What is the color of your Urine?
The eyes may be a window into the soul, but the toilet bowl is a window into the body. Turns out, you can learn a lot about what’s going on inside by examining what comes out. In fact, it’s become pretty standard advice to keep an eye on what you leave behind when you pee, and to aim for a light lemonade color as a sign of optimal hydration.
Normal urine color ranges from pale yellow to deep amber — the result of a pigment called urochrome and how diluted or concentrated the urine is. Pigments and other compounds in certain foods and medications can change your urine color. Beets, berries and fava beans are among the foods most likely to affect the color. Many over-the-counter and prescription medications give urine vivid tones, such as red, yellow or greenish blue. An unusual urine color can be a sign of disease. For instance, deep red to brown urine is an identifying characteristic of porphyria, a rare, inherited disorder of red blood cells.
The change in urine color can indicate which food you have eaten, which medicine or supplement you took, or a medical problem.
These are some of the foods that may change the color of urine:
- Dark yellow or orange: carrots
- Green: asparagus
- Pink or red: beetroot, blackberries, rhubarb
- Brown: fava beans, rhubarb
These are some of the medicines and vitamins that can change the color of urine:
- Yellow or yellow-green: cascara, sulfasalazine, the B vitamins
- Orange: rifampicin, sulfasalazine, the B vitamins, vitamin C
- Pink or red: phenolphthalein, propofol, rifampicin, laxatives containing senna
- Green or blue: amitriptyline, cimetidine, indomethacin, promethazine, propofol, triamterene, several multi-vitamins
- Brown or brownish-black: levodopa, metronidazole, nitrofurantoin, some anti-malarial agents, methyldopa, laxatives containing cascara or senna
These are the medical conditions that can change the color of urine:
- Yellow: concentrated urine caused by dehydration
- Orange: a problem with the liver or bile duct
- Pink or red: blood in the urine (see below), hemoglobinuria (a condition linked to hemolytic anemia), myoglobinuria (a condition linked to the destruction of muscle cells)
- Deep purple: porphyria, a rare inherited red blood cell disorder
- Green or blue: urinary tract infection may cause green urine if caused by Pseudomonas bacteria; familial hypercalcemia, a rare genetic condition, can cause blue urine
- Brown or dark brown: blood in the urine (see below), a liver or kidney disorder
If the urine appears cloudy or murky, it may be a sign of a urinary tract infection or kidney stones.
Red or pink urine
Despite its alarming appearance, red urine isn’t necessarily serious. Red or pink urine can be caused by:
- Blood. Factors that can cause urinary blood (hematuria) include urinary tract infections, an enlarged prostate, cancerous and noncancerous tumors, kidney cysts, long-distance running, and kidney or bladder stones.
- Foods. Beets, blackberries, and rhubarb can turn urine red or pink.
- Medications. Rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane), an antibiotic often used to treat tuberculosis, can turn urine reddish orange — as can phenazopyridine (Pyridium), a drug that numbs urinary tract discomfort, and laxatives containing senna.
Orange urine can result from:
- Medications. Medications that can turn urine orange include the anti-inflammatory drug sulfasalazine (Azulfidine); phenazopyridine (Pyridium); some laxatives; and certain chemotherapy drugs.
- Medical conditions. In some cases, orange urine can indicate a problem with your liver or bile duct, especially if you also have light-colored stools. Dehydration, which can concentrate your urine and make it much deeper in color, can also make your urine appear orange.
Blue or green urine
Blue or green urine can be caused by:
- Dyes. Some brightly colored food dyes can cause green urine. Dyes used for some tests of kidney and bladder function can turn urine blue.
- Medications. A number of medications produce blue or green urine, including amitriptyline, indomethacin (Indocin, Tivorbex) and propofol (Diprivan).
- Medical conditions. Familial benign hypercalcemia, a rare inherited disorder, is sometimes called blue diaper syndrome because children with the disorder have blue urine. Green urine sometimes occurs during urinary tract infections caused by Pseudomonas bacteria.
Dark brown or cola-colored urine
Brown urine can result from:
- Food. Eating large amounts of fava beans, rhubarb or aloe can cause dark brown urine.
- Medications. A number of drugs can darken urine, including the antimalarial drugs chloroquine and primaquine, the antibiotics metronidazole (Flagyl) and nitrofurantoin (Furadantin), laxatives containing cascara or senna, and methocarbamol — a muscle relaxant.
- Medical conditions. Some liver and kidney disorders and some urinary tract infections can turn urine dark brown.
- Extreme exercise. Muscle injury from extreme exercise can result in pink or cola-colored urine and kidney damage.
Cloudy or murky urine
Urinary tract infections and kidney stones can cause urine to appear cloudy or murky.
If it’s white
Pee doesn’t have to be green to signal that an infection has reared its ugly head. “Sometimes urine is more concentrated or darker with a UTI —it’s why we’re often told to drink plenty of fluids when we have one. But water alone might not get you out of the woods, especially if your urine becomes a cloudy white color. That could be kidney stones or a really bad infection. You’re basically peeing out pus. Please take those symptoms straight to the doctor.
Discolored urine that isn’t the result of foods or medications could be caused by a medical condition that affects urine color. Factors that put you at risk of medical conditions that can affect urine color include:
- Age. Tumors of the bladder and kidney, which can cause blood in the urine, are more common in older people. Men older than 50 occasionally have urinary blood due to an enlarged prostate gland.
- Family history. A family history of kidney disease or kidney stones makes it more likely that you’ll develop these problems. Both can cause blood in the urine.
- Strenuous exercise. Distance runners are most at risk, but anyone who exercises vigorously can have urinary bleeding.