What Does Urine Color Say About Your Health?

Keeping an eye on your urine color can help notice specific health issues. It can help with the process of early diagnosis and getting treated as soon as possible.

That is why doctors often use urine tests to confirm or eliminate potential causes of the present symptoms. We will discuss the different urine colors and explain each color’s possible causes in today’s article. 

Can urine color indicate a health issue?

Our urine naturally appears yellow, amber-colored even. This happens as a result of a pigment known by the name of urochrome. Many factors, such as the time of day and hydration, can influence our urine color.

Small changes in one’s urine color usually do not alert the doctors. What does alert them sees abnormally colored urine. Which colors are marked as abnormal is exactly we will discuss later. But for now, let’s list the many possible causes of changes in the urine’s color.

The different urine colors

Most of us have seen different variations of the color yellow when it comes to our urine. What you may not know is that our urine can switch colors far beyond the color yellow. Which colors exactly can our urine turn in? And more importantly, what are the potential causes behind each color.

urine colour

Clear urine

You may have noticed your discolored urine, wondering whether that is normal or maybe not. Clear, transparent urine usually means that you are drinking more than the daily water recommendation.

While over-hydration is certainly not as bad as dehydration, you may want to reduce your daily water intake, especially if your urine is always transparent. Calculate what your daily recommended water intake is and stay within the range. 

Pale straw and transparent yellow urine

Pale straw and transparent yellow colored urine both indicate that you are well-hydrated. This is the normal urine color that shows that your kidneys are working just fine. 

Dark yellow urine

Dark yellow urine is also considered to be normal, especially in the morning. During the night, our urine becomes more concentrated since we are not drinking any water. That is why you should not be surprised to see your urine colored in dark yellow in the morning. In a healthy individual, their urine color normally changes its color and turns into the transparent yellow urine that we mentioned earlier as they start to drink more fluids. 

Amber-colored urine

An amber, honey-colored urine may be a sign of dehydration. To test this, simply have a glass or two of water and wait to see if your urine changes its color. If it remains the same, this may be a good sign to consult a doctor, especially if it is common. 

Light orange urine

A light orange colored urine may also be a sign of dehydration. Again, you can repeat the water test that we mentioned earlier and see how that influences your urine color. 

Orange urine

Orange urine is yet urine color that indicates dehydration. But orange urine can also be a sign of adult-onset jaundice as well as bile duct or liver issues. In the case of bile duct/liver issues, you may also experience symptoms such as light-colored stools, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue, among others.

Dark orange, almost brown-colored urine

Dark orange urine that appears almost as brown urine can be caused by severe dehydration. If you drink fluids and your urine still does not change its color, a more serious health issue may be a question. Possible causes include jaundice, Gilbert’s syndrome, and rhabdomyolysis. 

Dark brown-colored urine

Dark brown urine is often a side-effect of certain medications such as metronidazole. Other possible causes include severe dehydration and eating large amounts of aloe, fava beans, or rhubarb. Liver disease is a common cause of brown urine as well. In that case, the urine can even appear black. You probably did not know this, but your pee can be similar to that of Coca-Cola. Cola colored urine, also known as choluria, is often caused by hepatitis and cirrhosis. 

Pink or red urine

Many people are naturally worried as soon as they see their urine change its color into pink, red even. But pink and red urine do not necessarily mean a bad thing.

Some people tend to experience pink urine after eating beets, blueberries, and rhubarb, rich in deep pink pigments. As a general rule, if you have eaten any of these foods and do not experience any other symptoms, you do not have to worry.

A worrisome situation is at hand when you have not eaten any of these foods and still experience pink or red urine. Bloody urine is also known as hematuria. Several health conditions can cause hematuria, including an enlarged prostate, kidney stone, kidney cancer, bladder cancer, etc. 

Green urine

This may sound odd, but your pee can turn green too. For most people, eating asparagus is what colors their pee green. If that is the case, you may also notice a change in your urine odor as well. But there are other, more serious causes as well. Bacterial infection and certain medications can also color your urine green

Blue urine

Other than green, your urine can also be colored blue, purple even. While some medications and foods can cause blue urine, that is quite rare. In most cases, the cause is a rare inherited metabolic disorder known as familial hypercalcemia. This condition characterizes itself with the incomplete tryptophan breakdown inside the intestines. A more common name for this condition is “blue diaper syndrome.” 

Purple urine

The cause of purple-colored urine is a rare issue known as “purple urine bag syndrome.” This health issue is often seen in constipated women, people treated with a urinary catheter, and those struggling with a bacterial urinary tract infection. 

White/milky urine

An overabundance of some minerals can cause your urine to turn white. Calcium and phosphorous seem to be the most common causes of them all. Other possible causes include excessive proteins and a urinary tract infection. 

Cloudy urine

Dehydration, urinary tract infection, and kidney disease are all potential causes of cloudy urine. Pneumaturia is the medical term of cloudy urine with the presence of foam or murky urine. Foamy urine can indicate a serious health issue such as diverticulitis and Crohn’s disease

A urine color chart that you need to rely on

 Link https://i.pinimg.com/originals/f7/8e/69/f78e692d55bcf4e8129cfe40492bb215.jpg 

How is a diagnosis made?

If your doctor suspects that something is wrong, based on your urine color, they will perform a couple of exams. As usual, they will start by performing a physical exam and take your medical history. It is very important to let your doctor know about any urinary tract disorders and infection that you may have struggled in the past. 

In the case of abnormally colored urine, the doctor will perform a urine test. This is also known as urine analysis. After collecting a sample of your urine, the sample will be sent to the laboratory. The results will then be delivered to your doctor. They will look for red blood cells, excreted minerals, bacteria, and high protein levels, with any of them being a potential cause of the present symptoms.

Other than a urine analysis, your doctor will also collect a blood sample to take a better look at your health. A blood sample will, again, be sent to the laboratory. After your doctor receives back your results, they will focus on certain measurements, such as creatinine and blood urea nitrogen levels.

Both of these represent waste materials that are normally excreted through the urine. However, in the case of kidney damage or kidney disease, these waste products will build up inside your blood vessels. The blood test results can also reveal elevated liver enzymes levels and diabetes, among other causes of abnormal urine color change. 

When to see a doctor

It is good to always talk to your doctor about any change in your urine color; however, some cases represent an emergency. In that case, it is even better to be able to recognize the emergency and ask for help right away.

A great example would be the presence of blood in your urine. If this happens, consult a doctor right away. Another good example is chronic orange-colored urine, which may indicate kidney or bladder disease, both of which require medical attention as soon as possible. 

Conclusion

Have you noticed your urine changing color? Maybe lately, it has lost its natural, yellow color and instead has turned blue? Or perhaps it has turned red? Do you need to concern yourself with this? While some changes in the urine’s color are normal, others are pointing to a more severe health issue. So, it is good to know how to recognize such changes and when to ask for help. We hope that our article will help you do exactly that.

Next Up

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Sources

  1. Publishing, H. (n.d.). Red, brown, green: Urine colors and what they might mean. Retrieved September 28, 2020
    Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/red-brown-green-urine-colors-and-what-they-might-mean
  2. Bolenz, C., Schröppel, B., Eisenhardt, A., Schmitz-Dräger, B. J., & Grimm, M. (2018). The investigation of hematuria. Deutsches Aerzteblatt Online. doi:10.3238/arztebl.2018.0801
    Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6365675/
  3. Prakash, S., Saini, S., Mullick, P., & Pawar, M. (2017). Green urine: A cause for concern? Journal of Anaesthesiology Clinical Pharmacology, 33(1), 128. doi:10.4103/0970-9185.202190
    Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5374818/
  4. Fraser, C. G. (1985). Urine analysis: Current performance and strategies for improvement. Bmj, 291(6491), 321-323. doi:10.1136/bmj.291.6491.321
    Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1416605/

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