Urine color

All information about urine color

At a glance

The color of the urine can be influenced by various factors.

Fluid balance, medications and various foods can affect the urine color.

The color can also be an indication of various diseases.

Normally, the urine should be light yellow or yellow.

Urine gets its yellow color from bile dyes. It consists of 95 percent water.

For more information

So often the color depends on how much was drunk or whether certain coloring foods were consumed. However, if a discoloration lasts longer, it is important to check with a doctor.

 

yellow:

The normal color of healthy urine is light yellow to golden. Variations in colour depend on the supply of liquid. The more a person drinks, the brighter the urine. The coloration of the urine is caused by urobilin, a degradation product of the bile dye bilirubin.

 

orange:

If the liquid supply is too low, the urine can turn orange. However, this also happens as a harmless side effect of drugs such as isoniazid or phenazopyridine. Urinary tract infections with Gram-negative bacteria can also lead to orange urine.

 

red:

Red urine can be caused by blood or blood components, but also by medication or heavily colouring foods. For clarification, a test should be carried out for hemoglobin (blood dye) or erythrocytes (red blood cells). If there is actually blood in the urine, there are various possible causes. Diseases or injuries to the kidneys, bladder or urinary tract, haematological diseases up to contamination with menstrual blood.

If the urine has a dark red color, various diseases such as sickle cell anemia, thalassemia or glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (favism) can be the cause. They lead to hemolytic anemia, in which the urine has a deep red color. Hemolytic anemia is all forms of anemia in which red blood cells do not reach their normal lifespan.

Other harmless triggers of reddish staining are drugs (e.g. warfarin, rifampicin or deferoxamine) or foods such as carrots, blackberries or beetroot.

 

Brown to black:

Brown to black urine can be caused by drugs with the active ingredients L-Dopa or alpha-methyldopa. In rare cases, the metabolic disease alkaptonuria as well as a certain form of skin cancer (malignant melanoma) in the advanced stage can be the cause of brown to black urine. An overdose of paracetamol can also cause brown urine, as the metabolite p-aminophenol accumulates and the urine turns brown.

 

Blue or green:

Very rarely the urine turns blue or green. Here, various active pharmaceutical ingredients such as indometacin, mitoxantrone, amitriptyline or propofol as well as multivitamin preparations may be the cause, rare genetic diseases or infections.

 

Urine cloudy:

Healthy urine is clear. If it is cloudy or white streaks are recognizable, there may be an infection or disease of the urinary tract. Foamy urine can be an indication of protein in the urine. The cause should definitely be clarified by a doctor.

Sources

  • Roche Diagnostics Deutschland GmbH (2014): Kompendium der Urinanalyse. Urinteststreifen und Mikroskopie, 1-196
  • Abu-Tair, M. (2010): Urindiagnostik im klinischen Alltag. Medizinische Klinik, 105(5), 351-358
  • Raymond, J.R. & Yarger, W.E. (1988): Abnormal urine color: differential diagnosis. South Med J, 81(7), 837-41
  • Simerville, J.A. et al. (2005): Maxted W.C., Pahira J.J. Urinalysis: a comprehensive review. Am Fam Physician, 71(6), 1153-62
  • Coliquio (2018): Die Farben des Urins und ihre Bedeutung, URL: https://www.coliquio.de/wissen/Praxis-Wissen-kompakt-100/Farben-des-Urins-100, Abgerufen am 18.06.2019
  • Harv Womens Health Watch (2018): Urine color and odor changes. Many things can alter the look and smell of your urine. When should you be concerned?, URL: https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/urine-color-and-odor-changes, Retrieved 18.06.2019
Status of information: Autumn 2019