Foods and medicines can change the color of urine. But a color change also could be a sign of disease.
Regular urine color ranges from clear to pale yellow. But certain things can change the color.
Foods such as beets, blackberries and fava beans can turn urine pink or red, for example. And some medicines can give urine vivid tones, such as orange or greenish-blue.
An unusual urine color also can be a sign of a health problem. For instance, some urinary tract infections can turn urine milky white. Kidney stones, some cancers and other diseases sometimes make urine look red due to blood.
The regular color of urine varies. It depends on how much water you drink. Fluids dilute the yellow pigments in urine. So the more you drink, the clearer your urine looks. When you drink less, the yellow color becomes stronger.
But urine can turn colors far beyond what's typical, including:
See your health care provider if you have:
A change in urine color is often caused by certain medicines, foods or food dyes. Sometimes it's caused by a health problem.
Here are some unusual urine colors along with things that can cause them. Keep in mind that colors can look slightly different to different people. For instance, what looks red to you might look orange to someone else.
Red urine isn't always a sign of a serious health problem. Red or pink urine can be caused by:
Orange urine can be caused by:
Blue or green urine can be caused by:
Medicines. A medicine for depression called amitriptyline can make urine look greenish-blue. So can a treatment for ulcers and acid reflux called cimetidine (Tagamet HB). A water pill called triamterene (Dyrenium) also can turn urine greenish-blue.
Urine can turn green due to a medicine for pain and arthritis symptoms called indomethacin (Indocin, Tivorbex). Green urine also can be caused by propofol (Diprivan), a strong medicine that helps people sleep or relax before surgery.
Brown urine can be caused by:
Urinary tract infections and kidney stones can cause urine to look cloudy or murky.
Your urinary system includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. The urinary system removes waste from the body through urine. The kidneys are located toward the back of the upper abdomen. They filter waste and fluid from the blood and produce urine. Urine moves from the kidneys through narrow tubes to the bladder. These tubes are called the ureters. The bladder stores urine until it's time to urinate. Urine leaves the body through another small tube called the urethra.
A change in urine color that isn't due to foods or medicine could be caused by a health problem. Some things that put you at risk of health problems that can affect urine color are:
Your health care provider will likely ask you about your health and do a physical exam. You also may need tests, including:
Treatment, if needed, will depend on the health problem that causes the change in urine color.
When you're dehydrated, your urine becomes darker in color. If this happens, it might mean you need more fluids. Make sure you drink enough fluids daily to stay hydrated and keep yourself healthy.
You'll likely start by seeing your primary care provider. In some cases, you might be referred to a doctor who specializes in urinary tract disorders, called a urologist.
Here's some information to help you prepare for your appointment.
When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do to prepare. Make a list of:
For urine color, questions to ask include:
Your health care provider is likely to ask you questions, such as: