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.[1] In extreme cases, people may drink urine if no other fluids are available, although numerous credible sources (including the US Army Field Manual) advise against using it. Urine may also be consumed as a sexual activity.

Reasons for urophagia

As an emergency survival technique

Survival guides such as the US Army Field Manual, the SAS Survival Handbook,[2] and others[3][better source needed] generally advise against drinking urine for survival.[4] 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.[4]

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

Folk medicine

Further information: Urine therapy

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.[7][8]


People may be forced to drink urine as a form of torture or humiliation, as in the case of a Dalit boy in Jaunpur, India, who in 2023 was accused by local youths of sexually harassing a girl.[9]

Health warnings

The World Health Organization has found that the pathogens contained in urine rarely pose a health risk. However, it does caution that in areas where Schistosoma haematobium is prevalent, it can be transmitted from person to person.[10]

See also


  1. ^ Picturedesk (2018-09-20). "After Reaching 18 Stone, This Woman Resorted To A Traditional Native American Lifestyle Which Includes Drinking and Washing With Her Own Urine". Media Drum World. Retrieved 2021-12-20.
  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". Archived from the original on December 30, 2019. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Water Procurement" (PDF). US Army Field Manual.
  5. ^ Mark, Jenkins (August 1, 2003). "Aron Ralston – Between a Rock and the Hardest Place". Outside. Archived from the original on August 12, 2021. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  6. ^  • Thistlethwaite, Felicity (February 26, 2015). "Stars vomit profusely after drinking their own urine on Bear Grylls: Mission Survive". Daily Express. Archived from the original on March 1, 2022. Retrieved March 18, 2022.  • Loughrey, Clarisse (December 18, 2015). "Obama refused to drink his own urine on Bear Grylls, 'It's not something I'd make a habit of'". The Independent. Archived from the original on March 9, 2022. Retrieved March 18, 2022.  • Singh, Anita (May 31, 2014). "Bear Grylls: Kids, please don't drink your own urine". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on March 26, 2021. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  7. ^ Why You Definitely Shouldn't Drink Your Own Pee, Gizmodo, 22 Oct 2014
  8. ^ Maxine Frith (21 February 2006). "Urine: The body's own health drink?". The Independent. Retrieved 2016-09-26.
  9. ^ "UP Horror: Dalit Boy Thrashed, Forced To Drink Urine & Eyebrows Shaved Allegedly For Sexually Harassing Girl In Jaunpur; VIDEO".
  10. ^ Schönning, Caroline. "Urine diversion – hygienic risks and microbial guidelines for reuse" (PDF). World Health Organization. p. 13. Retrieved February 15, 2022.