Normal urine color ranges from pale yellow to deep amber — the result of a pigment called urochrome and how diluted or concentrated the urine is.
Pigments and other compounds in certain foods and medications may change your urine color. Beets, berries and fava beans are among the foods most likely to affect urine color. Many over-the-counter and prescription medications give urine more-vivid tones — raspberry red, lemon yellow and orange orange.
An unusual urine color is among the most common signs of a urinary tract infection. Deep purple urine is an identifying characteristic of porphyria, a rare, inherited disorder of red blood cells.
Normal urine color varies, depending on how much water you drink. Fluids dilute the yellow pigments in urine, so the more you drink, the clearer your urine looks. When you drink less, the color becomes more concentrated. Severe dehydration can produce urine the color of amber.
But sometimes urine can turn colors far beyond what's normal, including red, blue, green, dark brown and cloudy white.
When to see a doctor
Discolored urine is often caused by medications, certain foods or food dyes. In some cases, though, changes in urine color may be caused by certain health problems.
Red or pink urine
Blue or green urine
Dark brown or tea-colored urine
Cloudy or murky urine
Female urinary system
Your bladder stores urine produced by your kidneys and expels it through a tube called the urethra. In women, the urethral opening is above the vagina. ...
Male urinary system
Your bladder stores urine produced by your kidneys and expels it through a tube called the urethra. In men, the urethral opening is at the tip of the penis. ...
Eating foods that can discolor urine, such as berries, beets and rhubarb, or taking certain medications makes it more likely that you'll have harmless changes in the color of your urine. Whether you react or not depends on the amount of food or medication you take, your state of hydration, and your own body chemistry.
Factors that put you at risk of medical conditions that can affect urine color include the following:
Preparing for your appointment
You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or primary care provider. In some cases, though, you might be referred immediately to a doctor who specializes in urinary tract disorders (urologist).
Here's some information to help you prepare for your appointment, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
What to expect from your doctor
Questions your doctor might ask include:
Tests and diagnosis
In addition to taking a thorough medical history and performing a physical exam, your doctor will recommend certain diagnostic tests, including:
Treatments and drugs
Discolored urine has no specific treatment. Instead, your doctor will concentrate on treating the underlying condition.
Lifestyle and home remedies
When you're dehydrated, your urine becomes more concentrated and darker in color. If you notice this happening, it may be a sign that you need more fluids. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids each day to stay hydrated and keep yourself healthy.
Last Updated: 2011-09-30
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