What are urine color changes?

Healthy urine is generally clear and light yellow in color. The yellow is caused by urochrome pigments in the urine – a normal waste product. Urine color changes may occur due to a variety of causes, some of which are not harmful. For example, eating certain foods, such as beets, can temporarily change the color of urine to red or pink. Reduced fluid intake leads to concentrated urine, yielding a deeper shade of yellow. Urine may also appear almost colorless if you drink a large amount of water.

Certain medications and vitamins can also discolor the urine. For example, Pyridium, a commonly prescribed medication for the pain of a urinary tract infection, colors the urine bright orange. Intravenous fluorescein, a diagnostic solution frequently used in ophthalmology, will give urine a bright green color.

Urine color changes can also be a symptom of an underlying disease, disorder or condition, such as dehydration, urinary tract infection, and kidney trauma or injury. Urine color and clarity can also change due to diseases and conditions, such as diabetes and preeclampsia, which cause the urine to become cloudy due to the release of protein in the urine.

Urine color changes can occur in all age groups and populations, and they may or may not occur with additional symptoms, such as a foul urine odor, burning or pain with urination, and frequent urination.

In some cases, urine color changes can be due to serious or life-threatening underlying diseases, such as kidney stones, severe dehydration, and urosepsis. Seek prompt medical care if you have an unexplained or persistent change in the color of your urine. Timely diagnosis and treatment of the underlying cause reduces the risk of serious or life-threatening complications, such as kidney infection (pyelonephritis).

Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you have urine color changes with severe abdominal or flank pain, or a change in consciousness or alertness.


What other symptoms might occur with urine color changes?

Urine color changes may be accompanied by other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms can be due to problems in the urinary tract (kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra), the reproductive system, the endocrine system, the digestive system, cardiovascular system, and other organs and systems of the body.

Urinary tract symptoms... Read more about urine color changessymptoms


What causes urine color changes?

Urine color changes can be caused by conditions that are not harmful, such as eating certain foods. Urine color changes can also be a side effect of certain medications.

Urine color changes can be a symptom of an infection, inflammation or condition of the urinary tract (kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra) or the reproductive organs. Blood in the urine (hematuria) is a common s... Read more about urine color changescauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 20, 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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