We can learn a lot about our bodies from the subtle changes in our daily functions. The colour of our urine is one of those things. It can be an indicator of our hydration levels, what we’ve been eating, and even of some underlying health conditions.
So, what does the colour of your urine say about your health? Let's look at this urine colour chart to find out, and take a look at what you can do to maintain a healthy balance.
Urine Colour Chart
Let's start with the most common urine colours and what they mean for your health.
Pale Yellow Urine
This is the ideal urine colour and indicates a healthy balance of hydration in the body. If your urine is consistently this colour, you're doing a great job at staying hydrated. The yellow from urine comes from a pigment called urochrome, which is a breakdown product of hemoglobin in red blood cells, and the pale yellow colour is due to the low concentration of urochrome, meaning you are hydrated enough for your kidneys to function properly.
Dark Yellow Urine
If your urine is a dark yellow, it usually means you're not drinking enough fluids. This can lead to dehydration, which can cause symptoms like dizziness, lightheadedness, and fatigue. Drink more water and fluids throughout the day to stay hydrated and keep your urine a pale yellow colour. If your urine is still dark yellow after a day or two of increased fluids, it could be a sign of a more serious condition like liver disease, so speak to your doctor.
Clear urine generally indicates that you're drinking enough fluids, although it could also be a sign of overhydration, which can lead to water intoxication. This is when the body has too much water and not enough electrolytes, which can cause symptoms like nausea, vomiting, headache, and confusion. Too much water could also dilute your urine, making it harder for your kidneys to filter out waste products.
If you notice your urine is clear, it's not a time to panic. Simply reduce your fluid intake for a short period of time and see if your urine goes back to its normal colour. If it doesn't, or if you experience any other symptoms, speak to your doctor to rule out liver problems like cirrhosis.
Yellow to Amber Urine
This urine colour is still within the normal range, but it may indicate that you're not drinking enough fluids. Darker urine can also be a sign of dehydration, which can cause symptoms like dizziness, lightheadedness, and fatigue. Drink more water and fluids throughout the day to stay hydrated and keep your urine a pale yellow colour. If your urine is still dark yellow after a day or two of increased fluids, it could be a sign of a more serious condition like liver disease, so speak to your doctor.
Some vitamins such as B-12 can also cause urine to turn a yellow to amber colour. If you take vitamins on a regular basis and notice your urine colour changing, speak to your doctor to rule out any other causes.
Pink to Red Urine
Pink or red urine can be a sign of blood in the urine, which can be caused by a number of conditions like urinary tract infections, kidney stones, or tumors. If you notice your urine is this colour, speak to your doctor so they can run tests to determine the cause.
Foods and supplements can also affect the colour of your urine. Beets, blackberries, and rhubarb can all give urine a pink or red colour, and supplements like riboflavin can also change the colour of urine. These colours are generally nothing to worry about and will go back to normal once you stop consuming these foods or supplements.
If your urine is consistently pink or red, it's important to speak to your doctor so they can rule out any serious underlying conditions.
Orange urine can be a sign of dehydration, but it can also be due to eating certain foods like carrots or taking certain medications like beta-carotene supplements. If you notice your urine is orange and you're not taking any medications or supplements, drink more fluids and increase your water intake for a few days to see if the colour goes back to normal. If it doesn't, or if you experience other symptoms like fatigue or headache, speak to your doctor to rule out any underlying health conditions.
Medications such as phenazopyridine, used to treat urinary tract infections, can also cause orange urine. Certain chemotherapy medications can also cause orange or red urine.
Green to Blue Urine
Foods, medications, and even some medical conditions can cause your urine to change colours. For example, asparagus can give urine a green colour, while blueberries can make it appear blue. Medications like phenazopyridine, used to treat urinary tract infections, can also cause blue or green urine.
Medical treatments that involved using dyes in the bladder or kidneys can also cause blue or green urine. In most cases, there is no cause for concern if your urine is blue or green. However, if the colour is accompanied by other symptoms like pain or burning when urinating, it could be a sign of a UTI or bladder infection. See your doctor to be sure.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a type of bacteria, can also cause blue or green urine. This is most often seen in people with catheters or other medical devices that enter the urinary tract. If you have a urinary tract infection caused by this bacteria, you may also experience symptoms like pain, burning, and frequency when urinating. Seek medical treatment right away to clear the infection.
Dark Brown Urine
Dark brown urine is usually a sign of dehydration, as the body is trying to concentrate urine to conserve water. It can also be a sign of liver disease, so if you notice dark brown urine, speak to your doctor.
Some medications such as chloroquine, primaquine, and antimalarials can also cause dark brown urine. If you're taking any of these medications and notice dark brown urine, speak to your doctor to see if you need to adjust your dosage.
Foods like fava beans, rhubarb, and aloe can also cause dark brown urine. If you notice dark brown urine after eating these foods, there's no need to worry, as it should go back to its normal colour after a day or two.
When To Seek Medical Care
Your urine tells you a lot about the health of your body through its colour. This can range from pale yellow urine to dark yellow, brown, red or pink urine. If your urine changes colour, this can be an indication of a health condition that needs treatment.
You should always consult your doctor if you experience any changes in your urine colour. This is especially important if the changes are accompanied by other symptoms, such as pain, fever, or difficulty urinating. If your urine is discolored for more than a couple of days, this could be a sign of a serious underlying health condition, or it could be a side effect of medication. Either way, it is best to seek medical advice due to the potential implications for your health.
This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with a healthcare provider. All statements of opinion represent the writers' judgement at the time of publication and are subject to change. Phoenix and its affiliates provide no express or implied endorsements of third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services.