Oily Urine

Urine is usually made up of excess fluids and waste products that are filtered from the body by the kidneys. Oily urine can occur due to a number of causes such as dehydration, chyle, and increased vitamin intake, etc. But the main cause of oily urine is ketones in urine.

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Causes of Oily Urine

Some of the common causes of oily urine are discussed below:

1. Ketones in Urine

  • One of the main causes of oily urine is ketones in urine. Ketones are generally not found in urine; it gets released due to metabolism of fat, which in turn is caused due to the inability of the body to produce energy from carbohydrates, or due to starvation, or due to intake of a protein-rich diet or a carbohydrates deficient diet. Thus, oily urine caused by ketones in urine typically affects people who have endured starvation or fasting for prolonged periods, those with uncontrolled case of diabetes, and those following an abnormal and strict diet.
  • Ketones are acidic in nature and hence harmful for the body. Increased ketones in urine can trigger ketones in urine that can then worsen and lead to development of ketosis, a condition characterized by varied symptoms like weakness, nausea, exhaustion, and elevated sweating.
  • As mentioned above, ketones do not occur in healthy urine. Ketones levels in urine up to 20 mg/dL is classified as small; between 30 and 40 mg/dL as moderate; and over 80 mg/dL as large.
  • Ketones in urine associated oily urine may be caused due to:
    • Low food consumption
    • Diabetic ketoacidosis or mismanaged diabetes
    • Bad diet
    • High fever due to an infection
    • Strenuous workouts
    • High stress levels
    • Starvation, fasting, or nil food intake for more than 18 hours
    • Eating a diet that is low in carbs or high in fat
    • Use of fats by the body to produce energy instead of glucose
    • Loss of carbohydrates due to frequent and prolonged nausea or vomiting
    • Eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia which may cause nutritional deficiencies
    • Poisoning via isopropanol consumption
    • Alcoholism associated eating disorders and subsequent poor nutrition
    • Excessive exposure to cold environments
    • Insulin overdose
    • Pregnancy, ketones in urine, and oily urine: Pregnancy is often linked with excess vomiting and nausea, thereby triggering normal levels of ketones in urine. Ketones in urine during pregnancy can also be indicative of gestational diabetes. As we all know, food consumed by the body is converted into blood glucose which is then used by insulin to produce energy. However, placental hormones occurring during pregnancy can cause insulin resistance. Thus, even though ample blood sugar is available in the body, pregnant women are unable to use it to produce energy due to resistance to insulin. This can then cause the body to create energy using fats, thereby causing ketones in urine and oily urine.
    • Oily urine during pregnancy can occur due to:
      • Missing meals or snacks
      • A poor diet with low carbohydrate intake
      • Poor eating habits
      • Underlying metabolic disorders
      • Gestational diabetes
      • Eating food after abnormally long intervals
      • Limited access to blood glucose due to hormones-linked insulin resistance
      • Nausea or vomiting
      • Deficient calorie intake from food
      • Dehydration, low water intake
      • Diabetes, ketones in urine, and oily urine: When ketones in urine are found in diabetic patients, then it is usually an indication of deficient levels of insulin. Hence, patients need to seek medical attention if they observe oily urine, high blood glucose levels, generalized illness or malaise, elevated stress levels, or occurrence of diabetic ketoacidosis symptoms like abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, etc.,

2. Excess Vitamin Consumption

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  • Oily urine can also occur due to intake of excess amounts of vitamins, especially vitamin D, or due to lowered ability of the body to absorb the vitamins. In either case, patients need to change the diet so as to include more whole foods and fiber and lower the intake of vitamins. Foods with artificial colorants need to be avoided.

3. Dehydration

  • Dehydration, i.e., lack of water in the body, is usually caused due to low water intake, strenuous exercising or other rigorous physical activities, and/or excessive perspiration due to hot weather or high fever. In such cases, patients may offer suffer from oily urine as well as yellow colored urine. Drink lots of water to rehydrate the body. If oily urine persists, then consult a doctor for diagnosis and treatment if necessary.

4. Chyle

  • Chyle consists of fats and proteins. The presence of this oil like substance in urine is normal, albeit in low amounts. Low levels of chyle usually get released with urine if one withholds urine in the bladder for prolonged periods. However, if oily urine is excessive and persistent and is marked by texture and color changes such as frothy or milky urine, then patients need to seek medical attention.
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