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July 10, 2018

What the color of urine tells you about your health

Adult Health Urine

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Paying attention to your body is important, especially as temperatures rise, and summer schedules become increasingly hectic. Even when you think you’re drinking enough water or sticking to the right diet, it’s easy to get off track.

The smell, color, and even density of urine can tell you a lot about your overall health and well-being. It’s certainly something that doesn’t hurt to keep an eye on to help prevent any potential complications down the line.

Urine color and hydration

Urine can take on a range of different hues, from light yellow to deep amber. A pigment called urochrome typically determines the color, indicating how diluted or concentrated the urine may be. Generally speaking, your urine should be a pale, transparent yellow. While “normal” urine colors may vary from person to person, it can also depend on how many fluids you drink. Water can dilute the yellow color, making your urine more transparent, or even perfectly clear. While this is not necessarily a cause for concern, make sure you’re not drinking too much water, as this can result in overhydration of your kidneys. If you’re exercising, however, you should increase your fluid intake to compensate for the rapid loss of water that occurs through natural functions like perspiration and, you guessed it, urination.

On the other hand, if your body starts to dehydrate, your urine will become darker in color. It is not uncommon to see dark brown urine in cases where severe dehydration is the cause. If you’ve ever woken up with a rough hangover after a night of overindulgence, you’ve likely experienced this phenomenon. If your urine is darker than normal for an extended period, consult your doctor, as the root cause could point to a more serious issue than dehydration.

Other causes

Shades of pink or red may appear in your urine from time to time. If so, it’s important to take stock of what foods you’ve recently consumed. Beets, blueberries, or rhubarb can lead to urine that is pinkish in color. Otherwise, a reddish tint may indicate the presence of blood. There’s no need to panic. There are many harmless reasons why that may be the case. However, red urine could potentially signify a medical condition such as kidney disease, tumors, urinary tract infections, or a prostate problem. Consulting a doctor is your best bet for preventing a potentially harmful disease. It is also important to note that certain medications, such as Rifamin, can cause urine to become red or pink.­

In rarer cases, urine can take on a green or blue tint. Don’t worry, it’s not because you’re an alien. Normally, this is caused by brightly colored food dyes that can trickle into your urinary system. A range of medications, like Indocin or Tagamet, can also result in blue excrement, and is not viewed as a cause for concern.

When it comes to anything related to your internal systems, a general rule of thumb is to monitor any abnormal issues or behaviors that are new to you. The human body is a complex system composed of many moving parts, and no two bodies are alike.

The bottom line

Drinking enough water, eating a healthy diet, and sticking to a manageable exercise regimen will help you stay as fit and healthy as possible. If you’re otherwise in good health, and your urine takes on a strange hue for an extended period of time, consult your physician for more information.

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The information on this web site is for general information purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or health care provider on any matters relating to your health.