Examining your urine color is a quick, non-invasive way to determine your hydration level and an indicator of overall health and wellness. The color can vary throughout the day due to fluid intake and certain foods and medications intake. However, some urine colors may indicate an underlying illness and a need for further treatment, so a visit to a healthcare provider may be necessary.
Normal urine color ranges from yellow to light amber but may vary throughout the day.
Inadequate hydration is often the reason for a change in urine color.
Unusual urine color may result from food or medication ingested, but an ongoing change may indicate an underlying healthcare issue.
Does pee color matter?
Adequate hydration is essential for your body. Acute dehydration, or lack of sufficient bodily fluids, can make your heart work harder and potentially lead to problems with your physical and mental health.
Most of us don’t pay attention to the color when we urinate, knowing this is the body’s way to eliminate water, electrolytes, and waste. However, pee color can provide information about your hydration level, medications, or food consumed, and how well your body functions.
What color is normal healthy urine?
Urine can be a spectrum of colors and can mean multiple things. The color may tell us our hydration level, since fluids dilute the yellow pigment in urine to make it more transparent. That’s why drinking less fluid results in a more concentrated, darker amber hue or can indicate that your body is dehydrated. But changes in urine color might also warn of an underlying health problem.
What urine color is not normal?
Urochrome is a pigment that causes the typical yellow color of urine. However, the color may vary throughout the day due to the amount of fluid you've drunk and eaten certain foods or medications.
There may be no need to panic if you notice changes in your urine color. Some changes in urine color may result from a lack of hydration, something you ate, or your medication. In addition, colors might look slightly different to different people. Still, it’s important to pay attention to unusual urine colors that don’t resolve because it may be necessary to see a doctor to ensure a medical condition does not cause it.
Health indications of urine color:
The color of urine can vary depending on your health status and other factors. Below you will find what each urine color indicates.
Yellowish to amber
Healthy urine is a light yellow to amber color — it is normal to be in this range. Urine may appear neon yellow from taking B vitamins, or a darker amber may signify mild dehydration, resulting from inadequate fluid intake or excessive sweating due to exercise or a hot environment. An increase in fluid intake usually resolves this.
If urine is clear, you may be drinking more water than recommended. If this occurs occasionally, it’s usually not something to be concerned with, but if excessive fluid intake is ongoing, it could reduce your body’s essential salt and electrolytes.
When urine remains clear without excessive fluid intake or continues ongoing, it could indicate potential liver or kidney problems.
Red or pink
Light pink or red urine could be a sign of blood in the urine or a severe health condition, but there are other potential reasons. Excessive exercise, such as long-distance running, or eating fruits and vegetables with a natural deep color, such as beets, rhubarb, blackberries, blueberries, and fava beans, as well as medications such as phenazopyridine, rifampin, and laxatives containing senna, may produce pink or red urine.
If blood in the urine causes a pink or reddish hue, this could signify a urinary tract infection, kidney stones, or cysts. However, pain and discomfort usually accompany these ailments. Other conditions to rule out include an enlarged prostate, tumors in the bladder or kidney, or lead or mercury poisoning.
Dehydration or taking medications such as phenazopyridine, sulfasalazine, and chemotherapy drugs or vitamins, such as vitamin A and B-12, can turn urine orange. However, orange urine could be a sign of kidney or bladder disease or that the liver isn’t working correctly, especially if you notice pale stools and a yellow tinge to your skin and eyes.
Blue or green
Usually, something you eat causes your urine to take on a blue or green color. Food coloring and many types of candy and medications such as cimetidine, amitriptyline, triamterene, indomethacin, promethazine, and B vitamin supplements use a dye called methylene blue. The color could also result from the dye used in medical tests performed on the kidneys or bladder.
However, low to moderate calcium levels from a genetic condition called familial benign hypercalcemia may change urine color to blue or green.
Dehydration or a muscle injury from intense physical activity such as running can result in dark brown urine or if you’re eating a large amount of rhubarb, aloe, or fava beans. Certain medications, including metronidazole, nitrofurantoin, chloroquine, primaquine, phenytoin, statins, senna-based laxatives, and methocarbamol, may also cause a color change.
A dark brown and foamy urine could indicate a urinary tract infection, liver disease, blood, or the medical condition of porphyria, a rare disorder affecting the skin and nervous system.
Cloudy or foamy
If urine is cloudy or foamy and not due to an intense urine stream, ensure you’re drinking adequate fluids and not dehydrated.
It could be a sign of a urinary tract infection or a symptom of a kidney condition or other chronic conditions such as Crohn’s disease or diverticulitis. If pregnant, it could be a sign of a dangerous condition called preeclampsia.
When to see a doctor for urine color?
Suppose you’ve rehydrated and urine is not resuming its typical color, are experiencing blood or pain with urination, or have a family history of kidney disease. In that case, it’s best to follow up with your doctor.
A healthcare provider can tell much more from your urine with an urinalysis. The urine you’re putting into the cup provides information about your health. This sophisticated analysis of your urine is a non-invasive, inexpensive, and convenient way for your health provider to determine if there may be underlying health issues.
The color of your urine can reveal many factors about your health and wellness. Learn about the typical color of urine, what unusual colors might mean, and when you want to see a doctor.
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