What the Color of Your Urine Can Tell You

March 20, 2018
color of pee

While most of us pay little attention to our urine, it can actually give profound insight into the condition of our health. Here's a helpful guide that gives insight into what causes urine to change color.

  • Yellow: Urine normally appears yellow or clear, depending on how hydrated we are. If you are dehydrated, your urine will become darker yellow. You may also have dark or vibrant yellow urine after taking certain vitamins.
  • Red: Urine typically turns red, when blood is present. In some instances, however, certain foods, such as red beets, can cause urine to take on a red or pink appearance. When blood is present within urine, it can point toward serious issues, including damage to the bladder, ureter or kidneys. Bloody urine can also be a sign of cancer or benign tumors somewhere in the urinary tract. Noncancerous prostate enlargement can also cause blood in the urine of men.
  • Brown: Brownish or tea-colored urine can occur in response to severe muscle breakdown after heat-related muscle damage or trauma. It can also occur after alcohol/drug abuse or because of hepatitis and other liver problems, which cause bilirubin to wash out in urine.
  • White or murky: When urine takes on a white or murky appearance, it is usually a sign of white blood cell accumulation, due to a serious urinary tract infection that's typically caused by a catheter being left in place for too long.
  • Orange: Some vitamins, Pyridium and certain other medications can cause urine to take on an orange color.
  • Green or Blue: Urine can turn green or blue when someone takes Uribel, a medication used to reduce irritation from infections or certain bladder treatments. Diprivan, Indocin and Amitriptyline can also have this effect.
  • Black: Black urine is a very uncommon occurrence. That said, it can occur when someone experiences kidney damage from certain types of hair dye ingredients.
  • Purple: Also quite rare, purple urine sometimes occurs in elderly patients, when bacteria interact with the plastic in a catheter drainage bag.

Anytime you notice that your urine has unexpectedly changes color, it's a good idea to seek medical help. This is especially true if your urine turns red or brown, since this can point toward serious health issues that may require prompt medical attention. PhysicianOne Urgent Care locations are open 7 days/week and our team of experienced providers will evaluate your condition.

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