Ask the Experts: What Does the Color of my Urine mean about my Health?

Anne Calvaresi, CRNP specializes in urology

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. If you have urine that resembles another color, you should be aware that this is not normal. Abnormal colored urine may look clear, orange/brown/amber, pink/red, or even green/blue. Certain foods, medications, dyes, infections, and other conditions may affect the color of your urine.

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. Brown or orange colored urine could mean you have a liver condition or an issue with your bile duct.

If your urine has no color at all, you are most likely drinking a lot of water. You may want to cut back on the amount of water you're taking in until your urine appears as a pale or transparent shade of yellow. Certain types of medications, known as diuretics, may also cause your urine to have no color.

Blue/green urine may be caused by infection, or more likely food dyes or medications. Pink or red urine might resemble blood in the urine. This is a condition called hematuria. Sometimes the amount of blood is very small and can only be detected with urine tests or under a microscope. Do not ignore blood in your urine. Causes of blood in the urine may include a stone in your urinary tract, an infection, or a tumor among other possibilities. Get checked by your health care provider to make sure there is not a serious underlying health issue. 

Anne Calvaresi, CRNP specializes in urology and urologic oncology at the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia.