What causes dark urine? 40 possible conditions

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Definition

Dark urine is urine that is a deeper (usually brown, deep yellow or maroon) color rather than the usual straw to yellow color.

Alternative Names

Urine looks dark.

Synopsis

Urine is produced in the kidneys, which are important organs for the health of our body. When we take fluid in, it passes from our digestive system into our circulatory system and is filtered through the kidneys. The kidneys get rid of waste products via the urine. The ureters are tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder. The bladder empties the urine via the urethra, the tube through which we urinate. Dark urine is most commonly due to dehydration and concentrated urine but it may be an indicator that excess, unusual or potentially dangerous waste products are circulating in the body. For example, dark brown urine may indicate liver disease due to the presence of bile products, whereas bloody (reddened) urine is an indication of many other potential problems, including direct injury to the kidneys.

Associated Diagnoses

  • Hepatitis
  • Rhabdomyolysis
  • Cirrhosis
  • Glomerulonephritis
  • Dehydration
  • Trauma
  • Biliary obstruction
  • Gallstones
  • Bladder stones
  • Bladder cancer
  • Jaundice
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Malaria
  • Thalessemia
  • Porphyrias
  • Side effects of blood-thinning medications
  • Bladder or kidney stones

Diagnosis and Treatments

A comprehensive evaluation by a physician, including a urinalysis, is necessary when dark urine is present. Treatment will depend on your medical history, symptoms and the results of any laboratory studies and other diagnostic tests.

Call your provider:

Any change in the color of the urine that is not known to be due to eating a certain food or medication should be reported to your doctor. Report blood in the urine to your doctor immediately.

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See a list of possible causes in order from the most common to the least.

1

Yellow Skin (Jaundice)

Jaundice is yellowing of the skin and eyes and can indicate a serious problem with liver, gallbladder, or pancreas function.

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2

Dehydration

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluid than you drink. The most common cause of water loss from the body is excessive sweating. Headaches, dizziness, and decreased urination are symptoms.

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3

Hepatitis

Hepatitis is swelling and inflammation of the liver. It's usually caused by a viral infection. There are several types of hepatitis, including: A, B, C, D, and E. Symptoms may not occur until liver damage occurs.

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4

Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is severe scarring and poor function of the liver caused by long-term exposure to toxins such as alcohol or viral infections. Certain medications and disorder can also cause cirrhosis.

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5

Porphyrias

Porphyrias are rare types of genetic blood disorders in which patients have a defect in heme production, an important part of hemoglobin. Blisters are a sign of porphyria cutanea tarda, the most common type of porphyria.

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6

Hemolytic Anemia

Your bone marrow is responsible for producing red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets (cells responsible for clotting). Hemolytic anemia is a condition that involves only the red blood cells. When old re...

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7

Gallstones

Gallstones are hard deposits in the gallbladder that can eventually block the exiting bile ducts. Abdominal pain, fever, itchy skin, and jaundice are possible symptoms.

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8

Glomerulonephritis

Glomerulonephritis occurs when blood filtering vessels in the kidneys are damaged. This may contribute to kidney failure, which causes fatigue, insomnia, itchy skin, and other symptoms.

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9

Rhabdomyolysis

Rhabdomyolysis is breakdown of muscle fibers. Muscle breakdown causes the release of myoglobin into the bloodstream. Myoglobin can cause kidney damage. Symptoms include dark urine, muscle weakness, and fatigue. Abou...

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10

Urethral Stricture

The urethra is a tube that helps expel urine from body. When the urethra narrows, it's known as a urethral stricture. Abdominal pain, urge to urinate, and swelling are signs.

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11

Biliary (Bile Duct) Obstruction

A biliary obstruction is a blockage of the bile ducts. The bile ducts carry bile from the liver and gallbladder through the pancreas to the small intestine (the duodenum). Bile is a dark-green or yellowish-brown flui...

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12

ABO Incompatability Reaction

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

An ABO incompatibility reaction can occur if you are given the wrong type of blood during a blood transfusion. It is a rare, but serious and potentially fatal, response by your immune system to incompatible blood. Thes...

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13

Heat Emergencies

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Heat emergencies are health crises caused by exposure to hot weather and sun. Heat emergencies have three stages: heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke. All three stages are serious. If left untreated, the firs...

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14

Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia

Autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AHA) is a group of conditions where a person's immune system destroys their red blood cells (RBCs). These rare conditions occur when antibodies-proteins that normally protect us from viruse...

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15

Chlamydia Infection

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease that should be treated quickly in order to avoid complications. It is caused by bacteria that are usually spread through sexual contact. People with chlamydia often don't hav...

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16

Alcoholic Liver Disease

Damage to the liver from excessive drinking can lead to ALD. Years of alcohol abuse cause the liver to become inflamed and swollen. This damage can also cause scarring known as cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is the final stage o...

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17

Renal Cell Cancer

Renal cell carcinoma, or RCC, is also called hypernephroma, adenocarcinoma of renal cells, or renal or kidney cancer. It is the most common kind of kidney cancer found in adults. The kidneys are organs in your body tha...

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18

G6PD Deficiency

The body needs adequate amounts of red and white blood cells to keep tissues oxygenated, fight infection, and maintain health. Enzymes are proteins that help regulate biochemical reactions and metabolism in the body an...

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19

Malaria

Malaria is a life-threatening disease. It is typically transmitted through the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. Infected mosquitoes carry the Plasmodium parasite. When this mosquito bites you, the parasite i...

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20

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver caused by exposure to toxins, immune diseases, or infection. Viruses cause most cases of hepatitis. Hepatitis A is inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus...

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This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose.
Please consult a healthcare professional if you have health concerns.
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