The usual color of urine ranges from pale yellow to dark amber. The color depends on the pigment called urochrome and the concentration or dilution of the urine. Abnormal urine color can be a symptom of the underlying disorder. For example, dark brown or red urine may indicate porphyria, a hereditary disease associated with red blood cells.
What should your urine color look like?
Your urine is a combination of water, electrolytes, and waste products that your kidneys filter from your bloodstream. When you are hydrated and healthy, your urine color looks somewhere between colorless and pale yellow. However, if you don’t drink enough water, your urine will become more concentrated and turn dark yellow or dark.
Certain pigments and compounds in foods and medicines can also change the color of urine. For example, berries, beets, and broad beans are known to temporarily turn urine into a reddish color. Many over-the-counter drugs change the color of urine to vibrant colors such as greenish blue, red, and yellow.
What are the symptoms of urine color change?
Normal urine color varies from person to person. Moisture helps dilute the yellow pigment in the urine. The more water you consume, the clearer your urine will look. When you reduce the amount of water, urine is concentrated. Urine may turn amber due to dehydration.
However, urine can turn into unusual colors such as cloudy white, dark brown, blue, green, and crimson.
When do you visit the doctor?
Please consult your doctor in the following cases.
- Dark or orange urine
If you see dark or orange urine, along with yellow eyes and skin and pale stools, it may indicate liver problems.
Visible blood in the urine can be a sign of kidney stones or urinary tract infections. These problems can also cause severe pain. However, if you experience painless hematuria, you should investigate the underlying condition, such as cancer.
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What causes the color of urine to change?
Certain medicines and foods often cause changes in the color of urine.
1. Red or pinkish urine: Red or pinkish urine may seem alarming, but it’s not always a concern. This change in urine color can be caused by the following:
- food: Some foods, such as berries, beetroot, and rhubarb, can cause urine to appear pinkish or red.
- blood: Enlarged prostate gland, urinary tract infections, cancerous or non-cancerous tumors, bladder or kidney stones, and kidney cysts can cause blood to appear in the urine.
- medicine: Drugs such as phenazopyridines and rifampicin may change the color of urine to a reddish orange or pinkish color.
2. Green or blue urine: Green or blue urine can be caused by the following:
- dye: Certain brightly colored food colorings can make urine look green. From time to time, your doctor may use dyes to check the function of your kidneys and bladder. These dyes can also make your urine blue.
- Medical condition: Familial benign hypercalcemia, also known as blue diaper syndrome, is a rare genetic disorder that causes children to have blue urine. In some cases, urinary tract infections caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa turn urine green.
- medicine: Certain drugs such as propofol, indomethacin, and amitriptyline can turn urine blue or green
3. Orange urine: Urine can turn orange due to the following factors:
- Medical condition: If you see light-colored stools in addition to orange urine, it may indicate liver or bile duct problems. Dehydration can cause urine to appear orange by increasing the concentration of urine and turning it darker.
- medicine: Drugs such as anti-inflammatory drugs, sulfasalazine, laxatives, phenazopyridines, and certain chemotherapeutic drugs can cause the urine to appear orange.
3. Dark or reddish brown urine: Dark-colored urine can have the following consequences:
- food: Large doses of certain foods, such as aloe, rhubarb, and broad beans, can cause the urine to appear dark brown.
- Excessive exercise: Urine may appear reddish-brown or pink due to muscle damage caused by extreme exercise. It can also cause kidney damage.
- Medical condition: Some urinary tract infections, liver and kidney disorders, can turn urine dark brown.
- medicine: Many drugs can darken or make your urine look reddish brown. These include:
- Antibiotics such as metronidazole and nitrofurantoin
- Antimalarial drugs such as primaquine and chloroquine
- Muscle relaxants like methocarbamol
- Laxatives containing cascara or senna
How about the smell of urine?
Urine usually does not have a large odor. However, when dehydrated, it smells funky and mysterious. Apart from dehydration, other factors that can change the odor of urine are:
Certain foods and beverages, such as coffee and asparagus, can cause foul urine.
Bacteria that cause urinary tract infections can also cause a strong odor in the urine.
Low levels of vitamins, such as B vitamins, can cause the urine to smell and darken.
Certain kidney diseases and stones are associated with the smell of ammonia in the urine.
Is there a cure that changes the color of urine?
In most cases, you don’t have to worry about changes in urine color. However, if necessary, your doctor may prescribe treatment options depending on the cause of the change in urine color.
In some cases, all that is needed to treat a change in urine color is a simple home remedy and lifestyle change.
If dehydration causes the color of your urine to change, your doctor may advise you to drink plenty of fluids to stay healthy. In addition, if consumption of certain foods causes it, your doctor may suggest that you reduce their consumption.
If the abnormal urine color change is due to a particular drug, you can talk to your doctor to see if you can prescribe another drug.
In most cases, you don’t have to worry, but the change in urine color indicates an underlying condition. Therefore, if you notice any unusual color changes (or funky odors) in your urine, consult your doctor immediately.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. Does diabetes change the color of urine?
When excess sugar accumulates in the urine, the urine may appear cloudy. Also, the urine may have a sweet or fruity odor. In some cases, diabetes can cause kidney complications and cloud urine.
2. Is dark yellow urine in the morning dangerous?
When you urinate for the first time after waking up in the morning, your urine may appear dark yellow. You usually don’t have to worry about it, but because it doesn’t consume water while you sleep, it can increase urinary levels and turn dark yellow. If you notice dark yellow urine throughout the day, it may be due to dehydration.
3. Is there a change in urine color during pregnancy?
Urine may appear pale yellow as blood volume increases during pregnancy and the urine becomes clear and diluted.