Urine color: What does it mean?

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Urine color: What does it mean?

Question

Why is urine yellow? Should I be concerned about changes in my urine color?

Rick
Florida

Answer

Urine consists of excess water and waste products that have been filtered from the blood by the kidneys. Its natural yellow color is due to excretion of urochrome, a pigment from blood. Depending on the amount of fluids you drink, your urine can range in color from almost clear (diluted) to dark orange (concentrated).

Most changes in urine color are temporary and caused by foods you eat or medications you take. However, sometimes an abnormal urine color can indicate a serious disease. If you're concerned about the color of your urine, especially if you notice blood in it or the color change lasts more than one day, consult your doctor.

Urine color Possible medical and dietary causes
Clear
  • Excess liquids
  • Liver disorders, such as acute viral hepatitis or cirrhosis
Bright or neon yellow
  • Vitamin supplements
Dark yellow or gold
  • Dehydration
  • Some laxatives
  • Foods or supplements containing B complex vitamins
Pink or red
  • Blood in the urine, such as due to kidney or bladder infection or cancer
  • Certain foods, such as beets and berries, and food dyes
  • Some laxatives
Orange
  • Side effect of certain medications, such as rifampin, doxorubicin (Adriamycin, Rubex), phenazopyridine (Pyridium) and warfarin (Coumadin)
  • Certain foods and food dyes
  • Dehydration
  • Some laxatives
Blue or green
  • Side effect of certain medications, such as amitriptyline and indomethacin (Indocin)
  • Certain foods, such as asparagus, and food dyes
Dark brown or tea colored
  • Liver disorders, especially if accompanied by pale stools and jaundice
  • Side effect of certain medications
  • Blood in the urine
  • Certain foods and food dyes
Cloudy or murky
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Kidney stones

Last Updated: 08/14/2006
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