Changes in the color of urine can help guide us towards certain health problems. When they are noticeable or persistent, it is best to see a doctor. What else should you know?

The color of urine is a characteristic that can help determine if something is not quite right in the body. Under normal conditions, urine contains a pigment known as urobilin, which gives it its light yellow, almost transparent hue.

However, in the face of problems such as dehydration, some diseases or the consumption of certain foods, this color may change, either due to a darker hue or reddish, bluish or brown colors. What can each color tell?

The color of urine and its meaning.

Urology expert doctor Bilal Kaaki explains through UnityPoint Health that when the body is healthy, urine is pale yellow or amber. According to the professional, this tonality can be lighter or darker depending on the level of hydration of each one.

However, when the color and characteristics of the urine present other characteristics, there may be other causes. While some correspond to the consumption of certain foods, others can be the initial sign of a disease. Therefore, it is a symptom that should not go unnoticed, especially when it becomes recurrent.

Colorless or clear urine.

When the urine is colorless, almost transparent, it may be that the person has increased their water consumption. To some extent, it is normal. However, in excessive amounts, too much water can be harmful, as a case published in BMJ Case Reports exposes.

Therefore, the ideal is to drink the appropriate amount of water, which is usually two liters on average. Of course, these needs may vary in each person, depending on their age, health, habits, among others. When in doubt, it is better to consult your doctor.

Yellow or amber urine.

The color ranging from yellow to amber is usually considered normal in most cases. This hue occurs as a product of bilirubin metabolism, which, in turn, is produced by the degradation of hemoglobin, that is, the protein that allows oxygen transport to red blood cells.

Consistent with information from the Mayo Clinic, in most cases, whether the color is light or dark yellow will depend on how dilute the pigment is. If it is an amber yellow that lasts for days, it may be a sign of severe dehydration. Also, some types of B vitamins in the bloodstream make urine look neon yellow.

Red urine.

Consuming some foods such as beets or blueberries can produce reddish urine. However, when these foods have not been ingested, the cause may correspond to hematuria, that is, the presence of blood in the urine. 

In the latter case, it is essential to consult a doctor, since it can be the clinical manifestation of serious health problems, such as an enlarged prostate, kidney diseases, tumors or infections.

Orange urine.

There are some types of medications that can cause a change in the color of your urine. Specifically, they produce an orange hue, a product of their components. These medications usually include the following:

  • The anti-inflammatory sulfasalazine (Azulfidine).
  • Phenazopyridine (Pyridium).
  • The antibiotic rifampin.
  • Some laxatives.
  • Drug chemotherapy.

Now, there is the possibility that orange urine appears due to dehydration or problems in the liver and bile ducts. Also, it is sometimes the result of excessive consumption of carrots, rhubarb or beets.

Blue or green urine.

According to a post in the Annals of Laboratory Medicine, blue or green urine can be caused by a blue tint, such as methylene blue, which has weak antiseptic properties and is a component of several medications. This is often not a problem and is harmless.

However, if it is persistent or there are no reasons for it to be associated with the above, it is better to visit the doctor. The green or bluish color of the urine can be caused by a rare genetic condition (hypercalcemia).

Effervescent or foaming urine.

If it is occasional, there is no problem. If it persists, it may signify excess protein in the diet or proteinuria, as shown in a study published in the Chonnam Medical Journal. As in the previous cases, it is best to consult with the specialist.

When to consult the doctor?

If the color of the urine matches the following cases, it is best to consult the doctor as quickly as possible:

  • The color of the urine is abnormal and persists for several days.
  • Urine is red or has blood pigments.
  • If your urine is dark brown, pinkish, red, or smoky brown and is not due to food or medicine.
  • Urine also has a very thick or bubbly texture. This could mean a problem with your kidneys.
  • The odors it gives off are very strong over a long period of time. 

Observe changes in urine color.

Knowing how to recognize abnormalities in the urine is decisive when suspecting a health problem. Therefore, one must be attentive to any changes and, above all, consult a doctor when relevant alterations are observed. 


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