Understanding the Color of Your Urine

February 19,2020 |
understanding color of urine

Understanding the Color of Your Urine

Going to the bathroom and seeing colorful urine can be alarming, especially if it’s never happened before. While urine color can indicate a problem, it can also be reflective of foods you eat or medications you’re taking. However, the color of your urine is important and can tell you when something is wrong or when you need to drink more water. As a general rule of thumb, if you find the color of your urine alarming, it’s a good idea to call your urologist. When it comes to your health, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about understanding the color of your urine.

In addition to the color of your urine, the frequency in which you urinate should be monitored. While everyone tends to have different bathroom habits, if you’re hydrated and avoiding excessive stimulants like coffee, you’ll likely need to empty your bladder about eight times a day.1 If you feel like you’re urinating too frequently, or not enough, contact your urologist. Certain medications, illnesses, and side effects can have an impact on the frequency of your urination and could indicate a sign that something is wrong. For example, urology diseases like kidney disease, UTI, enlarged prostates, overactive bladder, and more have a direct affect on the frequency of your urination in one way or another.1


Deciphering the Color of Your Urine

Sometimes, you go to use the bathroom and are surprised to see a vibrant color end up in the bowl. Even if it’s not vibrant, a dark urine color is alarming. Regardless of what happens, it’s a good idea to understand how to decipher the color of your urine. Here are some of the most common color changes that could occur and what they mean.

Clear or Transparent Urine

If you go to use the bathroom and your urine is 100% clear or transparent, it means that you’re drinking too much water. Yes, this is a thing and yes, it can be dangerous. Drinking too much water can strip your body of electrolyetes,3 which are essential nutrients that your body needs to function. Don’t panic if you find your urine is clear or transparent. It’s an easy fix that simply requires you to cut back on a glass or two of water.

Pale Straw Color to Transparent Yellow

This is a healthy urine color that indicates you’re well hydrated. You should aim to drink enough fluids consistently throughout the day so that your urine is always a pale straw or transparent yellow color.

Dark Yellow to Amber

More often than not, dark yellow urine is an indication of severe dehydration. You need to drink more water so that your urine consists of a lower concentration of waste products.

Dark Brown

If your urine is a dark red color, it may appear brown or black. Urine can also be brown when hemoglobin builds up too much and breakdown into bilirubin.3 If you notice any brown or black colors, call your doctor immediately. Dark brown urine could be an in indication of liver diseases, hemolytic anemia, or a blocked bile duct.3


If your urine is orange, there are a number of underlying problems that may be occurring. An excess of vitamin B2 in your urine or certain antibiotics could cause orange urine. If you’re extremely dehydrated, your urine may appear an orangish color. Finally, orange urine could indicate that there is a problem with your liver or bile duct so you should schedule a visit with your urologist to confirm.1

Pink to Reddish

Pink to reddish urine suggests that there is blood in your urine—also known as hematuria.3 This can be a fairly serious condition and you will need to see a doctor to determine the underlying cause. In some cases, strenuous exercise causes myoglobin to release from muscle cells and can turn your urine red.3 In other cases, eating an excessive amount of beets can turn your urine red due to the pigmentation of the food. Unless you’ve recently eaten a lot of beets or worked out too strenuously, it’s a good idea to call your urologist about pink to reddish urine.

Blue or Green

While this might sound odd, urine can turn blue or green. Usually this is because of food colorings or dyes. In rare instances, blue or green urine could indicate the bacterial infection pseudomonas aeruginosa.4

Cloudy or Milky

Cloudy or milky urine is usually a sign that you have a urinary tract infection.4 In other cases, it could be an indication of chronic disease, so seeing your doctor is highly recommended. Cloudy or milky urine could also be a result from eating an excess of certain minerals or proteins.

Foaming or Fizzling

Pneumaturia is when your urine looks like it’s foaming or fizzling and is a symptom of very serious health conditions like Crohn’s disease or diverticulitis.4 If you notice any foaming or fizzling in your urine, see your doctor immediately.


What About Smell?

The smell of your urine can also give you some insight as to underlying problems. Take note if you smell anything strong or unusually foul and contact your doctor with any severe changes in urine smell. It’s also important to remember that certain foods will affect the smell of your urine. For example, eating a large amount of asparagus will inevitably lead to a smelly bathroom trip. Similarly, certain vitamins and minerals can change the smell of your urine. However, if you haven’t eaten any pungent foods or any of the vitamins that have a tendency to change the smell of your urine, schedule an appointment with your doctor to get a urinalysis and ensure that everything is as it should be.

Medications That Affect Urine Color

There are a few medications that are known to change the color of your urine. If you’re taking these medications and notice a substantial change, you’re probably all right—but it never hurts to call your doctor to be sure. If you notice a change in your urine to any of these colors but aren’t taking any new medications, call your doctor or urologist as they could indicate a more serious problem.

Drugs that cause your urine to turn a reddish orange color include the following:2

  • Phenazopyridine (Pyridium)
  • Laxatives containing senna

    Drugs that cause your urine to turn orange include the following:2

  • Sulfasalazine (Azulfidine)
  • Phenazopyridine
  • Certain laxatives
  • Certain chemotherapy drugs


    Drugs that cause your urine to turn blue or green include the following:2

  • Amitriptyline
  • Indomethacin (Indocin, Tivorbex)
  • Anesthetic Propofol (Diprivan)

As we mentioned, call your doctor if you notice a sudden change in urine color and aren’t taking any of the above medications.

When to See a Urologist 

If you notice a drastic change in the color or smell of your urine that doesn’t get better as you re-hydrate, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with your urologist. Similarly, if you notice any blood in your urine it’s very important to see a doctor as soon as possible, as blood in urine is a very, very serious condition and needs to be addressed. If your urine has an orange hue, it could be an indication of further problems so seeing a doctor is important to understand the underlying cause. More often than not, changes in urine color and smell result from something that you ate, but in some cases it can be serious. If you have any concerns, it’s always better to see a doctor and get a proper medical diagnosis.


Deciphering the color of your urine might seem like an odd way to better understand your health, but it works. Make sure to keep an eye out for any changes in urine color that don’t seem natural and when in doubt, call your urologist. Certain changes in urine color can indicate very serious urological problems and should be addressed sooner rather than later to ensure that more serious conditions don’t develop. After your urologist visit, if you need any urological supplies or additional educational resources, visit our educational support page or our product selection guide. Byram Healthcare is proud to offer full-service urological care and we have all the high quality urological supplies that you need. If you need to order any urological supplies, all of your orders can be discreetly delivered to your home, at any time of the day. If you have any urological questions or need personalized, confidential services, our teams of knowledgeable urological customer service specialists are here to help.