We all hope that we never have to consider drinking urine as a last ditch effort to survive, but it’s a thought that may cross your mind. Whether you watched a show that made you wonder or are considering options to survive a disaster, you might wonder can you drink your own pee?
A study completed by the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, the Greeks and Egyptians used urine therapy, and it continues to be a practice in Asia, South America, and other nations as a cure for acne and cancer. Experts debate on the safety of drinking urine because it might contain toxins that could be harmful, so the choice is up to you.
In 2017, Mike Ohman was stranded in the Arizona desert for two days in scorching triple-digit heat. He tells the news reporters he drank his own urine to survive, and it worked. He was able to hold out for rescue. So, we know it can work, but should you do so?
Before you take the first sip of your pee, take a closer look at all the facts. When there’s a SHTF scenario unfolding, knowing whether or not it’s safe to drink urine is a great nugget of wisdom to have.
What is in Urine?
Before you drink urine, you might want to consider what’s in urine. Urine is the compounds – over 3,000 – that are flushed out of a person’s system. Each person has unique urine because it depends on what you put in your body and your overall health.
A few things found in urine include:
Can You Drink Your Own Pee?
The short answer to the question is yes, but it’s not recommended in most cases. While some cultures and websites tell you that urine can magically cure all kinds of ailments, most medical experts disagree with this idea. In fact, the U.S. Army Field Manual tells members to not drink their own urine, along with blood and seawater.
Despite the general recommendations NOT to drink your own pee, the reality is that you can do is in survival scenarios as a last-ditch effort to survive. The negative to that is you won’t be able to survive for long doing so.
Urine can be a short-term solution, but drinking urine for extended times is a bad idea. You have to remember the job of your kidneys. Your kidneys filter out waste products from your body, sending them out as urine. So, Urine is 95% water, which sounds great when you’re dehydrated and literally dying, but what’s in the remaining 5% can be harmful. In fact, it can kill you in slow ways.
Prolonged consumption of urine sends it through your kidneys over and over again, creating more concentrated versions. If you’re dehydrated, your kidneys won’t be able to handle these minerals and toxins in such concentrated amounts. Not only do you risk a possible bacterial infection, but you can severely damage your kidneys.
Is Urine Sterile?
You’ve probably heard someone tell you that urine is sterile, but that’s not necessarily true. Rubbing urine in a wound or trying to clear your sinuses with urine – gross – isn’t a good idea.
Urine isn’t sterile even before it comes out of you. Bacteria is present at low levels in healthy people who don’t have a urinary tract infection. Your bladder and urethra have a plethora of bacteria, so it’s logical to understand that urine will contain bacteria as well. So, if you drink your urine, that bacteria goes back into your body.
It’s good to note that the bacteria in urine generally isn’t considered harmful to you. People tend to lump all bacteria into the “bad” category. It was already in your body before you drank your urine. The problem comes when that harmless bacteria starts to multiply, invading your immune system.
Can You Drink Other People’s Urine?
If the idea of drinking your own urine grossed you out, the idea of drinking someone else’s urine probably really makes you nauseous. When we compare the dangers, there isn’t a huge difference between drinking your urine and someone else’s. However, you do have to keep some things in mind.
Urine is what is present in your body and waste based on what you put into your body. Someone else’s urine is the same but unique to them. That means you can contract a new disease or new bacteria by drinking someone else’s urine. You’d be exposed to their blend of toxins, waste, and bacteria.
Can Drinking Urine Make You Sick?
While drinking your urine one or two times is probably harmless, drinking urine over time can make you very sick due to the buildup of toxins that your kidneys are unable to filter. Add in a growing colony of multiplying bacteria, a weakened immune system, and dehydration, and you find yourself in a bad situation.
Possible Side Effects of Drinking Urine
Let’s take a look at what could happen if you decide to drink urine multiple times.
While drinking urine one time might make you feel less dehydrated, drinking urine is like drinking seawater due to the high sodium levels. Sodium makes dehydration worse.
As you continue to reintroduce bacteria over and over again into your body, they will start to grow faster, creating an infection in your body. You might end up with an infection in your mouth, stomach, or throat.
The largest problem is that drinking urine can cause kidney damage, and you can’t fix kidney damage. Once your kidneys are damaged, little reverse the problem, and this can be a lifetime issue.
Drinking urine can cause vomiting, queasiness, diarrhea, and a general feeling of being sick. Plus, you’ll have a general yucky feeling about drinking urine, to begin with; that’s a mental hurdle to conquer.
Urine has high levels of potassium, which can cause a heart attack. Even if you’re an otherwise healthy adult, excessive levels of potassium are dangerous and unhealthy.
Save It for Life or Death Scenarios
The take-home conclusion of this is that, while drinking your urine is unlikely to kill you the first or second time, it can make you gravely ill. It needs to be a last-ditch effort until you can find a healthy water source. Drinking your own pee can lead to an upset stomach, dehydration, kidney failure, and a potential heart attack, so it won’t save your life for long.