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Urophagia is the consumption of urine. Urine was used in several ancient cultures for various health, healing, and cosmetic purposes; urine drinking is still practiced today, though no health benefit to it has been proven. In extreme cases, people drink urine if no other potable fluid is available, although numerous credible sources (including the US Army Field Manual) advise against it. Urine is also consumed as a sexual activity.

Reasons for urophagia[edit]

As an emergency survival technique[edit]

Survival guides such as the US Army Field Manual,[1] the SAS Survival Handbook,[2] and others[3][better source needed] generally advise against drinking urine for survival. These guides state 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 no other fluid is available. While some people in dire straits have drunk urine, whether this actually helped or hindered their situation is unclear.

In one incident, Aron Ralston drank urine when trapped for several days with his arm wedged under a boulder.[4] Survivalist television host Bear Grylls drank urine and encouraged others to do so on several episodes on his TV shows.[5][6][7]

Folk medicine[edit]

In various cultures, alternative medicine applications exist of urine from humans, or animals such as camels or cattle, for medicinal or cosmetic purposes, including drinking of one's own urine, but no evidence supports their use.[8][9]

Sexual practice[edit]

Some people are sexually aroused by urine, which can include the drinking of their own or other people's urine.

Health warnings[edit]

The World Health Organization cautions that the drinking of urine carries health risks.[10][8][failed verification]


  1. ^ "Water Procurement" (PDF). US Army Field Manual.
  2. ^ Wiseman, John "Lofty". The SAS Survival Handbook. p. 42. Warning: Urine and sea-water. Never drink either – Never!
  3. ^ "Equipped to Survive – A Survival Primer". Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  4. ^ Mark Jenkins. "Aron Ralston – Between a Rock and the Hardest Place". Outside Online. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  5. ^ Singh, Anita (May 31, 2014). "Bear Grylls: Kids, please don't drink your own urine". The Telegraph.
  6. ^ Loughrey, Clarisse (December 18, 2015). "Obama refused to drink his own urine..." The Independent.
  7. ^ Thistlethwaite, Felicity (February 26, 2015). "Stars vomit profusely after drinking their own urine..." Daily Express.
  8. ^ a b Why You Definitely Shouldn't Drink Your Own Pee, Gizmodo, 22 Oct 2014
  9. ^ Maxine Frith (21 February 2006). "Urine: The body's own health drink?". The Independent. Retrieved 2016-09-26.
  10. ^ http://skepdic.com/urine.html Urine Therapy: Skeptic's Dictionary entry

External links[edit]

  • [1] Urine Therapy explained by Boulder resident Brother Sage