The physical properties of urine are something that we seldom concern ourselves with. But these parameters such as colour, consistency and odour, can be important indicators of your lifestyle, well-being and overall health. Apart from being majorly water, urine is a cocktail of ingredients like sodium, creatinine, potassium, chloride, dissolved ions, organic and inorganic compounds. Any variation in the normal constituents of urine can result in changes in the colour and odour of the urine. If any abnormal constituent is present in urine, it can be an indication of some underlying health disorder. Therefore, it is very important to consult a doctor if you observe an abnormal urine colour that stays for a long duration.
Here we will clarify all the facts about the normal urine colour, why the urine is yellow in colour, the different colours that urine can take and what are the causes for the appearance of those colours in urine.
In this Article
What Colour of Urine is Considered Normal?
The colour of your urine is an easy and earliest indication of your health conditions. Urine is a mixture of electrolytes, waste, and water from your body which is filtered out in the kidney. This gives urine its typical colour, thus, any fluctuation in the colour of the urine indicates a health concern. Ideally, the colour of the urine ranges from clear to pale yellow because of the presence of a yellow pigment, known as urochrome in urine. Urochrome pigment is formed by breaking down haemoglobin. The yellowishness of your urine depends upon how hydrated your body is. Better hydration will lead to clearer urine. Your urine may appear neon yellow-coloured if you take a diet that is rich in vitamin B.
What does the Colour of the Urine Indicate?
The colour of the urine in a healthy individual is generally yellow, but it may vary if there are any changes in your diet or health conditions. The amount of water in your body and the food that you eat also change the colour of your urine. The different colour of urine indicates one or another health condition.
Clear urine indicates that your intake of water is more than the required amount which has diluted urochrome pigment. Staying hydrated is essential, but a large amount of water intake can actually deficit the electrolytes in your body. A clear urine can also be an indication of liver issues like viral hepatitis and cirrhosis. Therefore, if you think that you are not drinking water much, but still observe clear urine for a long time, you must consult your doctor once.
Red or pink urine
There can be various reasons why your urine may appear red or pink in color:
- Consumption of fruits that contain deep pink or magenta colour naturally, for example, rhubarb, beets, and blueberries.
- Red-coloured urine also indicates a symptom known as hematuria, which can be an indication of diseases like kidney stones, enlarged prostate, and tumours in the bladder or kidney.
- Certain medicines like rifampin, phenazopyridine, and senna can also lead to reddish or pink-coloured urine.
There can be various health conditions indicated by orange coloured urine:
- Issues with the bile duct or liver can cause the bile to leak into the bloodstream giving urine an orange colour.
- Adult-onset jaundice
- Certain medicines like sulfasalazine, and pyridium can also give an orange colour to the urine
- Drugs used in chemotherapy are given to cancer patients.
Blue or green urine
Blue or green coloured urine is generally rare but it can still occur due to various reasons like
- Consumption of food that contains colouring agents like methylene blue
- Medicines like amitriptyline, cimetidine, promethazine, indomethacin and vitamin B supplements.
- Dyes used during medical tests performed for evaluating the health of the kidneys and urinary bladder.
- Bacterial infection of Pseudomonas aeruginosa
- Familial benign hypercalcemia
Dark brown urine
The dark brown colour of the urine can also be due to various reasons that include
- Side effects of medicines like chloroquine, nitrofurantoin, metronidazole, senna based laxatives, cascara, and methocarbamol.
- Food items like aloe, rhubarb and fava beans
- Accumulation of natural chemicals in your bloodstream caused due to porphyria
- Liver disease that may cause bile to enter your urine giving it a dark brown colour
- Intense physical exercise like running
Your urine might sometimes appear a little cloudy. The appearance of cloudy urine can be due to various reasons like
- Urinary tract infection
- Chronic disease
- Kidney disorders
- Preeclampsia (it is a dangerous condition that may occur in pregnant women)
- Pneumaturia (it is characterised by cloudy urine with bubbles or foam)
- Crohn’s disease
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Urine colour chart: A summary
Till now, you would have understood that the colour of your urine speaks a lot about your health. Therefore, here is the urine colour chart that summarises all that has been discussed about the urine colour till now.
|S.No.||Urine Colour||Medical cause|
|1.||Clear||You are drinking too much water.|
|2.||Yellowish or amber||Healthy individual|
|3.||Red or pink||Presence of blood in urine|
|4.||Orange||Possible issues with the bile duct|
|5.||Blue or green||Bacterial infection|
|6.||Dark brown||Liver disease|
|7.||Cloudy||Urinary tract infection (UTI), chronic disease or issues related to the kidney|
Who is more prone to an abnormal urine colour?
Sometimes people observe an abnormal urine colour although they do not take any medicines or are not diagnosed with any health condition that can give the specific colour to the urine. There is a certain group of people who are at a higher risk of getting diagnosed with medical conditions that can lead to changes in urine colour. The people at a higher risk of abnormal urine colour include:
- Family history: If you have kidney related issues like kidney disease or stone running in your family, then even you are prone to develop kidney related issues that can lead to change in colour of the urine.
- Age: The chances of presence of blood in elderly people is comparitively more, therefore, red colored urine occurs more commonly in elderly people. The blood in urine can appear due to various medical conditions that are common in elderly including enlarged prostate gland, kidney and bladder tumours.
- Strenuous exercise: Those people who do extensive exercise or run a great distance are more prone to urinary bleeding.
The colour of your urine can tell a lot about your health condition. Therefore, it is always advised that you consult your doctor if you observe a change in your urine colour over a period of time. The change in urine colour does not always indicate a serious health complication, but it can be an indicator to pay attention to your diet and water intake. Now, that you know the cause of a specific urine colour, you will be better able to evaluate your condition.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Can lack of water cause blood in urine?
No, the red colour of urine is not an indication of dehydration. However, it can be because you have eaten food that contains red pigment, or because of the presence of blood in urine.
2. Is blood in the urine a serious problem?
The presence of blood in urine is an indication of health issues like enlarged prostate gland, kidney stones, or tumour of the urinary bladder.
3. What foods can make your urine red?
Food items that contain red pigments like blueberries, beets, and rhubarb can make your urine red.