“With my pants around my ankles, I stared at the toilet bowl for a while. Finally a dark cloud spread through the water. What is this bloody stuff in my urine?! I thought looking at its poisonous color, it was as if someone slowly poured a cola into the bowl. What the hell kind of pee is this, and what is going on inside me?!”

The following is a real experience of one of our writers when he found a worrisome discoloration in his pee. His name is Yuichiro Wasai, but after reading this you’ll know enough about him to be on a first-name basis. It’s a story worth reading, however. The cause of Yuichiro’s condition is rare but could happen to you or someone you know, and this knowledge may help.

■ Shock to the system

It was a muggy July day, but Yuichiro was feeling pretty good about himself having returned from a refreshing morning swim. Settling into his apartment he parked himself in front of the computer to see what was going on in the world.

A short time later he felt that familiar tingle down below and headed to the bathroom. As it happens, our man Yuichiro is the kind of guy who sits down to pee, something which he claims many Japanese men do while in the cleanliness of their own home toilet – after all, if you’re the one who has to clean it, why not make it as easy a job as possible?

Yes, Yuichiro is a proud sitter and this day was no exception. However, when he stood up and glanced back to check out his work, a wave of terror washed over him. A pool of cloudy reddish-brown liquid swirled slowly in the bowl. The shock of this sight was amplified by the fact that he had experienced no discomfort whatsoever before or during his evacuation.

Yuichiro stared at it in silence as he pulled up his pants and tried to wrap his head around the last thought he had verbalized: “What the f#*k?!”

■ The éclairs did it!!

Yuichiro’s first instinct was that this was the dreaded blood in his urine, which without any prior injury could mean serious internal problems. It was a chilling thought, and one that he wanted to avoid at all costs.

As he processed what else might have happened an idea occurred to him. The previous day, he had passed an exceptionally large bowel movement. To put it in terms of delicious baked goods: it was about the size of two chocolate éclairs.

▼ Just in case you needed more help visualizing that. You’re welcome.

Perhaps, the éclairs didn’t flush all the way and left remnants in the bowl or pipe. The urination may have dislodged said particles which mixed with the water and made the murky cloud inside the bowl. This idea didn’t seem far-fetched as Yuichiro has clogged the toilet enough that he had already invested in a plunger.

A few tense hours later, it was again time to pee. Yuichiro again sat atop his porcelain throne and got ready to let it rip. Of course he could have stood up at this point, but the potential image of a stream of cola coming out of him was just too much for him to bear.

Instead, he sat and peered into the small gap between his groin and the rim of the toilet bowl down to a small section of water that could be seen beneath. As the urination commenced Yuichiro again felt the usual feeling of release with no pain at all. “It’s going to be yellow this time,” he thought.

However, he never took his eyes off of the small gap, and again a dark cloud plumed. It looked like someone poured out a bottle of Gogo No Koucha Straight Tea rather than the Gogo No Koucha Lemon Tea that urine should resemble.

▼ Again, you’re welcome.

With that, he contacted his toilet’s manufacturer convinced that this surely must have been some damage done to the toilet from oversized turds or repeated plunging. As we learnt previously, Japanese toilet companies are very accommodating and sent a representative right over.

However, about an hour and 20,000 yen (US$160) later the toilet rep said that after a thorough inspection the unit was in perfect operating condition. Yuichiro’s heart sank at the news. “This means only one thing,” he thought as he handed over the cash with a blank expression, “I made that stuff…with my own body.”

Yuichiro called a good hospital, made a reservation first thing the next morning and prepared to hear the news that he had been dreading thus far.

■ At the Hospital

The hospital was busy that day and the wait was as long and stressful as one of Yuichiro’s double éclairs. Finally, he was called in to see the doctor.

“What seems to be the problem?” asked the doctor in such a predictable way Yuichiro thought he was in some movie.

“I think I have blood in my urine,” he answered and uttered for the first time out loud.

“Mmhm, I see. Well, we’ll have to run some tests,” the doctor said in the same script-like fashion. He asked some questions about discomfort and frequency very matter-of-factly and sent Yuichiro back into the waiting room to continue trembling with fear.

By this time he was completely resigned to the facts that he had blood in his urine and was in seriously bad shape. During the hour of the urinalysis he wondered if the news would be delivered to him by a doctor, nurse, or – dare he wish – celebrity?

His momentary daydreaming was interrupted by a nurse with a cup for him to fill. This would be the first time he peed since the day before. It turned out a little better that the previous times but still Yuichiro’s pee was a dark enough brown to completely obscure the measurement markings on the cup. He submitted his pee and waited.

The rest of the hour was spent deciding which of his possessions would go to which loved-one when suddenly his name was called again. In the examination room Dr. Cliché gave a typical doctor’s sigh as he perused the results.

“Did you do any strenuous exercise recently?” the doctor abruptly asked.

Yuichiro was busy avoiding eye-contact with the doctor and waiting for the ax to fall. He was totally caught off guard by the question but replied “Well, yeah. I went swimming yesterday. It was the first time I worked out in about 10 years. I still feel a little stiff from it actually.”

▼ Yuichiro Wasai. Man. Reporter. Dad-bod model.

The doctor had heard all he needed. “Well,” he began in that stereotypical doctor’s way, “strictly speaking that’s not blood in your urine.” The doctor went on to say it was something called “myoglobin” that mixed in with his urine and caused the discoloration.

Yuichiro had no idea what myoglobin was but didn’t care at that moment. Suddenly his dark fate shone with the light of 100,000 candles at the news. He had just been given a new lease on life which was further confirmed by the doctor’s parting words: “Leave it alone and you’ll heal naturally.”

Myoglobin is a substance that’s stored in muscles, so if the muscles break after an extended period of disuse a large quantity will get released at once. Thanks to Yuichiro’s solid decade of loafing around, that one day of exercise had apparently triggered a flood of myoglobin into his urine.

▼ A sample of urine with myoglobin. (NOT Yuichiro’s urine)

Our writer had just revealed a great deal of personal information in an effort to help others who may find themselves in his situation. So don’t make it in vain and remember: if you ever have strange colored pee don’t hesitate to get yourself checked out as soon as possible!

Either myoglobin or blood in your urine can have a wide range of causes both innocent and deadly, so it’s better to know the score as soon as possible. At the very least you’ll save yourself 20,000 yen in toilet inspections.

Original article by Yuichiro Wasai
Images: RocketNews24
Tea Images: Amazon 1, 2
Myoglobin Pee Image: Wikipedia – James Heilman MD
[ Read in Japanese ]