The pH of the urine shows the state of the physical properties of the fluid secreted by the kidneys. Using this indicator, hydrogen ions contained in urine are determined. The balance of alkali and acid provides a picture of health status. An alkaline or acidic urine reaction helps in the diagnosis.
With the help of urine, metabolic products are excreted. Its formation is carried out in the nephrons at the time of filtration of plasma and blood. Urine contains 97% water, the remaining 3% are salts and nitrogenous substances.
The necessary pH of body fluids is maintained by the kidneys through the elimination of unnecessary substances and the retention of elements that are involved in important metabolic processes.
The excreted substances have acid-base characteristics. When there are a lot of acidic particles, acidic urine is formed (the pH level drops below 5). The urine pH is a weakly acidic reaction (5–7). In case of predominance of alkaline properties, alkaline urine is formed (pH about 8). If the indicator is 7, this is the balance in urine of alkaline and acidic substances (neutral environment).
What does acid or alkaline balance mean? It indicates the degree of efficiency of the process of processing minerals responsible for the acidity level. In a situation where the urine pH is exceeded, the acid is neutralized due to the minerals in the bones and organs. This means that the diet is dominated by meat products and lack of vegetables.
Acidity pH is normal
The acidity of urine depends on many factors. The high content of animal proteins in food causes an overcrowding of urine with acid. If a person prefers plant foods, dairy products, the alkaline environment is determined.
Normally, the urine reaction does not have to be neutral, it is defined in the range from 5 to 7. The acidity values may have slight deviations, for example, pH 4,5-8 is considered normal, provided that it is short-lived.
The norm at night is no more than 5,2 units. In the early morning on an empty stomach, there are low pH values (up to a maximum of 6,4), in the evening – 6,4-7, which is considered common.
The normal pH values for men, women and children are not very different. Due to the frequent consumption of protein foods by men, the level of urine acidity increases. In urine during pregnancy, the normal acidity is 5–8.
Normal acidity in children depends on age. The reaction of urine in a newborn baby is neutral due to the consumption of breast milk. In premature babies, there is a slight acidification of urine. A bottle-fed baby has a low acidity level. In children, whose menu has already introduced complementary foods, the acidity of urine is on average 5-6 units.
Analysis of urine
The diagnosis is much easier with a laboratory urine test. Its repeated conduct is prescribed for the transferred infectious disease. In case of problems with the endocrine system, kidneys, urine pH analysis is indispensable. In case of urolithiasis, pH in urine analysis can tell about the type of stones. For example, uric acid stones appear when the urine pH is below 5,5. At the same time, the formation of oxalate stones occurs at a pH of 5,5-6,0, phosphate stones – with an alkaline reaction of urine (above 7 units).
To determine pH, a laboratory study of urine (OAM) is carried out, which allows you to characterize not only urine, but also to conduct a microscopic study of the sediment.
A more accurate idea of the work of the kidneys is given by the titration (titrated) acidity of urine. Titration is one of the laboratory methods for the study of urine.
In order for the urine analysis to show the most accurate result, it is necessary to follow some rules before conducting it. To determine the pH in urine a few days before collecting the material, it is worth refusing to take some medications, herbal infusions and decoctions, alcohol and other products that affect the composition of urine.
1 day before urine collection, exclude bright vegetables and fruits from the menu. During menstruation, the composition of urine changes in women – doctors do not recommend doing an analysis during this period.
Before collecting urine, the genitals are thoroughly washed. The most accurate results will be obtained only by examining the material collected in the morning.
How to determine pH at home?
Today, you can even measure the state of the acid-base balance yourself at home. To determine the pH of urinary fluid, you can use:
- litmus paper,
- Magharshak method,
- bromothymol blue indicator,
- indicator test strips.
The first method can be used to find out the pH level by simply placing litmus paper in the test liquid. This method does not allow determining the specific value of acidity.
Magarshak’s method for determining the acidity of urine is the use of a specially prepared indicator based on two volumes of a solution of neutral red alcohol with a concentration of 0,1% and one volume of an alcohol solution of methylene blue with the same concentration. Then 2 ml of urine is mixed with 1 drop of the resulting indicator. The approximate PH content is determined by the color of the resulting mixture.
A bromothymol blue indicator for measuring acidity is prepared by mixing 0,1 g of a ground indicator with 20 ml of warmed ethyl alcohol. The resulting mixture is cooled, diluted with water to 100 ml. Then 3 ml of urine is combined with a drop of indicator and the result is assessed by the obtained color.
The indicators listed above take some time. In comparison, test strips are considered to be the simpler and more accessible method for measuring pH. This method is used both at home and in many treatment and prevention centers. The pH strips help you determine the urine response in the range of 5 to 9 units.
However, indicator test strips are not as accurate as a dedicated ionomer.
Causes of urine acidification
Increased acidity of urine (aciduria) starts at pH 5 and below. An acidic environment is considered suitable for the development of pathogenic microorganisms. The reasons are as follows:
- features of the diet (meat products increase acidity),
- gout, leukemia, uric acid diathesis and other pathologies that cause acidosis,
- active physical activity, living in a hot area, working in a hot workshop, etc.
- long fasting, lack of carbohydrates,
- medications that increase acidity,
- stage of decompensation during diabetes mellitus,
- renal failure, which has a severe pain syndrome,
- allergic manifestations in children.
Reasons for a decrease in acidity
Why can an alkaline urine reaction occur? Various factors can lower acidity (a condition called alkaluria when the pH is high). For example, this happens when the menu changes abruptly. It may also indicate a malfunction of the renal acidity regulation mechanism due to tubular acidosis. This can be confirmed by examining the urine for several days.
Other reasons why urine alkalization may occur:
- the predominance of plant foods in the menu, the use of alkaline mineral water and other foods that can reduce acidity,
- infections of the urinary system,
- severe vomiting
- stomach diseases
- diseases of the thyroid gland, adrenal glands, etc.,
- postoperative period (alkaline balance values may increase significantly),
- excretion of phenobarbital through the kidneys.
Alkalinization of urine is accompanied by weakness, headaches, nausea, etc. If you cannot normalize the acid-base balance by excluding products that reduce acidity from the diet, you should seek medical help. A slightly acidic environment, significantly higher than the norm, is suitable for the development of pathogenic microorganisms.
How to normalize acid-base balance?
In a healthy person, the acid-base balance is kept within 6 – 7. If for some reason this balance has shifted, it is worth seeking help from a doctor. The fact is that pH affects the activity of bacteria – acidity can both reduce and increase the pathogenicity of microorganisms. In this regard, medications have varying degrees of effectiveness.
The doctor will help you find out what triggered the unpleasant symptoms, locate the source of the disease and prescribe the appropriate treatment, as well as tell you how to lower or increase the pH. Timely diagnostics will make the therapy as effective as possible.
Against the background of the fight against the disease, which led to a shift in the balance of acid and alkali in the body, it is necessary to stop the intake of harmful substances. Fatty meat, sausages, canned food, sugar, semolina are excluded from the diet. A good metabolism is possible if a sufficient amount of acids and alkalis is supplied to the body.
Acidic foods include lean meat, fish, cheese. The supply of alkalis to the body occurs due to vegetables, herbs, fruits, berries, which reduce acidity. Therefore, the normalization of the BSC is possible if the types of products and their quantity are correctly combined. According to the golden rule, the diet of people with problematic indicators of urine acidity should consist of 80% alkaline products and 20% acid-forming products.
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