Sunday, 27 March 2016

Taking the piss

Urine flavour wheel

Modern diagnostic medicine is indeed wondrous. Analytical machines can analyse blood, urine and even faeces and quickly diagnose a myriad of disorders. All this we take for granted in our astonishingly advanced technological age. It could be argued that reliance on analytical tests and high-resolution imaging techniques have robbed modern doctors of their 'old fashioned' clinical skills such as percussing (not a real word) body parts to find out what ails you. But you have got to agree that MRI scans are better at detecting cancer than palpitating body bits.

In times of yore and before the biochemist's spectrophotometer, doctors had a fondness for urine drinking. There is a lot you can learn about someone's health from examining the smell, colour and of course, the taste of a urine sample. Diseases can be divined if you are endowed with a suitably sensitive palate. Amber nectar anyone?

Sugar diabetes (diabetes mellitus) could be diagnosed because the presence of sugar imparted a sweet taste to the urine. Normally very little sugar passes into the urine, but a diabetic can have high blood glucose levels which eventually spills into the piss. There is a condition with a similar name but a different aetiology to sugar diabetes called diabetes insipidus. Diabetes insipidus, as the name suggests, can be ascertained because the bearer of the condition has insipid tasting urine. In fact, sufferers also have very pale urine as they produce copious amounts of the stuff due to a hormone deficiency which affects water uptake in the renal tubules. The presence of blood in the urine imparts a metallic taste and can thus indicate a urinary tract infection. What a great way to share your disease with the local quack.

Piddle drinking amongst physicians was particularly popular during the 16th and 17th centuries. With the rapid development of science in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, empirical chemical testing became available and piss taking became a lost diagnostic art much to the lamentation of its practitioners.

Urinary diagnosis should in no way be confused with folk who drink piss for its so-called 'health giving' properties or for recreational reasons. I've been drinking my own 'juices' for years as it is a powerful aid to digestion and sanity. Wibble bottom.


  1. Has your interest in this subject suddenly piqued because you now find yourself old and incontinent like the rest of us?

    PS: When are you popping over to collect your stick of rock?

    1. I'm on my way, Mr D. Make sure its peppermint- I like peppermint.

  2. Replies
    1. I read about Indian gurus drinking their own many moons ago, so tried it. Yuck!
      Truth is relative

  3. Like a dog? My beast not only smells where other dogs have taken a leak, she insists on licking the grass. It often results in a tug-of-war.