What causes green urine?

Causes of true green urine are uncommon. Food dyes and additives are the most common cause. With certain infections, the urine may acquire a cloudy, greenish tint, or pus that has a greenish color may be present in the urine.

Causes of green urine

Green urine may be caused by conditions including:

  • Certain medications, including amitriptyline (Elavil, Endep), doxorubicin (cancer chemotherapeutic drug), propofol, methylene blue, or indomethacin (Indocin)
  • Cystitis (bladder infection)
  • Diagnostic media (fluorescein)
  • Food dye that is blue or green color or artificial coloring in medications
  • Foods, such as asparagus, with green pigments
  • Prostatitis (prostate infection)
  • Pyelonephritis (kidney infection)

Questions for diagnosing the cause of green urine

To diagnose your condition, your doctor or licensed health care practitioner will ask you several questions related to your green urine including:

  • When did you first notice green urine?
  • Are you urinating more or less frequently?
  • Does your urine have an odor?
  • Do you have any other symptoms?
  • Have you had any recent surgical or diagnostic procedures?
  • Is there blood in your urine?
  • Is your urine always this color?
  • What medications are you taking?

What are the potential complications of green urine?

Because green urine can be due to serious diseases, failure to seek treatment can result in serious complications that may cause permanent damage or may even be life threatening. Once the underlying cause is diagnosed, it is important for you to follow the treatment plan that you and your health care professional design specifically for you to reduce the risk of potential complications including:

  • Kidney damage
  • Sepsis (life-threatening bacterial blood infection)
  • Spread of infection


  1. Urine - abnormal color. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003139.htm.
  2. Urinary tract infection - adults. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000521.htm.
  3. Leclercq P, Loly C, Delanaye P, et al. Green urine. Lancet 2009; 373:1462.

What is green urine?

Green urine is urine that is green in color, though it also may be greenish-brown or greenish-yellow, and it may be cloudy or clear. A change in urine color may be temporary, or it may be persistent. The duration and course of green urine can vary widely, depending on the cause.

There are several possible causes of green urine. Urinary tract infection is the most common, and the u... Read more about green urineintroduction


What other symptoms might occur with green urine?

Green urine may accompany other symptoms, which will vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms that frequently affect the urinary tract may also involve other body systems.

Urinary symptoms that may occur along with green urine

Green urine may accompany other symptoms affecting the urinary system including:

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Kidneys and the Urinary System

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