Urine pH is a concept that tends to confuse many people. We will try to make it very clear. The reason to measure pH in the first place is to determine the acidity level of the urine. Some acidity is normal and even necessary. The goal is to have a proper balance, hence the term pH balance.
pH is measured in numeric units on a "scale" of possible pH measurements. The neutral level is 7. You can determine your pH levels with simple over-the-counter urine tests like the urine dipstick test which can determine the levels of urine gravity, pH, glucose, protein, blood, bilirubin, ketones, urobilinogen, nitrite, and leukocytes. If you measure your urine pH and the level is above 7, it means that the acidity is below normal. On the other hand, if your pH level is less than 7, it means that the acidity is higher than normal. Each person's natural acidity is slightly different so expect small variations as the general measurement system is made to work as an approximation for many people.
High pH means the alkalinity of the urine is greater. The kidneys filter what gets into your urine and if the kidneys are not functioning properly and not filtering things correctly, the acidity levels change. Urine becomes increasingly acidic as the amount of sodium and excess acid retained by the body increases. Alkaline urine, usually containing bicarbonate-carbonic acid buffer, is normally excreted when there is an excess alkaline in the body. The body maintains its acidity levels by removing extra acidic or alkaline urine by the kidneys.
Consistently high pH levels are signs and symptoms of possible problems like Acidosis, Diabetes, diarrhea, dehydration, or respiratory problems. On the other hand, if the pH is higher than 7 and the urine is considered to be highly alkaline, it can be a sign of blockages or obstructions within the urinary tract as is caused by Kidney Stones, Pyloric obstruction, Salicylate intoxication, Renal tubular acidosis, Chronic renal failure or types of respiratory or possibly other non urinary problems.
When you urinate in the morning, the urine that collects over night tends to be more acidic because the kidneys and other organs are not working as much. Don't perform a test during your waking hours as it may affect the results.
Diet can cause a change of body acidity levels. Vegetarians or people with diets rich in fruits, nuts and vegetables tend to have a non-acidic body pH. People who tend to eat less fruits and vegetables and more meat, tend to have more acid in their bodies. When you think about your diet, think about how the kidneys are effected and whether you are making them work too hard. A balanced diet is good for your organs and helps them work under normal conditions, which may help with their long-term durability.
Many of the bacteria associated with causing urinary tract infections make the urine less acidic (more alkaline). Urine tests that show high alkaline levels may indicate possible UTIs. If you are doing the test at home, make sure the urine has not had time to sit and is relatively new. Newly excreted urine will give more accurate results than urine that has been sitting and mixing with chemicals in the air and surrounding environment. If you are forced to wait, make sure to refrigerate the urine to preserve as much of its original state as possible.
PH balance is an important measurement during urinalysis. Healthcare professional look at pH levels of urine as more alkaline, while lower pH higher body acidity levels. Being slightly out of pH balance is common, but strong variations from the normal base of 7 may indicate serious health problems. Very high (alkaline) urine pH could be caused by kidney failure or a urinary tract infection. A very low (acidic) urine pH could be the result of lung disease, complications of diabetes, starvation, or diarrhea.
It is important to get an opinion of a healthcare professional before jumping to any conclusions. Doctors commonly use pH level measurements as just one source of information about the state of your health before making a final diagnosis.