Red, green, yellow, blue—urine comes in a variety of shades and hues, but peeing different colors of the rainbow is not always healthy. That’s why it is good to know what your urine says about your health.
Sometimes red pee indicates kidney disease or urinary tract infections, but it’s also possible that you recently ate food with a certain pigment. For example, eating beets can result in beeturia—the passing of red or pink urine because of a compound called betanin in the vegetable.
Since pee is such a useful tool of diagnosis, the Cleveland Clinic—a non-profit academic medical center in Ohio—made an infographic about the hue of your liquid excreta. Of course, if you are worried about the color of your urine, the Cleveland Clinic recommends you visit your doctor.
Note: While the infographic says there is no such thing as purple pee, Mayo Clinic disagrees: “Deep purple urine is an identifying characteristic of porphyria, a rare, inherited disorder of red blood cells.”
Below are the ranges of color your urine might be and the corresponding health indication(s) for each color.
Clear/Transparent– By now you’ve heard that drinking eight glasses of water a day and staying hydrated is important for your health. But if your urine looks like water, you’re probably overhydrated, says Jane Miller, MD, associate professor of urology at the University of Washington. You likely aren’t doing yourself any harm, but there’s no data to support the need for drinking eight or more glasses of water a day, Miller says. Plus, you’ll just wind up spending half your day in the bathroom if you’re drinking too much.
Transparent Yellow– You are normal. A transparent yellow is the optimal color you want your urine to be. It indicates that your body is both functioning properly and that your body is hydrated.
Dark Yellow– This is another normal color for your urine. This indicates that your body is functioning properly, but it is an indication your body is slightly dehydrated. This is where you want to start thinking about drinking some more water.
Amber or Honey– Again, this is normal. Your body is still functioning properly, but at this point it has become dehydrated and you should start to intake more fluids to replenish your body. Lighter shades of yellow typically indicate a well-hydrated body.
Orange– We wouldn’t blame you for freaking out if your pee showed up blue in your bowl. But if you’re being treated for a UTI, strange greenish-blue pee could be a side effect. That’s because Uribel, a medication used to treat urinary symptoms and irritations, contains methylene blue, a dye that can show up in your urine.
Likewise, if you’re being treated with Phenazopyridine, a urinary tract analgesic used for UTIs or bladder irritation, your pee could turn orange. This is a normal side effect of the medication, and should clear up when your treatment is finished. In both cases, consult with your doctor if you’re concerned!
Blue or Green– Surprised? As strange as it may seem, this is caused by an excess of calcium or a type of bacterial infection. This tends to happen in people that take vitamin supplements. It causes an excess or small contamination with other substances, and your body will be affected. Be careful with the medications and vitamin supplements that you take. If you notice any changes, ask your doctor.
Syrup or brown ale- If you’re noticing shades of brown in your urine, it could simply be a sign that you are dehydrated. However, it’s worth getting checked out by a doctor because brown urine could also be indicative of a problem in the liver, Shoskes said.
“If there is liver disease or bile, some of the bile salts that the liver should be processing and eliminating through stool are hanging around in blood and ending up in urine— people with severe liver disease can have brown urine,” he said. “That’s something that can be determined rather quickly by a dip stick test of urine.”
If brownish urine is starting to worry you, consult your doctor to get it checked out.
Cloudy or Murky– If this persists it may be the sign of kidney problems or a urinary tract infection and you should consult your healthcare practitioner. However, if this only happens rarely or occasionally, it is not an alarming health condition. The occasional cloudy or murky urine can indicate you have excess protein in your diet or be an indication of the force you are peeing with.
Pink to reddish- See an unexplained red hue in the bowl? That could be a major problem, according to Shoskes.
“In urology our most prominent [warning sign] is red, which, while it can come from food you’ve eaten and other substances you’ve ingested, if it is coming from blood it can often mean a problem.”
If you notice a pink or red tint to your urine – even once – it’s worth seeing a doctor, Shoskes advised.
“There’s a huge list of conditions both benign and malignant that can cause [blood in the urine], anything from medical kidney disease to a UTI, stones in the kidneys or bladder or the more serious cancers of the kidney, bladder, prostate,” he said.
Once a doctor analyzes a urine sample, he will quickly be able to determine if the pink or red tint is actually caused by blood or something else – and can proceed with the appropriate course of action.
Aspects that put you at danger of medical conditions that can cause blood in your urine include the following:
Age. Tumors of the bladder and kidney are more common in older individuals. Men over 50 have a greater probability of a bigger prostate, which can cause blood in your urine.
Your sex. Men are most likely to contract kidney stones or bladder stones leading to blood in their urine. Whereas, ladies are more most likely to call a urinary system infection (more than 50% of females will contract a urinary tract infection at some point in their life), which can cause blood in their urine.
Family history. A family history of kidney illness or kidney stones makes it more most likely that you’ll establish these problems. Both can trigger blood in the urine.
Strenuous workout. Runners are most at risk, however anyone who exercises strongly can have urinary bleeding.