Urine plays an integral part of the body as it can be used to tell about one’s general health based on its color and smell. Urine is formed in the kidneys through filtration of blood, where it will be eventually passed out from the bladder. Urine is mainly composed of water (95%), urea (5%) and waste products. It also contains the breakdown products from a range of food, drinks, drugs that one consumes.
Ideally, urine would be in pale yellow to deep yellow color. This is because urine naturally carries a yellow pigment substance called urobilin or urochrome. When you are hydrated, your urine will look pale yellow and clear. The darker the urine, the more concentrated it is, and this indicates that you are more dehydrated. Sometimes, the substances you consume such as food, drinks and medications can carry color pigments to your digestive tract and temporarily change the color of urine as well.
Nevertheless, changes in urine color or unusual urine color can often be a concern and warning sign of health conditions that you may need to address.
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This indicates you may be overhydrated and you may consider cutting down drinking. Overhydration can cause water intoxication, which is when the salts and electrolytes in your body are being overly diluted. It is important to maintain an optimal level of electrolytes such as sodium and potassium in order to maintain body functions. If the electrolyte drops to a dangerously low level, it can be fatal.
Pale yellow is an indicator of good hydration of the body. Pale to deep yellow is also typically considered as the normal urine color. However, if your urine is of a darker shade of yellow, this may be signs of dehydration and it is better for you to drink more fluids so that the urine will not be so concentrated.
If your urine looks orange, it can be due to certain medications like high doses of vitamin B called riboflavin, a treatment used in urinary tract infection called phenazopyridine, antibiotics such as rifampicin, isoniazid. Orange urine may also be a potential indicator of certain diseases associated with the liver or bile duct such as jaundice.
Pink to reddish urine may look alarming, but in some cases it can be harmless. Some food like beets, blueberries, blackberries and rhubarb contain deep pink pigments that can cause the urine to look red. However, if you have not taken any of the similar foods mentioned above, having a pink or red urine can be a health concern. Some medical conditions or diseases can cause blood to appear in urine, such as urinary tract infections, kidney stones, cancers of kidney or bladder, enlargement of prostate caused by benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), prostate cancer. Make sure to seek consultation with healthcare professionals if you have concerns about this in order to have early detection and treatment.
Having a dark brown urine is often an indicator of being severely dehydrated. However, in some cases, it can result from certain liver diseases such as hepatitis (liver inflammation), cirrhosis (liver cancer), blockage of bile duct. All these conditions can potentially cause bilirubin, which is a breakdown product of red blood cells, to build-up in the blood. Excess bilirubin can get into the urine and hence causes the urine to look brownish. Besides, muscle injury due to strenuous exercise can also lead to dark brown urine.
This is often caused by the food dyes that you consume. For example, methylene blue, which is a dye commonly used in diagnostic tests. Some medications can also cause greenish to bluish urine such as amitriptyline, indomethacin, propofol. A urinary tract infection caused by the bacteria pseudomonas aeruginosa can cause the urine to turn greenish as well. A rare disorder known as blue diaper syndrome, which is an inborn metabolic disorder, can cause unusual blue stains on diapers.
Cloudy urine often results from urinary tract infections and kidney problems. Cloudy urine with foam or bubbles can be a sign of some serious medical conditions such as Crohn’s disease and diverticulitis.
Urine color can tell a lot about your health. If you notice any unusual or sudden changes in your urine, make sure to seek medical advice from healthcare professionals promptly.
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