pH in urine is a measurement of its acidic and alkaline content. pH in urine is considered to be normal/neutral if it is 7. Lower values than 7 indicate acidic urine while higher numbers than 7 indicate alkaline urine. A single unit is equivalent to 10 times the change in acidic or alkaline levels in urine. pH at 4.5 and 8.5 is considered to be extremely unhealthy. In most cases, high pH in urine is indicative of the body overcompensating for an acidic physiological system.
In healthy people, urine tends to be slightly more acidic in the morning as no food or drinks have been consumed when sleeping. Gradually over the course of a day, pH levels in urine become slightly more alkaline.
The diet, diseases, and certain medications can affect the nature of urine. High pH levels in urine can be measured with a urine pH level test. It is a painless and simple test with no side effects. A pH level test in urine helps determine the overall health of the body and offers information about what may be wrong in the physiological systems in the body.
Causes of high pH in urine
Balanced pH levels in urine is desirable. High pH in urine as well as excessively acidic urine is indicative of underlying health problems. Urine is naturally more acidic in the mornings, but it becomes more alkaline by the evening as food gets digested along with release of electrolytes.
Hydrochloric acid present in stomach is needed for food digestion. However, increased acidic levels in body hamper the release of stomach acids. Hence, in such scenarios, the body compensates by producing lower levels of acidic fluids, which in turn causes shortages in stomach acid levels and high pH in urine.
Some of the common causes of high pH in urine are discussed below:
- Diseases: High pH in urine may occur due to underlying diseases. pH levels in urine may rise due to vomiting, kidney ailments, UTIs (urinary tract infections), or illnesses marked by rapid breathing.
- A 1993 study involving benign prostatic hyperplasia and bladder cancer patients indicated that the latter had high levels of alkaline urine. This study however did not show that acidic urine is not associated with bladder cancer.
- High pH levels in urine may be indicative of the below listed conditions:
- Kidney tubular acidosis
- Gastric/stomach suctioning which removes stomach acids
- Respiratory alkalosis
- Kidney failure
- Urinary tract infection
- Pyloric obstruction
- The Diet: Low of high pH in urine is determined by the kind of diet that one eats. People who eat lots of veggies and fruits but do not consumes as much meat or dairy are more likely to elicit high pH in urine. People who include large amounts of meat in their diet usually have acidic urine. Doctors may suggest changes in the diet if pH level in urine is too high.
- Some alkaline foods include herbs, vegetables, millet, fruits, and sprouts. Citrus fruits may be acidic during digestion but cause alkaline urine.
- Some very alkaline eatables are figs, bananas, orange juice, mineral water, dandelion greens, spinach, potatoes, tomato juice, watermelon, and turnip greens.
- Some other items that may cause high pH in urine include potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium and other mineral supplements; antibiotics; hard water; and antacids.
- Medicines: High pH in urine may also occur due to use of medications such as:
- Drugs containing potassium citrate and sodium bicarbonate
- Acetazolamide, a type of diuretic that used for treating glaucoma, congestive heart failure, and some forms of seizures.
High pH in Urine: Urine pH level test
- The need for pH urine test: High pH in urine can trigger the formation of painful kidney stones, i.e., small crystallized mineral deposits that hamper the easy passage of urine from the kidneys across the urinary system. Doctors therefore carry out a pH urine test to verify the risk of kidney stones development in the future. Also, doctors may order pH urine test to determine the effect of drugs as certain medications drugs may increase pH levels in urine.
- The Process: Doctors may ask patients to stop the intake of certain drugs before a urine pH test as it can affect the test results. Changes to the diet are however not recommended. A clean catch urine sample is collected by the doctor. In this, the genitals are cleaned and the urine is collected mid-stream in a cup. This helps avoid certain germs which may corrupt the urine specimen. The urine sample is then sent to a lab for analysis.
- Urine pH test results: pH reading of above 7.0 is regarded as High pH in urine while lower than 7.0 is indicative of acidic urine. In most cases, urine specimens usually test at around 6.0.
- Depending on the urine pH test results, doctors may opt for additional tests to determine the cause of high pH in urine and then offer relevant medical treatment.