Tuesday, December 12, 2023

The rainbow of urine colors

Eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables is good for your health, but what if your urine turns out to be a different color?

Urine varies in color but usually ranges from clear to pale yellow. The exact color depends on the amount of water you drink. The fluids dilute the yellow pigments in the urine. So the more you drink, the clearer your urine will be. The less you drink, the stronger the yellow color.

Some foods and medications can change the color of urine. For example, foods like beets, blackberries and fava beans can turn urine pink or red. Some medications can also cause urine to have a clear tone, such as orange or green-blue.

Unusual urine color can also be a sign of a health problem, however. For example, some urinary tract infections can cause milky white urine. Kidney stones, some cancers and other diseases can sometimes make urine red due to blood.

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

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Red or pink urine

Red urine is not always a sign of a serious health problem. Red or pink urine can be caused by:

  • blood
    Health problems that can cause blood in the urine include prostate enlargement, non-cancerous tumors, and kidney stones and cysts. Vigorous exercise can also cause blood in the urine. Blood in the urine is common with urinary tract infections and kidney stones. Those problems often cause pain. Painless bleeding can be a sign of a more serious problem, such as cancer.
  • Foods
    Beets, blackberries and rhubarb can make the urine red or pink.
  • Medicines
    Red or pink urine is possible if you take medicines for tuberculosis, painful urination or constipation.

Orange urine

Orange urine can be caused by:

  • Medicines
    Constipation medications can turn urine orange, as can medications that reduce inflammation and irritation, and some chemotherapy medications for cancer.
  • Vitamins
    Some vitamins, such as A and B-12, can make urine orange or yellow-orange.
  • Health problems
    Orange urine can be a sign of liver or bile duct problems, especially if you have light-colored stools. Dehydration can also make your urine look orange.
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Blue or green urine

Blue or green urine can be caused by:

  • Dyes
    Some brightly colored food dyes can cause green urine. Dyes used for some kidney and bladder tests can turn urine blue.
  • Medicines
    Some medications for depression, ulcers and acid reflux can make urine green-blue. Medicines for pain, arthritis and sleep can also turn urine green.
  • Health problems
    A rare disease called familial benign hypercalcemia can cause children to have blue urine. A urinary tract infection caused by a bacteria can cause green urine.

Dark brown or cola-colored urine

Brown urine can be caused by:

  • Foods
    Eating a lot of fava beans, rhubarb or aloe can cause dark brown urine.
  • Medicines
    Some medications can darken urine, including those used to treat and prevent malaria, constipation, high cholesterol and seizures. Some antibiotics and muscle relaxers can also darken the urine.
  • Health problems
    Some liver and kidney diseases and urinary tract infections can cause dark brown urine. So is bleeding inside the body, which is called hemorrhage. A group of diseases that usually affect the skin or the nervous system, called porphyria, can also cause brown urine.
  • Intense exercise
    Muscle damage from intense training can cause urine to be the color of tea or cola. The damage can lead to kidney damage.
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Cloudy or dark urine

Urinary tract infections and kidney stones can cause urine to appear cloudy or dark.

Remember that colors may look different to different people. For example, what looks red to you may be orange to others. Talk to your health care team if available

Concerns and especially if you have painful urination or dark orange urine, which can be a sign that your liver is not working properly.

Ashley Pountney a physician assistant in Urology at Austin and Albert Lea, Minnesota.

Nation World News Desk
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