Fluctuations of weight

how to improve your gut health

What can you do to improve your gut health

  1. Change your diet: Eat plenty of non-processed or low-processed foods that are low in sugar and fat. A diet higher in protein and fibre can help aid in gut health.
  2. De-stress: Stress and gut health go hand-in-hand and can affect your whole body. Ways to reduce your stress can be as easy as heading out for a walk, taking up yoga, getting a massage and swapping your coffee for a low caffeine drink.
  3. Ruling out food intolerances: Try to eliminate the foods that trigger your gut issues to see if your symptoms of bloating, cramping, diarrhoea and fatigue improve.

how to improve your gut health

Recommended food types to improve your gut health

  • Fermented foods: benefits hav e been documented to improve the gut health. Some of these probiotic foods to include are yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir.
  • High Fibre foods: Bananas, beans, legumes, fruits and vegetables
  • Bone Broth

Gut health and anxiety

Yes it’s true – your gut and brain and intrinsically connected. The gut is sensitive to emotion! Anger, anxiety, sadness, happiness, are all feelings that can trigger symptoms in the gut.

Feelings of being nervous before a big meeting at work, or pains during times of stress are a part of the gut/brain relationship.

how to improve your gut health, anxietySymptoms of gut health and anxiety

  • Loose stools
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Shaky hands
  • Weight loss
  • Restlessness
  • Procrastination
  • Drinking or smoking more
  • Overwhelming sense of tensions and pressure
  • Quick tempers and quick to snap
  • Depression
  • Poor concentration
  • Indecisiveness

If these symptoms are of concern to you, it may be a good idea to chat to your HealthMint GP or Psychologist. There may be strategies to help deal with the triggers and in turn, improve your digestive and gut issues.

Want more information?

Call (03) 5611 3365 to speak to a friendly patient concierge

or book an appointment here
effects of lack of sleep on your body healthmint medical centre cranbourne north

Effects of Lack of Sleep on your Body

By Body Systems, General Wellbeing, Lifestyle, Sleep, Uncategorized No Comments

Sleep is important to our body and helps our systems regulate and repair after our waking hours each day. Although sometimes life gets in the way and we find ourselves not getting enough sleep on occasion, longer term effects of not getting enough shut eye can lead to various health problems and also cause danger and impede judgement to yourself and others. Here we explore some surprising and scary effects that the lack of sleep can have on your body:

What are the some of the symptoms of a lack of sleep?

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Yawning
  • Moodiness
  • Forgetfulness
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Lack of motivation
  • Increased appetite

The body has to fight harder when you’re lacking sleep

A lack of sleep on the body prevents the body from having a strong immune system and makes it more prone to sicknesses and infection. It can also means that the body will take longer to heal from any existing illness and increases the chances of developing chronic illnesses and other serious health problems.

effects of lack of sleep on your body healthmint medical centre cranbourne northSerious health problems

Sleep disorders with chronic sleep loss can cause heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure just to name a few

A lack of sleep causes accidents

Around 20% of fatal road accidents involve driver fatigue. According to the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) in Victoria, fatigue is a major cause of crashes resulting in some 50 deaths and approximately 300 serious injuries each year. Sleepiness and sleep deprivation can cause havoc on the roads and is a major problem when it comes to the road toll. Drowsiness can have the same affect on reaction time as drunk driving.

It’s not only the road toll that suffers, but accidents at work are more likely to occur when there is a lack of sleep. Workplace injuries are a very real concern and can have disastrous effects.

Extra weight without the eight!

By not getting the recommended average 8 hours of good-quality sleep a night to function properly, it can lead to weight gain. The two hormones in the body, leptin and ghrelin, control feelings of hunger and fullness, and these two hormones are directly affected by sleep!

Getting moody

A lack of sleep can affect your mood, and you can become more likely to have conflict with others in your personal relationships and at work. You may also feel less motivated to complete normal day-to-day tasks as well as pursue larger goals in life.

effects of lack of sleep on your body healthmint medical centre cranbourne northCan you reverse the effects of a lack of sleep?

Sleep debt is accumulated when there is a lack of sleep and you can enter a sleep deficit. You can settle short term debt by adding a couple of extra hours of sleep over the following week if you are 10 hours or less behind in sleep.

Of course the best way to avoid the effects of a lack of sleep is to get the recommended 7-9 hours of good quality shut eye each night.

 

If you are feeling the effects of a lack of sleep, it may be time to look at the reasons why you are depriving your body of it. Both intentional and unintentional reasons cause the same effects. No matter if you are staying up too late, have shift work, demanding jobs, family obligations or young babies, these are all common causes. By addressing the reasons why, choices can be made to improve the quality and time spent in the land of nod!

If you are concerned about the amount of sleep you are (or are not getting!) Then book an appointment with one of our great HealthMint GPs. They may be able to assist you with the causes and treatment options for short and long term sleep issues.

morning yoga healthmint

8 Benefits of Exercise

By Body Systems, Chronic Disease, Chronic Pain, Diabetes, General Wellbeing, Lifestyle, Men's Health, Mental Health, Women's Health No Comments

Living a healthy lifestyle can be beneficial to your health, prevent some illnesses and diseases and can help to improve your mental health! Here we look into 8 benefits of exercise. 

1. Exercise boosts and benefits your mood

One of the most common mental benefits of exercise is stress relief. Exercise helps to block negative thoughts and distracts from daily worries and stresses. It  only releases the levels of, but also increases the levels of chemicals like serotonin and endorphins that can moderate responses to stress. It’s a win win!

benefits of exercise improve mood healthmint 2. Exercise assists in weight loss and helps prevent unhealthy weight gain

Exercise is extremely helpful in the journey of weight loss and weight management. Exercise speeds up metabolism, and increased activity levels increases the body’s fuel consumption (calories).

Regular physical activity combined with a healthy diet will increase the chances of weight loss.

8 benefits of exercise control weight loss healthmint3. Exercise reduces the risk of and helps to manage cardiovascular disease, reduce risk of heart attack, lower blood cholesterol, lower blood pressure

Regular physical activity can greatly reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure and can actually also help to lower blood pressure! Lowering the levels of cholesterol and keeping your arteries clear of fatty deposits by undertaking regular exercise can reduce the chances of heart attacks and strokes.

8 benefits of exercise cardiovascular health heart healthmint4. Social interaction and exercise go hand-in-hand

Find an exercise buddy – grab a friend or family member and hit the pavement. Let’s face it, exercise is more fun with someone and it works both ways to motivate each other and keeps each other’s exercise goals in check.

8 benefits of exercise socialising healthmint5. Build strong muscles and bones

Exercise that involves weight bearing like walking, stair climbing, weightlifting helps to preserve bone mass which can help protect against osteoporosis. Exercise also builds and strengthens muscles which in turn protects the bones from injury and support and protect the jones that might be susceptible to or affected by arthritis. It also improves the blood supply to muscles and can help prevent age related loss of muscle mass.

8 benefits of exercise strong kids dad family healthmint

6. Reduce the risk and help manage Type 2 Diabetes

For those with Type 2 Diabetes, physical exercise is a critical party of the treatment plan. Exercise can reduce the glucose in your blood! It helps with keeping blood glucose levels in check and in the correct range. Controlling blood glucose levels is essential in combating long term complications such as heart problems.

7. Exercise helps with sleep quality and benefits energy levels

When you exercise, your body naturally depletes its energy stores which helps when trying to fall asleep. When exercising, you may have longer, deeper and greater quality sleeps which helps make you feel more energised throughout the day. Around 30 minutes of exercise is all it can take for a better nights sleep and more energised days!

8 benefits of exercise boost mood aid sleep healthmint8. Lower the risk of falls with exercise

Exercise is a proven way to prevent falls by improving balance and strengthening the muscles that keep us upright.  As we get older, a fear of falling may limit the decision to want to undertake exercise – but this can have a damaging affect and actually increase the risks of developing chronic diseases and the probability of falls.

Of course, there are many more reasons other than these 8 benefits of exercise to consider. Being regularly physically active will always have positive effects on your mind, body and soul, it’s just about finding the types of exercise that suits you and your lifestyle, setting small, achievable goals to start off with, and building up the process of becoming a healthier, happier YOU!

Before undergoing any new types of exercise make sure you have a medical check from your HealthMint GP. You can even get a FREE* Health Check Up (valued at $159) to get you started on your journey to great health and on your way to your fitness and exercise goals.

Casey Cardinia Business Awards Finalist

Casey Cardinia Business Awards Finalist

By Business, Clinic News, Featured, General Wellbeing No Comments

HealthMint Medical Centre in Cranbourne North has been nominated as a finalist for the the 2019 Casey-Cardinia Business Awards!

The awards is an annual partnership between the City of Casey and Cardinia Shire Council to recognise and celebrate the outstanding achievements and contributions of businesses and organisations in the local area.

We are in the running for the Health, Education and Well-being award, as well as in the running for the coveted Casey Cardinia Business of the Year Award!

In the four years since opening, HealthMint Medical Centre have been re-imagining the GP clinic and have succeeded in creating a space where our patients feel heard, relaxed, respected, and confident that their health is in good hands.

The famous 5 minute wait time has been splashed across the media this year and it has been a real game changer when it comes to setting the clinic apart. With the aid of state of the art technology to save time, being efficient has allowed for more time available with the clinic’s doctors, nurses, and allied health specialists.

HealthMint believes in delivering a high quality service while keeping prices affordable, and healthcare accessible to all. A proactive and preventative approach of healthcare is constantly at the forefront of the medical centre’s model, and with initiatives like free Health Check Ups for new patients and the availability of health check-lists during appointments, niche services like Iron Infusions, skin checks, and bulk billed Quick Consults, the health and wellbeing of the patients are always the priority.

The winners of the Casey Cardinia Business Awards Finalist will be announced at a Gala Dinner on Friday 18th October at the Cranbourne Racing Centre.

With excitement in the air, several of our team members will be in attendance on the night with fingers and toes crossed!

HealthMint wishes all the finalists good-luck and cannot wait to celebrate with the other local business on the night.

You can see a complete list of the wonderful finalists here:

https://caseycardinia.com.au/business-awards/2019-finalists

 

Casey Cardinia Business Awards FinalistCasey Cardinia Business Awards Finalist

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10 news first melbourne gp clinic healthmint cranbourne north

Medical Centre Cranbourne: HealthMint Has 5 Minute Wait Times

By Business, Clinic News, General Wellbeing No Comments

.

Channel 10 news popped into HealthMint Medical Centre in Cranbourne North this week to see what all the hype has been about lately surrounding the clinic and reports that we have only a 5 minute wait time to see a GP!

We had an amazing experience showcasing the Clinic of the Future with the use of technology and amazing staff to make the patient experience a positive and memorable one. Patients can check themselves in using iPads while a concierge welcomes them at our check in bar before relaxing in the lap of luxury.

Here at this Cranbourne Medical Centre, traditional reception areas as well as Doctors sitting behind clunky desks have been done away with. This allows for better contact with patients which results in them feeling heard and understood – an approach unique to HealthMint Medical Centre.

Streamlining the registration and sign in process allows for longer consultations for each patient. Appointments actually run on time at HealthMint! Current patients continue to express their pleasure with no longer having to wait extended periods of time (sometimes hours) to see a doctor. Long wait times are considered the norm at most other GP clinics.

Founder and co-owner of HealthMint Chantelle Brott explains to 10 News, “When you’re unwell you want nothing more than to sit on the couch in your pyjamas. So we thought why not create that living room like experience.”

There are plans in place to expand HealthMint’s unique style of medicine across the country. It’s a goal to make a significant change in Australian healthcare.

Ashley Apps a patient at HealthMint told 10 News how wonderful it was to “actually want to come to the doctors, instead of dreading going each time”. Her needs to provide her children with the best healthcare has been made possible thanks to the clinic.

Booking appointment focuses on technology with the option of downloading the HealthMint app or booking online.

 

Want to experience HealthMint Medical Centre Cranbourne for yourself? Book an appointment here

Want more information?

Call (03) 5611 3365 to speak to a friendly patient concierge

or book an appointment here
lactose-intolerance-milk-cereal

Lactose Intolerance Symptoms and Treatments

By General Wellbeing, Lifestyle, Nutrition No Comments

Lactose Intolerance is a phrase that is commonly thrown around, but many people don’t realise the signs, symptoms, treatments and that yes! you can still consume some of your favourite dairy foods!

What is lactose intolerance?

Lactose intolerance comes from the body not having enough lactase enzymes in order to digest lactose.

What is lactose?

Lactose is a milk sugar that is broken down by the enzyme lactase, which is found in the small intestine. It is present in milk based products such as yoghurt, cream and cheese.

How do I know if I am lactose intolerant?

What are the signs/symptoms?

Symptoms may include:

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Flactulence
  • Stomach cramps
  • Vomiting

Please note that these can also be common symptoms for many other conditions and it is important to speak with your GP before removing foods from your diet.

Does this mean I can never have milk or milk products again?

No! Everyone has different tolerance levels to lactose and therefore if you undertake tolerance testing with your dietitian you can assess how much lactose you can personally have. Generally speaking, many people can tolerate small quantities over time (depending how much you eat and eating it with other foods. For example, someone may be able to tolerate milk in their cereal but not tolerate a whole glass of milk OR they can tolerate milk in their coffee but not tolerate a bottle of strawberry Big M. Full cream milk seems to be better tolerated than low fat milks.

There are lactose free milk products in your local supermarket. If you enjoy the taste of cows milk then look out for labels that say ‘lactose free’

I love milk – what are some tasty alternatives?

Soy milk, almond milk and other milk alternatives do not contain lactose – but check the labels to ensure they are calcium enriched.

 

Are lactose free products available?

In recent times the lactose free product range has exploded into supermarkets. You definitely won’t miss out or feel left out when shopping for your favourite items like ice-cream!

How can I manage my intolerance to lactose?

If I am eating at a restaurant or am away on holiday and I’m not sure of the lactose content of some of the menu items, how do I help prevent the discomfort?

You can purchase lactase tablets or drops from your local pharmacy which can be added to food or taken along with food to help with digestion.

How to shop for and check the ingredients list at the supermarket

If you are trying to avoid lactose, ingredients to look for in lists on food labels include:

  • Milk solids
  • Non-fat milk solids
  • Whey
  • Milk sugar

Foods that may contain hidden lactose include:

  • Museli bars
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Quiche
  • Cheese sauces
  • Custard
  • Some breads and margarines
  • Pancakes
  • Processed breakfast cereals
  • Cakes and muffins

Can I eat cheese?

Hard cheeses are naturally low in lactose and can be safely consumed without symptoms and discomfort.

Some of these cheeses include:

  • Cheddar
  • Edam
  • Swiss
  • Mozzarella
  • Brie
  • Feta

Also, butter and cream actually contain very low levels of lactose and are well tolerated.

However, there are also lactose free cheeses readily available  at the supermarket

If you have lactose intolerant children

Meal planning with kids can be hard enough at the best of times, let alone when they have an intolerance. Thankfully there are many healthy options for your little ones with clear labels and ingredients you can feel confident about. 

Saabira Wazeer is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist at HealthMint.

She educates and helps clients manage lactose intolerance, including tolerance testing through trials.

To read more about Saabira and watch her introduce herself visit: www.healthmint.com.au/ourteam

Find out more about our Dietitian services head here: www.healthmint.com.au/our-services/dietitian/

Check out the Dietitians Association of Australia here: https://daa.asn.au/smart-eating-for-you/smart-eating-fast-facts/medical/understanding-lactose-intolerance/

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back to school health tips healthmint

Back to School

By Children's Health, Family Planning & Parenting, General Wellbeing, Lifestyle No Comments

Back to school!

Whether you’re sending your teenager off to their final year of schooling, or you have a little one beginning prep, it’s a busy and exciting time for families across the country over the next couple of weeks.

Here are some tips to help ease the transition and make for a happy and healthy year!

Master the art of the lunchbox

Bento style lunchboxes are all the rage. Keep it simple by adding cut fruit, sandwiches, vegetable sticks and their favourite yoghurt.

Walk to school

it doesn’t have to be every day, but if you can include this into you and your child’s routine, your health will thank you. Getting out in the early morning fresh air is great for your mental health too!

Stick to the same bed times

Make sure your child is getting enough (quality) sleep by enforcing a bed routine. Kids of any age need upwards of 10 hours of sleep a night. It’s also crucial to wind down before bed time- this means no iPads and TV at least a half hour before they hit the hay.

Handle the dreaded head lice 

Keep long hair tied up, don’t wash your kids hair too frequently (they love fresh hair!) and keep ‘butting heads’ to a minimum 😂

Ease those nerves

Starting school can be an exciting but daunting time for kids. Help ease any anxieties they may have by talking about all the positive and wonderful adventures and opportunities the new school year is going to bring. In the first few weeks back, give your kids something to look forward to after school like an evening at the beach, and ice cream, or dinner at their favourite cafe

Make sure their health is in check

Start the school year on the right foot with a visit to the doctors to make sure everything is in tip top shape. Be proactive with their health and ask your GP how you can help keep your kids (and yourself!) happy and healthy this year.

Book an appointment here or click the link below!

Want more information?

Call (03) 5611 3365 to speak to a friendly patient concierge

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health benefits going outside healthmint medical clinic

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

By General Wellbeing, Lifestyle, Men's Health, Mental Health, Women's Health No Comments

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

Most of us have been told since childhood that “getting fresh air” is important for a healthy mind and body. While there are many common myths used in parenting, spending time outside actually is extremely important to maintain health. Here are some reasons why it’s important to get out of your usual four walls.

Physical Benefits

One of the best things about getting outside is that it can actually benefit your physical body. Studies that looked at campers who spent two nights in the forest compared to people who had spent those nights in an urban environment showed the campers had a lower heartrate and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Inflammation in the body can have a range of negative effects over the long term, and people who spend time outside have been shown to have lower levels of inflammation.

Sleep Better

These lower levels of stress, inflammation and resting heart rate combine to give people who have spent time outside a better sleep. If you are struggling to get a good night’s sleep, finding time during the day to take advantage of natural light and natural surroundings could help you to calm down and doze off.

Feel Better

Going outside can reduce anxiety and counteract seasonal depression. Even working indoors with natural light from a window is beneficial to a person’s mental state, creating mood elevation and increasing alertness and concentration. Spending time in natural surrounds can have a significant impact on people experiencing depression and anxiety, helping them to calm and improve their mood.

Boost Creativity

Studies into people who spend time in nature find they experience a boost in creativity. While the improved sleep and mental clarity certainly helps, studies have shown that a single walk outside can measurably improve creativity.

Get Fit

While just getting some light and fresh air is a great place to start, pairing it with some exercise enhances the benefits even further. Going for a run, swimming, cycling or doing yoga in a park –most communities have a huge range of activities available to incentivise you to leave the house, and they could be very low cost or even free!

Meet New People

One thing your lounge room is very unlikely to have is new people to meet, but the outdoors is likely to have many. Find an activity that will allow you to meet new people, and you can add the benefits of healthy socialisation with the other improvements for your mind and body. Many communities host events and clubs, such as Park Runs, fishing clubs, nature walks, photography and art classes, exercise groups. Websites like MeetUp.com can help you connect with people who share similar interests and provide further incentives to leave the house.

If you’re struggling with feeling down, sleep problems, stress or anxiety, prioritise some outdoors time every day to help you feel calm and centred. If getting outside is not enough, you might need to chat to your GP. Even if you do need some extra help, lifestyle changes can help you feel better – and getting outside is a great place to start.

Want more information?

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toilet-urine-healthmint

4 Reasons Your Urine Might Smell

By Body Systems, Diabetes, General Wellbeing, Lifestyle No Comments

4 Reasons Your Urine Might Smell

One of the best ways to tell what’s going on inside your body is to pay attention to what’s on the way out. Your kidneys act as filters for your body, and urine is how the waste they remove leaves your body. Urine is mostly water, so the waste is usually what gives it any smell or colour.

Normal urine is clear to straw coloured, and generally should not have a strong smell. If your urine output significantly changes and you can’t think of an obvious reason why, it could be a sign of something going on in your body. Here are 4 common changes to urine and what they might mean.

 

1. Dehydration

If you are not consuming adequate liquid, your urine output will reduce and become more concentrated. That could lead to a darker colour and strong smell, getting more noticeable as the dehydration worsens. Simple dehydration can be managed at home by drinking more liquids, but if your dehydration doesn’t resolve quickly, if you have other symptoms like diarrhoea and especially if your urine becomes very dark, you should see your doctor.

2. Oral Intake

 

Sometimes food and medication can change the colour or odour of urine. Asparagus is a classic example – often after eating this vegetable, urine can take on a very distinct odour. If the change is due to a food source it should go away within a day or two. If the change is due to medication, the changes might stay for as long as you are taking the medicine. Some foods and medications can even turn your pee pinkish-red. Feel free to mention the change to your doctor if you are concerned.

3. Infection

 

A urinary tract infection, or UTI, could cause your urine to change in appearance and smell. The presence of bacteria could cause your urine to have a foul smell, as well as appearing cloudy or even bloody. These symptoms could go along with a burning sensation when you pee, and a frequent urge to urinate. UTIs are fairly common, and will need to be assessed and treated by your doctor.

4. Diabetes

 

When a person has high blood sugar, excess sugar is excreted through the urine – which can cause urine to have an unusually sweet smell. In more dangerous cases, a “fruity” smell could be an indication of ketoacidosis, a condition where the body produces toxic substances due to extremely high blood sugar. Undiagnosed or untreated diabetes and ketoacidosis are potentially life-threatening conditions and should be considered an emergency.

If you see any change in your pee and can’t immediately think of what caused it – a recent meal or a new medication – you might want to think about seeing a doctor. Changes that last longer than a day or two and are accompanied by other symptoms should be addressed by a doctor as soon as you can. Some additional symptoms that can go along with urine changes could be pain in your side or back, fever, significantly increased thirst, fatigue, vomiting, or discharge. Your doctor can easily refer you for a urine test to see what’s going on.

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