It may be strange to take a look at the business you do in the bathroom, but it’s a habit that can prove to be very helpful. Just like your stool can reveal a lot about your digestive system, your pee gives insight on how your kidneys are doing.
Keeping track of the color and consistency of your urine helps you stay hydrated throughout the day and can be an early warning sign that something in your body just isn’t right. Here is a guide to pee color variations to look out for (1,2)!
What Your Pee Color Means
From pink to orange and green, doctors have seen it all!
Drinking enough water is important to help your kidneys filter toxins. However, too much water can lead to your body expelling too much sodium, causing hyponatremia.
Symptoms of overhydration include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Changes in mental state (confusion or disorientation)
Symptoms of hyponatremia include:
- Muscle weakness, spasms or cramps
2. Light Yellow
Light yellow is the ideal color for urine and is a sure sign that you’re well hydrated. If your urine is this color, keep up your good habits.
3. Medium Yellow
Medium yellow is normal after a long workout or first thing in the morning. However, it’s a sign that you need to drink up to avoid serious dehydration.
Bubbles in urine that disappear within seconds are not usually significant. However, if the bubbles stay then it is a sign of protein leaking through the kidney filtering mechanism and ending up in your urine.
This can be either due to kidney disease, an infection or eating too much protein. (3)
5. Murky/Cloudy Urine
Tiny amounts of blood in the urine can make it appear slightly murky (4). If it’s accompanied by a burning sensation and painful urination, cloudiness can be an indication of the presence of the bacteria that causes a bladder infection or a UTI.
Alternatively, it can also indicate kidney stones but is completely normal during pregnancy. Pregnant women produce higher amounts of vaginal discharge, which gets mixed with urine when they go to the washroom.
6. Amber- Or Honey-Colored
Yellow urine can indicate dehydration, but can also be caused by supplements like Vitamin B12, which turn you urine bright yellow.
If you notice that your urine is often amber-colored, consciously try to drink more water to help your body get rid of waste more effectively.
Orange urine can a sign of dehydration or may simply be a case of ingesting food coloring. However, it can also indicate a problem in your liver or bile duct, which is also indicated by light-colored stool.
9. Brown or Dark Amber
Urine that resembles coca-cola can occur from ingesting fava beans, rhubarb or aloe. Liver and kidney disorders, Urinary Tract Infections and extreme muscle injury are some of the other causes of this strange urine. (5)
Certain medications can also cause this color, like antimalarial drugs chloroquine and primaquine, the antibiotics metronidazole (Flagyl) and nitrofurantoin, laxatives containing cascara or senna, and methocarbamol — a muscle relaxant.
Beets, blackberries or rhubarbs can give you reddish stool and urine. It can indicate a urinary tract infection, kidney diseases, and even prostate problems or a side effect of chemotherapy drugs, laxatives, and tuberculosis antibiotics.
11. Dark Pink/Red
This color indicates that there’s a considerable amount of blood in your urine. It can be a sign of injury or disease in kidneys, ureters, bladder, or urethra (6).
Similarly, really dark pink urine is a sure sign of a cancer of the urinary tract.
Blue or green urine is typically caused by artificial food coloring or the dyes used in bladder and kidney function tests. In rare cases, it can be a sign of “hypercalcemia,” a genetic condition, or of a bacterial infection. (7)
A few second’s glance is a small price to pay for the peace of mind that your body is healthy and well. Your body is a great communicator, all you have to do is listen.