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Urophagia is the consumption of urine, which is the liquid by-product of blood filtration in the body. There are various reasons that humans may consume urine. Urine was used in several ancient cultures for various health, healing, and cosmetic purposes, practices which are still used by some people of these cultures today. In Euro-American culture, these practices are known as urine therapy, a form of alternative medicine.

Other reasons for urophagia include attempting survival, if no other potable fluid is available, though numerous credible sources (including the US Army Field Manual) advise against it. Also, some people consume urine as a sexual activity, and members of at least one culture consume urine for ceremonial purposes.

Reasons for urophagia[edit]

Further information: Urine therapy and Urolagnia

Attempting survival[edit]

Some survival instructors and guides,[1][2] including the US Army Field Manual FM 21-76 "Survival",[3] advise against drinking urine for survival. These guides explain that drinking urine tends to worsen, rather than relieve dehydration due to the salts in it, and that urine should not be consumed in a survival situation, even when there is no other fluid available.

However, in some instances people in dire straits have drunk urine and survived. Aron Ralston used the technique when trapped for several days with his arm under a boulder.[4] In 1815, several crew members of the American ship Commerce, including Captain James Riley survived a shipwreck off the coast of Africa by drinking their own urine. [5]


  1. ^ [http://trackertrail.com/publications/motherearthnews/72/index.html Tracker Trail - Mother Earth News - Issue #72
  2. ^ [http://www.equipped.com/primer.htm EQUIPPED TO SURVIVE (tm) - A Survival Primer
  3. ^ Water Procurement, US Army Field Manual
  4. ^ Aron Ralston | Outside Online
  5. ^ King, Dean (2004). Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival. Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 978-0-316-83514-5. 

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