The Meaning Behind the Color of Urine

By: Urology Care Foundation | Posted on: 22 Aug 2018

The Meaning Behind the Color of Urine

The color of your urine can change for many reasons. These can range from the food you eat, to the medicines you take, to certain medical conditions.

The more water you drink, the clearer your urine looks.

As a general rule of thumb, it's usually a good sign for your health when the color of your urine is a pale shade of yellow or clear. Dark yellow urine can be normal, but it might mean you need more fluids. 

When your urine appears as a darker shade of yellow, or even brown, it could be a sign that you have low urine volume. Low urine volume may come from dehydration (loss of body fluids) from hard exercise, working or living in a hot place, or not drinking enough fluids. When urine volume is low, urine is concentrated and dark in color. A major risk factor for kidney stones is constant low urine volume. Amber or honey colored urine may also mean you aren't drinking enough water.

Did you know some foods can change your urine color? For example, beets, blackberries and rhubarb can turn your urine red or pink. Eating large amounts of fava beans can cause dark brown urine. Eating foods with a lot of food dye can lead to blue or green urine.

There are also some medicines that can change your urine color, these include:

  • Phenazopyridine(Pyridium), a drug that numbs urinary tract discomfort, and laxatives containing senna can turn your urine reddish orange.
  • The anti-inflammatory drug sulfasalazine (Azulfidine),phenazopyridine, some laxatives and certain chemotherapy drugs might cause your urine color to be orange.
  • The antidepressant amitriptyline, the pain reliever indomethacin (Indocin, Tivorbex) and the anesthetic propofol (Diprivan) may turn your urine blue or green.

Call your doctor if you see a change in your urine that doesn't seem linked to a new medicine you're taking, or a recent meal-especially if the change lasts more than a day or so.

Make sure to see a doctor if your urine contains blood or is dark. Blood in the urine warrants further investigation as it could be a sign of a urinary tract infection, kidney stones or urinary tract cancer. Dark or orange urine may signal a liver problem. Green urine could also be a sign of a bacterial infection in the urinary tract.

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