As one of the four routes by which substances normally exit the body (the others being feces, breath and sweat), urine has a uniquely valuable role in medicine: It holds clues not just to what people eat and drink, but also to how well their bodies are functioning. The search for these telltale signs is why doctors routinely request urine samples from patients, whether they seem healthy or are obviously sick.
The color, clarity and other physical characteristics of urine, as well as substances dissolved in it, can provide clues to a wide range of problems, including infections, inherited metabolic disorders, kidney disease, bladder cancer, diabetes, substance abuse, exposure to toxins, inadequate or excessive fluid intake and, as many competing athletes know all too well, the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Here are some common urine colours and what it says about your health :
- Transparent – You are more than hydrated enough.
- Pale Straw – You are healthy and well-hydrated.
- Transparent Yellow – This colour is normal.
- Dark Yellow – You are fine, but might need to hydrate soon.
- Amber/Honey – You are dehydrated; drink some water.
- Syrup/Brown – Sign of potential live disease or severe dehydration. Drink water and call a doctor if your urine stays this colour.
- Orange – Potential dehydration of live/bile duct issue. Contact a doctor. It could also be food dye.
- Blue/Green – Likely caused by food dye. It could be an effect of medication, or a sign of bacterial infection or a rare genetic disease. Contact a doctor if it persists.
- Pink/Reddish – Occurs if you recently ate beets, blueberries, or rhubarb. If not, contact your doctor. It may be a sign of infection, blood, prostate problems, or kidney disease.
- Foamy/Fizzy – Could be a sign of kidney issues or excess protein. Contact doctor if happens regularly.
- Other Colours – Could be caused by dye, medications, laxatives, or chemo drugs. If you are unsure, contact a doctor.