My urine isn’t yellow, what does that mean?


By AGENCY

One reason your urine is a strong yellow colour is that you're not drinking enough water, as fluids dilute the yellow pigments in urine. — Filepic

The colour of regular urine varies, but usually ranges from clear to pale yellow.

The exact hue depends on how much water you drink.

Fluids dilute the yellow pigments in urine.

So the more you drink, the clearer your urine looks.

And conversely, when you drink less, the yellow colour becomes stronger.

Some foods and medications can change the colour of urine.

For example, foods like beets, blackberries and fava beans can turn urine pink or red.

Some medications can also give urine vivid tones, such as orange or greenish-blue.

An unusual urine colour can also be a sign of a health problem, however.

For instance, some urinary tract infections can turn urine milky white.

Kidney stones, some cancers and other diseases sometimes make urine look red due to blood.

Here are some unusual urine colours, along with things that can cause them.

Red or pink urine

Red urine isn’t always a sign of a serious health problem, so you don’t necessarily have to panic if you experience this.

Red or pink urine can be caused by:

> Blood

Health problems that can cause blood in the urine include an enlarged prostate, tumours that aren’t cancer, and kidney stones and cysts.

Vigorous exercise can also cause blood in the urine.

Blood in the urine is common in urinary tract infections and with kidney stones.

Those problems also often cause pain.

Painless bleeding might be a sign of a more serious problem, such as cancer.

> Foods

Beets, blackberries and rhubarb can turn urine red or pink.

> Medicines

Red or pink urine is possible if you take medications for tuberculosis, urinary tract pain or constipation.

Orange urine

Orange urine can be caused by:

> Medicines

Constipation medicines can turn urine orange, as can medicine that lessens swelling and irritation, and some chemotherapy medicines for cancer.

> Vitamins

Some vitamins, such as A and B12, can turn urine orange or yellow-orange.

> Health problems

Orange urine can be a sign of a problem with the liver or bile duct, but mainly if you also have light-coloured stools.

Dehydration can also make your urine look orange.

Blue or green urine

Blue or green urine can be caused by:

> Dyes

Some brightly-coloured food dyes can cause green urine.

Dyes used for some kidney and bladder tests can turn urine blue.

> Medicines

Some medicines for depression, ulcers and acid reflux can turn urine greenish-blue.

Medications for pain, arthritis and sleep can also turn urine green.

> Health problems

A rare disease called familial benign hypercalcaemia can cause children to have blue urine.

Urinary tract infections caused by a certain bacteria can cause green urine.

Dark brown or cola-coloured urine

Brown urine can be caused by:

> Foods

Eating lots of fava beans, rhubarb or aloe can cause dark brown urine.

> Medicines

Some medicines can darken urine, including those used to treat and prevent malaria, constipation, high cholesterol and seizures.

Some antibiotics and muscle relaxants can also darken urine.

> Health problems

Some liver and kidney disorders and urinary tract infections can turn urine dark brown.

So can bleeding inside the body, i.e. an internal haemorrhage.

A group of illnesses called porphyria, which mainly affect the skin or the nervous system, can also cause brown urine.

> Extreme exercise

A muscle injury from extreme training can cause tea- or cola- coloured urine.

The injury can lead to kidney damage.

Cloudy or murky urine

Urinary tract infections and kidney stones can cause urine to look cloudy or murky.

Keep in mind that colours can look slightly different to different people.

For instance, what looks red to you might look orange to someone else.

Talk with your healthcare team if you have concerns, and in particular, if you have painful urination or dark orange urine, which can be a sign that your liver isn’t working correctly. – By Ashley Pountney/Mayo Clinic News Network/Tribune News Service

Ashley Pountney is a physician assistant in urology in Minnesota, United States.

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