What causes a color change in urine? There is no simple, straightforward answer to that question; it could be anything, from a health condition to your diet, to the amount of water you drink daily.
And even though anyone’s first instinct is to flush down the pee as soon as they’re done urinating, it is always good to peek into the toilet every once in a while, since the color of your urine can actually reveal a lot about your health. It can change on a daily basis since it is highly linked to your levels of hydration, but as a general rule, it is always good to be aware of what different colors of pee can mean.
What should be the standard urine color?
We cannot say that there is a urine color that can be considered normal, but, usually, a “healthy” pee should be within the yellow spectrum, preferably pale, as pale urine points to the fact that the water is being correctly filtered through your kidneys. If, however, the color of your urine is somehow darker, it could indicate that something is wrong. If you are drinking a fair amount of water, you probably should be fine even if your urine is of a dark yellow.
1. Dark-colored yellow urine
If your urine is amber, looks kind of honey-colored or is even orange urine, this can mean that you are not getting properly hydrated. Dehydration will result in your body holding onto more water, which will make your urine extra concentrated. A dehydrated person usually experiences other symptoms such as bad breath, chills, and fatigue, sugar cravings, and even muscle cramps, not to mention that the urine odor might be stronger than usual.
It is recommended that you ingest 1.5 to 2 liters of water per day, as well as other fluids, and this is the first step into tackling dehydration. Staying hydrated is super important because a lack of water in your system can cause serious health problems, such as kidney stones, bladder infections, and urinary tract infections as well.
If you feel like you consume proper water amounts, there are other things that can contribute to this urine color, such as some medications like phenazopyridine or sulfasalazine, for example.
2. Dark brown urine
If you feel like your urine looks like tea or Coca-Cola, know that this can be caused by the ingestion of certain foods like rhubarb, fava beans, and aloe, for example. Dark brown urine can also be the step that follows orange urine, and this means you are, most likely, extremely dehydrated.
People who have undergone a urologic procedure can experience bloody urine, and the dark brown shade can be an indicator that there is blood dissolving in the pee. Some medications can also have this effect in urine, like laxatives and some antibiotics.
These are the simpler explanations that should not be worrisome, but the truth is that dark brown urine can indicate something more serious – you can be suffering from liver-related issues or, worst, it can mean that your pee has melanin in it, which can point towards the progression of skin cancer. If this has become your recurrent urine color, schedule an appointment with your doctor and get tested, just to be sure.
3. Red urine or pink urine
Eating foods such as beets, rhubarb or blueberries, can affect the color of your urine and stool as well, giving it a reddish or pink color. Some medications, like phenazopyridine or the antibiotic rifampin, can have the same effect.
However, if these foods are not a part of your diet, and you are not taking any of the medications we mentioned, maybe it is time to see your doctor since this can be a sign of blood in your urine, which always requires medical attention. People who suffer from kidney stones or have recurrent UTIs should keep an eye out for the presence of blood in their urine at all times.
4. Blue urine or green urine
This is probably the scariest color for everyone because it is the most unusual one, but the explanation is probably the most innocuous as well. Antidepressants and anti-inflammatory medications can sometimes cause your pee to appear blue or green, and this is the most common explanation for such urine color.
Sometimes, however, it can be linked to a dye in something you ate. The only serious reason for this urine color is a genetic disorder called familial hypercalcemia, which is commonly known as diaper syndrome, but this disorder is quite rare, so you probably have no serious reason for concern.