Not many people might know this but the urine color varies greatly from person to person. It generally ranges from deep amber to honey color with several golden variations in between. The different colors of the urine actually tell us a lot about our health. With normal kidney functioning, one’s levels of hydration are indicated by the urine color. The pigment that gives urine its characteristic yellow color is known as Urochrome. However, some vitamins, medicines supplements or procedures like chemotherapy, certain diseases can all impact the urine color.
Sometimes, small amounts of pus or blood might also appear in one’s urine. This may be caused by certain drugs or health conditions. Urine infections (or urinary tract infections) are primarily responsible for causing pus and blood in urine.
Why test the urine color?
As stated above, the urine color can tell doctors a great deal about a patient’s health, particularly his/her level of hydration. Dehydrated people are more likely to develop heat related illnesses. The amount of water one drinks can also impact the individual’s skin, brain and circulatory health. Dehydration is a leading cause of (or increased risk to) Alzheimer’s, kidney stones and other serious diseases.
Different urine colors and what they indicate
No color- A completely transparent urine indicates that you are drinking a lot of water. In some cases this might mean that you actually need to cut back on the amount of water you are drinking. Talk to your doctor as to the right quantity of water suitable for your specific needs.
Cloudy or white urine– White or cloudy urine can occur due to vaginal discharge, dehydration, certain foods or even due to kidney stones. Further tests may be needed to look for microscopic blood clots, pus etc which could be signs of infection.
Pale or straw colored urine– This is considered healthy urine of a well hydrated person with no major health issues.
Transparent yellow urine– Very light yellow urine is also a sign of normal, hydrated person.
Dark yellow urine– This is usually normal and many times the color may be due to certain medicines, supplements or vitamin pills. If however, you are not taking any of these, you might need to increase your water intake.
Orange/Yellow urine color– Carrot juice taken in high quantities can lead to such color of the urine. Medicines like vitamin B complex, Rifampin, Chlorzoxazone etc can also cause orange-yellow urine. Other factors include dehydration, certain liver disorders etc.
Yellow-Brown urine– Certain medicines like Bismuth, Cascara, Nitrofurantoin, Senna (present in laxatives), Chloroquine, Metronidazole, Primaquine or Sulfonamides can cause this color of urine. Doctors might order further testing to examine liver health.
Dark brown urine color- This is generally indicative of secretion of excess bilirubin from liver into the urine. Certain diseases like Liver cancer, Cirrhosis, Acute hepatitis can lead to dark brown urine. Medicines containing ferrous salts, laxatives containing senna etc can also produce dark brown urine.
Blue or blue green urine– This urine color is typically caused by food colors as well as by Asparagus, or conditions like hypercalcaemia.
Reddish or pinkish urine– Beet roots, blackberries, rhubarb, certain food colors, or chronic mercury or lead poisoning as well as prostate problems can cause reddish-pinkish urine color. Medicines like Ibuprofen, Propofol, Salicylates, Heparin, Methyldopa etc can also lead to this urine color.
Foaming and fizzing urine– Usually foaming in urine could be due to a harmless hydraulic effect. Other times, foamy urine means excess protein in the diet or a kidney issue. If the issue persists see a doctor immediately.
As can be seen, a lot can be determined about one’s overall health by looking at the urine color. However, nothing can beat a sophisticated urinalysis and regular physical examinations done by a physician. If you see blood in your urine (which is sometimes invisible to the naked eye) do not hesitate to see a doctor. Likewise, dark brown or extremely yellow urine could indicate severe dehydration or serious liver or kidney diseases. The sugar levels in the urine can also indicate the risk to developing diabetes. So, do not be afraid of getting your urine checked from time to time. A regular exam of the urine color can actually be one of the best things you do for your health.