What is abnormal urine
Normal urine color ranges from pale yellow to deep gold.
Urine that’s abnormally colored may have tints of red, orange, blue, green, or
brown. Abnormal urine color can be caused by a variety of issues. For example,
it can result from taking certain medications, eating certain foods, having
certain medical conditions, or being dehydrated.
If your urine is abnormally colored and you can’t pinpoint
the cause, make an appointment with your doctor. In some cases, abnormal urine
colors are caused by serious medical conditions that require treatment.
causes abnormal urine colors?
Many things can cause your urine to develop an unusual color.
Some causes are temporary and harmless. For example, eating certain foods or
taking certain medications can cause the color of your urine to change. Other
causes are more serious. For example, you may have an underlying injury,
infection, or other medical condition that requires treatment.
Dark yellow urine
If your urine just appears darker than normal, you’re
probably dehydrated. When you don’t drink enough fluids, the compounds in your
urine become more concentrated. This makes it appear darker in color.
Red or pink urine
Red or pinkish urine can be caused by:
- certain foods, such as beets, blackberries, and
- certain medications, such as rifampin, Pyridium,
and laxatives that contain senna
- blood in your urine, for example, from an
injury, obstruction, infection, kidney disease, benign prostate enlargement, or
- poisoning from lead or mercury
- severe muscle injury
Blood in your urine is a cause for concern. It can be a sign
of a serious health problem.
Orange urine is commonly caused by medications, such as:
- some chemotherapy drugs.
Some medical conditions can also turn your urine orange. It may
be a sign of problems with your bile ducts or liver, especially if your stool
is also light in color. Your urine may also appear orange as a result of
Blue or green urine
Blue- or green-tinged urine can be caused by:
- food coloring
- dyes used in certain kidney and bladder tests
- certain medications and supplements, such as indomethacin,
amitriptyline, propofol, and some multivitamins
In rare cases, it may be caused by:
- an infection in your urinary tract caused by the
bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa
- familial benign hypercalcemia, a rare hereditary
Brown urine can be caused by:
- certain foods, such as fava beans, aloe, or
- certain medications, such as primaquine,
chloroquine, nitrofurantoin, metronidazole, methocarbamol, and laxatives with
cascara or senna
- some urinary tract infections, liver disorders,
and kidney disorders
- severe muscle injury
should you seek medical help?
If your urine develops an unusual color that doesn’t seem to
be linked to food you’ve eaten, medication you’ve taken, or dehydration,
contact your doctor.
Some of the underlying causes of abnormal or dark-colored
urine are harmless. Others are serious illnesses that require treatment. Your
doctor can help you identify the cause of your abnormally colored urine.
It’s especially important to see your doctor if you suspect
there’s blood in your urine. You should also make an appointment with your
doctor if you develop dark brown urine along with pale-colored stools or a
yellowish tinge to your skin and eyes.
will your doctor diagnose the cause?
Your doctor will likely ask you questions about your urine.
They will want to know:
- how long the unusual color has been present
- if you’ve noticed any unusual odors
- if you’ve seen any blood clots in it
They will likely ask you if you’ve experienced any pain
while urinating or other symptoms. They may also ask you about any medications you’re
currently taking. It’s important to report any prescription and
over-the-counter medications as well as any herbal supplements that you take.
Depending on the color of your urine and other symptoms,
your doctor may order one or more tests. For example, they will probably
collect a sample of your urine for testing in a laboratory to check for signs
of infection or other abnormalities. They may also collect a sample of your
blood for testing. Blood tests can help them learn if your liver and kidneys
are functioning properly.
Your doctor may also perform an ultrasound of your urinary bladder
or kidneys. This imaging test uses sound waves to create an image of your
internal organs. An abdominal and pelvic CT scan may be performed if urinary
tract stones are suspected. When indicated, imaging studies can help your
doctor check for structural defects in your urinary tract.
will your treatment involve?
Your doctor’s recommended treatment plan will depend on the
cause of your abnormal urine color. Ask your doctor for more information about
your specific diagnosis, treatment options, and long-term outlook.
In some cases, simple lifestyle changes may be all that’s
needed. If your urine is abnormally colored as a result of dehydration, you can
drink more fluids. If the unusual color is caused by certain foods, you can eat
less of them if it bothers you.