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What Your Urine Color is Telling You

You want to be healthy, who doesn't? Then, one day, you notice your urine color is not a normal healthy light yellow urine color. What does it mean? What should you do? This article will help you determine the causes of changes to your urine color as well as help you understand how urine color can be a symptom of certain health issues. How do you know when you urine is an abnormal color? Well, anytime your urine is not a light yellow or straw yellow color, it can be considered an abnormal urine color.


Clear Urine

Run of the mill urine is pale yellow and has little odor. Pale, clear-looking urine means that you are adequately hydrated. (Drinking water dilutes the yellowish pigment in urine.) If your urine is as colorless as water, that's probably because you've been drinking a lot of water. Besides the inconvenience of going to the bathroom many times a day because your bladder is filling up with fluid faster, there's really nothing medically worrisome about having a light colored output.

First, keep in mind that your urine color is usually a symptom and not a health issue in and of itself. That being said, let's discuss what causes changes to your urine color.

The three main causes of abnormal urine color are:

  • Foods you have eaten
  • Drugs you have taken
  • Health issues

If you are concerned about a change in your urine color, stop and take a few notes to help determine if there is a serious issue. Ask yourself a few questions:

  • My urine color is abnormal. How do I feel?
  • What have I eaten recently that might affect my urine color? Have I been eating a food that I do not normally eat?
  • What drugs am I taking (prescription or over the counter)? Do I know the side affects of taking these drugs?
  • Am I drinking enough water? Could I be dehydrated?


Dark Yellow Urine

Typically, dark yellow urine is a sign that you are not drinking enough water. How much water have you drunk for the day? You should be drinking 8 glasses of water a day. If you do not drink enough water, then your urine becomes over-concentrated with waste, which is why it is a darker yellow urine color. You may also notice a stronger odor since the concentration is higher.

Some foods may also cause your urine to have a dark yellow urine color. Asparagus makes your urine darker yellow and it creates a strong odor. The important thing is to think about your diet. Have you eaten any foods that might change your urine color? Are you drinking enough water? If you are drinking enough water, but your still have dark yellow urine color, then it may be food based. Beets also cause a dark yellow urine color.

If you haven't had any foods that may cause the dark yellow urine color, then there are some illnesses that can show symptoms such as dark yellow urine color.

  • Blood in the urine, also known as Haematuria, can cause darker urine.
  • Haemolytic Anemia can cause dark yellow urine color.
  • Hepatitis can cause a darker urine color. Hepatitis is an inflammation of your liver, and it's usually caused by a viral infection or some medications or even alcohol consumption.

When in doubt, please go see your doctor.


Blue Urine

Blue urine color is most likely caused by foods you have eaten lately or medications you are taking.

Medications and drugs can cause your urine to turn blue, since many of these contain dyes. Think of the little blue pill that some men take to help them out with erectile dysfunction. Yes, we're talking about Viagra. Some medications, can also have a side effect of changing your urine color to blue.

First you need to ask yourself if it is really blue urine, or could it be green urine color? The following medications may cause a blue urine color:

  • Triamterene – This is a pteridine that is a mild diuretic and can cause a blue urine color.
  • Rinsapin – This is an antibiotic sometimes used to treat a staph infection and can cause you to see a blue or green urine color.

There are no known diseases that would cause a blue urine color, so if your urine looks blue, it is most likely related to something you have ingested.


Green Urine

Green urine color is most likely caused by foods you have eaten lately or medications you are taking. Foods can cause a green urine color. For example, Asparagus is known to cause a darker yellow urine color or a green urine color. Artificial food coloring can also be the culprit of green urine.

Medications and drugs can cause your urine to turn green, since many of these contain dyes. Some medications, can also have a side effect of changing your urine color. You need to ask yourself if it is really green urine, or could it be a blue urine color?

Rinsapin is an antibiotic that can cause a green urine or blue urine color.

There are no known diseases that would cause a green urine color, however bile and diarrhea can cause a greenish tint to your urine. If you don't have a situation producing bile or diarreha, then your green uring is most likely related to something you have ingested.


Light Yellow Urine

A light yellow urine color typically signifies a very healthy urine. The light straw yellow urine will have a low odor, few bubbles in the urine, little to no foam in urine, and have a clear urine consistency. Congratulations, your urine is probably healthy.

"Shouldn't healthy urine be clear?" While it would seem that the clearer the urine the more healthy, that is not necessisarliy the case. If you urine color is very clear, it is showing a high concentration of water and a lower concentration of actual waste. Clear urine could mean you are very well hydrated, but a low concetration of waste is not necessarily a good thing. What this means is that you need to pee more in order to get rid the waste your body doesn't need.

Now, while it's easy to say you have healthy urine if the urine color is light yellow, you do need to pay attention to other factors to be sure you are, in fact, healthy. Regardless of the healthy urine color, the following issues may mean there are some health issues to watch for.

  • Do you have painful urination?
  • Is it difficult to urinate?
  • Are you urinating more than normal?
  • Is your yellow urine accompanied by blood?

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms with your urination, note the frequency. If it continues for longer than a day, let you doctor know immediately.


Orange Urine

There are many foods that may cause an orange urine color. Blackberries can give your urine orange hue. Beets may give your urine a red or orange urine color. Rhubarb can cause an orange urine color as well. Senna herbs have also been known to cause an orange color in your urine.

There are some serious health issues to consider that may cause orange urine.

  • Dehydration causes a darker urine color that may sometimes appear to be orange urine.
  • Jaundice can cause bile to show up in your urine. The bile can give your urine an orange color.

Again, it's important to consider what foods you have eaten lately. If your urine color is food related, it may only last for a day or two at most. If your urine color stays orange for more than a couple of days, it may be health related. See a doctor if your urine color is abnormal for more than a couple of days.


Pink Urine

Pink urine color can be caused by eating certain foods. Foods with dyes can cause a pink hue in your urine. Think about what you've been eating lately. Do any of the foods have red food coloring in them?

A more serious issue that causes pink urine is Haematuria, or blood in the urine. The Pink urine color could be a symptom of kidney, prostate or bladder problems. These are all very serious and require medical attention.

You need to monitor the occurrence of pink urine color. If it happens once or twice in a day, but never again, it could very well just be food related. If you notice a pink urine color for days or weeks, see a doctor.

If you notice a pink urine color, take note of the frequency. How often does it occur, and how long has your urine been pink? Is your pink urine color accompanied by other sypmtoms such as painful urination? Again, please don't hesitate to visit your doctor.


Red Urine

Much like pink urine color, a red urine color can sometimes be caused by certain foods you have eaten, especially when those foods have heavy dyes.

Alternatively, red urine color can be caused by Hematuria. Hematuria, or blood in the urine, will cause a dark or red urine. Blood in urine is a serious matter and may be a symptom of a serious medical issue related to your kidney, prostate or bladder. Seek medical attention immediately if you notice blood in your urine.

Red urine can be a scary sight, since it may indicate that there is blood in your urine. That being said, don't freak out. You just need to pay attention to any recent changes in your diet and overall feeling of health. Ask yourself these important questions when you notice a red urine color.

  • What have I eaten or drunk lately?
  • Does you experience painful urination?
  • How long have I noticed a red urine color?
  • Is it difficult to urinate? Do I have difficulty urinating?

If you notice a red urine color, take note of the frequency. How often does it occur, and how long has your urine been red? Is your red urine color accompanied by other sypmtoms such as painful urination? Red urine accompanied by painful urination can be a sign of blood in urine, or hematuria

If you don't think the red urine color is caused by food you've eaten, especially if you notice the red urine color frequently, then stop pondering life and go see a doctor immediately. Here are some of the more common causes of Red Urine color:

Drugs and chemicals that may cause a red urine color

  • Anisindione - sold as Miradon, this is an anticoagulant is used to prevent clots from forming.
  • Cerubidine - a chemotherapy drug. Also known as Daunomycin or Daunorubicin.
  • Laxtives may cause red urine due to arificial colors in the laxitive and also due to the diuretic.
  • Phenolphthalein - used as a laxitive.
  • Prochlorperazine - sold as Compazine, Buccastem, Stemetil and Phenotil, this antipsychotic is usually used to treat vertigo and nausea.
  • Pyridium - can cause orange urine.
  • Rifampin - a bactericidal antibiotic that may turn urine a red or orange color.
  • Senna - compounds called anthraquinones are used in laxitives.
  • Thorazine - The chlorpromazine drug is used as an antipsychotic.
  • Tranquilizers - Certain tranquilizers may have dyes and some may affect your urine color.
  • Vitamin B - Found in many suppliments, this can cause red or orange urine.
  • Warfarin - sold as Coumadin, Jantoven, Marevan, and Waran, this anticoagulant is used to treat blood clots.

Foods that may cause a red urine color

  • Beets or Beetroot
  • Blackberries
  • Rhubarb


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Source:

  • Your Guide to Understanding Urine Colors and your Health, Urine Colors, XebWeb Network.

  • Jeff Schlaudecker, M.D., assistant professor of Family Medicine at the University of Cincinnati.

  • Dr. Michael Farber, Executive Health Program at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, N.J.
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