OHE September 7, 1997 (b)

From: Dayle K. Turner (turner@hawaii.edu)

During HTMC trail clearing today, an unsettling yet interesting scenario was discussed. Here goes--

Let's say you were hiking up in the Waianae range and you became incapacitated (this can applied to other scenarios, like being on a boat with a dead engine in the middle of the Pacific, for example). Then you ran out of water, and the likelihood of obtaining any more seemed unlikely.

Would you drink your own urine?

It was suggested by several people today that drinking one's piss (and surviving) is possible. I'd be interested to find out what others have to say about this, particularly the MDs on the list.


Response From: Kukailucy@aol.com

Dayle, I'm no MD, but here's a guess: Isn't there a reason for the urine output? I mean, the urine's gonna contain stuff the body's trying to get rid of, no? Urea (modified ammonia), salts and ions (to keep the electrolyte/water balance), neutralized hydrochloric acid from your stomach, etc, etc. It would contain also a lot of water, sure, if you're not dehydrated, but that's gonna change fast if you are. The body, wanting to hold on to more and more water, will release it less and less, until your urine output is just a dribble, with an extremely high concentration of the above, nonwater stuff. If you're fighting for survival, urine output will plummet pretty quickly. I don't see how drinking stuff high in electrolytes/salt etc is going to help you. Might as well drink the salt water overboard? (no, I know, it'll make things worse...)

I've often thought about this , too, since reading those "Dune" books as a kid (where they recycle even their sweat).

Okay, I better leave this question to the big boys (and gals!) Aloha, Collette

Reply From: "Dayle K. Turner" (turner@hawaii.edu)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Collette.

With the realization that we may be drifting off the mark with this thread, I still submit the following URL for the perusal of those interested in reading more about this subject--


Just some food--or more appropriately, drink--for thought. :-)

Feel free to delete if desired.


Reply From: Eric Edward Stelene (ees129@psu.edu)

I've heard of stories were people survived being trapped, stranded, etc. who drank thier own urine but I think their survival was due to other things. Urine is sterile, but it is toxic and by drinking it your body will need even more water to dilute it to get rid of the excess waste, thus adding to the dehydration process.

It has been suggested that drinking urine only once and only if it is clear may provide needed water with minimal waste products in it. However, I think that by the time you get to the point of considering drinking urine you'll be so dehydratyed that your urine won't be clear,it would be rather concentrated and very toxic.

On a lighter note you could always use it sparingly to spice up your camp cooking! Enjoy.


Reply From: Grant Tokumi (gtokumi@aloha.net)

Nope, wouldn't do it. Yuck. However, according to the URL that Dayle referred us to (http://www.texasonline.net/langley/columns/drink.htm), I guess you could cure your acne, bronchitis, constipation, toothache, insomnia, typhoid, diabetes, and your unmanageable hair while you sit there waiting for rescue to come.

Gee, they didn't say it cures dehydration though.


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