You just woke up, went to the toilet and after you peed you saw a distinct brown sediment in your urine. Should you be worried, what are those brown particles and how did they get there?
These are just some of the questions we will address in this article, so read on if you want to hear some answers.
Sediments and Particles In Your Urine
You should know that some particles exist even in healthy individuals. They are made up of dead cells, bacteria, proteins, leukocytes, and other structures commonly produced in your urinary tract, bladder, and kidneys.
So some degree of sediment is natural and expected to see in the urine, but the problem may occur when there is too much of it, especially if there is a change in color. You might be surprised to hear this, but this color change can vary from green, red, white and, of course, brown.
These are the cases where you should consider making a doctor’s appointment. The doctor might ask you if you’ve experienced any pain or a burning sensation when you urinate so if you do, it is important to note it.
Kids often have this problem (pain during urination), usually because they are not taught to use the potty properly. They often engage in long sitting sessions and might notice a certain degree of discomfort.
These are the situations where you should look for more clues that something is wrong with your child – check the skin around the baby’s legs, the diaper, or look for any other indications that something is out of the ordinary.
What Causes Brown Particles In Your Urine?
In most cases, the causes are benign, for example, it could be something you ate, just a temporary thing that does not pose any health risks. But this sediment can also be caused by problems with your kidney, liver, or metabolism.
For these reasons, it is always advised to consult your doctor if you notice the problem does not go away after a few days, or you notice some other symptoms appearing.
Urinary Tract Infections
The main role the urinary tract plays in our body is drainage – it helps removes waste, toxins, and excess water out of our body.
UTI1 is the second most common infection in our body, and it usually happens when:
- We wait too long to pass the urine
- We have unprotected sex with questionable partners
- Our immune system is weakened and can’t fight the bacteria
- We suffer from some other, health-related problem
- A catheter is placed
The most common signs of Urinary tract infection are:
- Pain during urination
- An urge to ruinate more often than normal
- Pressure in the lower belly
- Cloudy, smelly urine
- Urine that has changed color
This type of an infection is easily diagnosed by testing your urine in a lab. Most common tests used to confirm it are urinalysis and urine culture.
The Presence Of Red Blood Cells
The presence of blood cells in a person’s urine, or hematuria2, is not a normal occurrence in our body and should be checked out as soon as it appears.
What causes it? Some of the most common causes for the presence of blood in the urine are:
- UTI infection
- Intense exercise
- Sexual activity
- Blood clotting disorder
- A more severe kidney or bladder disease
Hematuria can be easily spotted and diagnosed visually. People with this condition will have urine that has changed color – it can be pink, reddish, or even brown. Unfortunately, this is often the only symptom of this condition, so close attention is required.
Simply put, diabetes3 is a chronic disease that affects the way your body uses food for energy. The food we eat is mostly broken down into sugar (glucose) which is then distributed to the cells with the help of a hormone called insulin.
When our body doesn’t produce enough insulin (or does not use correctly), too much sugar remains in the bloodstream, which eventually leads to health problems.
The problem with a person with diabetes is that their body has to produce additional energy for the body to function properly, and it does so by burning fat. You might think this is a good thing, but this is not entirely true.
Though burning fat for energy (or ketosis) is a natural process, it produces ketones. And when the number of ketones becomes too high, our body tries to get rid of it by expelling it through urine in the form of sediment of small particles.
If you want to read more about diabetes and ketones, you can read one of our previous articles titled “Sweet Taste In Mouth“.
Bladder stones are tiny lumps of mineral that can form inside our bladder when it is not entirely empty.
These stones are sometimes tiny and may slip unnoticed, but most of the time they will cause a lot of trouble before we get rid of them entirely.
Most common symptoms of stones present in the bladder are:
- Intense lower abdominal pain
- Pain when peeing
- Frequent urination
- Cloudy urine
- Dark, brown urine particles
Who is at risk? Generally speaking, we are all at risk of developing a stone somewhere along our urinary tract, but it is more prevalent in older individuals (older men) and women that have given birth.
A Damaged Liver And Bilirubin
Bilirubin4 is a yellowish substance created when hemoglobin from the red blood cells gets destroyed.
Once created, bilirubin passes on to the liver which then excretes it in the form of fluid called bile. Bilirubin is typically passed in the stool, but if the liver is not functioning correctly, some of it might also be excreted in the urine.
For this reason, our urine might change color, and you might spot some dark, brown particles in your urine.
Proteinuria5 is a medical term for abnormally large amounts of protein present in our urine.
This condition is often a sign that something is wrong with your kidneys, as they usually do not allow a significant amount of proteins to pass through.
The condition itself may cause cloudy urine and a colored sediment.
Metabolism And Metabolic Problems
Our body is usually quite good when it comes to removing toxins and harmful chemicals out of our body.
Depending on what you are taking at the moment (medication), you might spot specific changes in our urine – see it becoming cloudy, change color, or present with some sort of sediment or particles.
Symptoms Which Should Concern You
These brown particles are probably not a cause for any major concern (though you should consult a doctor), but if you experience any combined symptoms, chances are something is wrong.
The very first, and the most common, symptoms that should concern you is pain and burning during urination. The second one is a change in color – a darker colored urine more so that bright one.
Some other symptoms you might notice are:
- Frequent urination – a healthy individual should feel an urge to pee once every couple hours. Anything more could be a sing of a problem
- Lower back pain – this may indicate a stone, kidney or a bladder problem so it is worth checking it out
Treatment – Dealing With The Brown Particles In Your Urine
Of course, treatment will depend mostly on the underlying cause of increased quantities of sediment and particles in your urine. For this reason, your doctor will probably order urine test, along with a blood test and sensitivity testing.
There is no need to worry as these tests will not hurt, they will just make it a lot easier to pinpoint the exact cause of your condition and prescribe appropriate treatment.
From this point on, the treatment will follow one of the following courses:
Hydration – this is the best case scenario where these particles are appearing due to natural metabolic processes in our body.
Medication – if there is something wrong, an infection, for example, your doctor might prescribe some antibiotics to address it.
A biopsy – a chance for this is tiny, but sometimes additional analysis is needed to evaluate the condition your body, and its organs, are in and figure out what to do next.
Of course, after you’ve noticed these changes in your urine, particles of sediments, it is too late to talk about prevention. But, prevention becomes relevant after you’ve been treated, to make sure the condition does not come back.
The simplest (and at the same time the hardest) change you can make is altering your lifestyle. Some of these changes are:
- Avoid eating in late hours
- Avoid junk food and foods with high sugar content
- Reduce the amount of alcohol as it can lead to a lot of other, more severe problems than brown particles in your urine
- Try to eat more fruits and vegetables and ensure your metabolism is working correctly