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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.
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.
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 pinkish urine can be caused by:
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 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 dehydration.
Blue- or green-tinged urine can be caused by:
In rare cases, it may be caused by:
Brown urine can be caused by:
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.
Your doctor will likely ask you questions about your urine. They will want to know:
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.
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.
Written by: Mary Ellen Ellis
Medically reviewed on: Oct 26, 2016: Stacy R. Sampson, DO
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