The color of your urine changes with your hydration level but may also change due to pigments in your food or from taking certain medications. Some color changes may signal a health condition that needs medical attention.

Doctors refer to the standard color of your urine as “urochrome.” Urine naturally carries a yellow pigment. When you stay hydrated, your urine will be a light yellow, close-to-clear.

If you’re getting dehydrated, you’ll notice that your urine is becoming a deep amber or even light brown.

Sometimes your urine color can indicate a health condition you must address.

The following is a summary of different urine colors and what they mean. More detail follows below.

Urine colors can vary depending on what you eat, any medications you’re taking, and how much water you drink. Many of these colors fall on the spectrum of what “normal” urine can look like, but there are cases where unusual urine colors may be a cause for concern.

Clear urine

Clear urine indicates that you’re drinking more than the daily recommended amount of water.

While being hydrated is a good thing, drinking too much water can rob your body of electrolytes. Urine that occasionally looks clear is no reason to panic, but urine that’s always clear could indicate that you need to cut back on how much water you’re drinking.

Clear urine can also indicate liver problems like cirrhosis and viral hepatitis. If you’re not consuming large amounts of water and have ongoing clear urine, you should see your doctor.

Yellowish to amber urine

The color of “typical” urine falls from light yellow to a deeper amber color. The urochrome pigment naturally in your urine becomes more diluted as you drink water.

Urochrome breaks down hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen in your red blood cells. In most situations, the color of your urine will depend on how diluted this pigment is.

Having a lot of B vitamins in your bloodstream can also cause urine to appear neon yellow.

Red or pink urine

  • Foods: Urine may look red or pink if you eat fruits with naturally deep pink or magenta pigments, like beets, rhubarb, or blueberries.
  • Medical conditions: While red or pink urine might be from something you ate recently, there are sometimes other causes. Some health conditions can cause blood to appear in your urine, a symptom known as hematuria, including enlarged prostate, kidney stones, and tumors in the bladder and kidney.
  • Medications: Medications that may turn your urine a reddish or pink hue include senna or senna-containing laxatives, phenazopyridine (Pyridium), and the antibiotic rifampin (Rifadin).

Speak with a doctor if you’re ever concerned about blood in your urine.

Orange urine

The following things can cause your urine to look orange:

  • Dehydration: If your urine appears orange, it could be a symptom of dehydration.
  • Medical conditions: If you have orange urine and light-colored stools, bile may get into your bloodstream because of issues with your bile ducts or liver. Adult-onset jaundice can also cause orange urine.
  • Medications: Medications that can cause your urine to look orange may include phenazopyridine (Pyridium), the anti-inflammatory drug sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), and chemotherapy drugs.

Blue or green urine

In general, blue urine is rare and most likely connected to something in your diet.

  • Food: Blue or green urine can be caused by food coloring, especially a dye called methylene blue. This dye is in many types of candy and some medications.
  • Medications: Medications that can cause blue or green urine include cimetidine (Tagamet), amitriptyline, indomethacin (Indocin), promethazine (Phenergan), and vitamin B supplements.
  • Medical procedures: It can also result from dyes in medical tests performed on your kidneys or bladder.
  • Medical conditions: The Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacterial infection can also cause your urine to turn blue, green, or indigo purple.

A condition called familial benign hypercalcemia can also cause blue or green urine. Low to moderate calcium levels may appear in your urine and change color when you have this condition. Many people with this genetic condition don’t have symptoms that they notice.

Dark brown urine

In most cases, urine that’s dark brown indicates dehydration.

  • Medications: Dark brown urine can also be a side effect of certain medications, including metronidazole (Flagyl) and nitrofurantoin (Furadantin), chloroquine (Aralen), cascara or senna-based laxatives, and methocarbamol.
  • Foods: Eating large amounts of rhubarb, aloe, or fava beans can cause dark brown urine.
  • Medical conditions: Brown, tea-colored urine could be a symptom of rhabdomyolosis, a breakdown of muscle tissue that is a serious medical condition. A condition called porphyria can cause a buildup of the natural chemicals in your bloodstream and cause rusty or brown urine. Dark brown urine can also indicate liver disease, as it can be caused by bile getting into your urine.
  • Exercise: Intense physical activity, especially running, can cause dark brown urine, known as exertional hematuria. This isn’t considered unusual. When your urine is dark because of exercise, it’ll typically resolve with some rest within a few hours. If you frequently see dark brown urine after exercise, or if your urine doesn’t return to normal after 48 hours, you should speak with a doctor about possible underlying causes.

Cloudy urine

The following are things that can cause your urine to appear cloudy:

  • Medical conditions: Cloudy urine can indicate a urinary tract infection. It can also be a symptom of some chronic diseases and kidney conditions. In some cases, cloudy urine is another sign of being dehydrated.
  • Pregnancy: If you have cloudy urine and are pregnant, it could be a sign of a dangerous condition called preeclampsia. You should contact your healthcare professional immediately and let them know if you develop cloudy or bubbly urine during pregnancy.
  • Cloudy urine: Urine with foam or bubbles is called pneumaturia. This can be a symptom of serious health conditions, including Crohn’s disease or diverticulitis.

There are some cases where urine is foamy, and doctors can’t determine the cause.

What does kidney failure pee look like?

If you’re in kidney failure, your urine may be varying shades of these colors:

  • dark amber
  • red
  • brown

Note that dark yellow urine may also mean that you’re dehydrated, and your urine may also turn red after eating beets or foods with dyes. Some medications may change your urine color as well.

What are the three early warning signs of kidney disease?

Many people have no signs or symptoms of kidney disease until it has progressed. However, there are a few signs and symptoms of kidney disease. They are often subtle and may include:

  • changes in your urine, such as:
    • making less urine
    • needing to pee more often
    • seeing blood in your urine
    • foamy urine
  • insomnia
  • feeling tired
  • having trouble concentrating
  • swelling in your arms and/or legs
  • swelling in your face – especially around your eyes
  • muscle cramps

What color is urine in stage 2 kidney disease?

There are generally no symptoms or only mild symptoms in stage 2 kidney disease, so your urine may be its typical yellow color. You may have more protein in your urine (proteinuria or albuminuria) if you have kidney disease, even in stage 2, and that can make your urine foamy. You may have to flush more than once.

For some people, there may be small amounts of blood in their urine (hematuria), making it more of an amber or darker yellow color.

What color is urine with stage 3 kidney disease?

In stage 3 kidney disease, there may be protein or blood in your urine, and it may be foamy, dark amber, pink, or reddish in color.

In most cases, abnormal urine colors are simply a result of dehydration, something you ate, or a side effect of medications you’re taking. Urine should resume its typical coloring within 2 to 3 days after you notice an unusual color.

If your urine is cloudy, brown, blue, or green and doesn’t return to a pale straw color, schedule an appointment to speak with a doctor.