What Does the Colour of Your Urine Mean?

What Does the Colour of Your Urine Mean?

  The colour of healthy urine ranges from pale yellow to deep amber, dependant on the dilution or concentration and a pigment called urochrome. Pigments foods and medications can also change your urine colour eg beets, berries and fava beans. Many medications give urine more vivid tones of red, yellow or greenish blue.

Unusual colours can also indicate disease, such as porphyria, a red blood cell disorder which results in deep red to brown urine.

The concentration of urine will depend on how much you drink, and of course other factors come into hydration levels such as climate, how much you sweat etc.  The more you drink, the clearer your urine will be and when you drink less, the colour will become darker.

Urine, like poo, can ball colours of the rainbow - red, blue, green, dark brown and cloudy white.

Urine colours that aren’t due to foods or medications may be due to a medical condition particularly if you have one of the following risk factors:-

  • AGE - bladder and kidney tumours can cause blood in the urine and are more common in older people. Men over 50 may also have urinary blood due to an enlarged prostate gland
  • .FAMILY HISTORY - family history of kidney disease or kidney stones increasing the chance of developing these problems.
  • STRENUOUS EXERCISE – particularly long distance runners but anyone who exercises vigorously

You must always consult with your GP is your urine is bloody urine, especially if there is also pain or burning on urination, as this could be a sign of a urine infection, pyelonephritis or kidney stones. If there is no pain but noticeable blood in the urine this could indicate cancer.


Red urine may not be serious and can be caused by:-

BLOOD – haematuria (blood in urine) may be due to urinary tract infections, an enlarged prostate, cancerous and noncancerous tumours, kidney cysts, long-distance running, and kidney or bladder stonesFOOD - Beets, blackberries and rhubarb can turn urine red or pink

MEDICATION - Rifampin, an antibiotic used to treat tuberculosis, phenazopyridine (Pyridium), which numbs urinary tract discomfort, and laxatives containing senna.


MEDICATION - anti-inflammatory drug sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), phenazopyridine (Pyridium), some laxatives containing senna and certain chemotherapy drugs

MEDICAL CONDITIONS - liver or bile duct issues, especially when combined with pale poo and yellow skin or eyesDEHYDRATION - can concentrate the urine, making it much deeper in colour


DYES - Some food dyes can cause green urine. Also dyes used for some kidney and bladder function tests can turn urine blue, as well as methylene blue which is used for TVT surgery (Tension free vaginal tape)

MEDICATIONS - amitriptyline, indomethacin and propofol

MEDICAL CONDITIONS - Familial benign hypercalcemia, sometimes called blue diaper syndrome because infants who inherit the disorder have blue urine. Green urine sometimes occurs during urinary tract infections caused by pseudomonas bacteria.


FOOD - large amounts of fava beans, rhubarb or aloe can cause dark brown urine

MEDICATIONS - antimalarial drugs chloroquine and primaquine, the antibiotics metronidazole (Flagyl) and nitrofurantoin (Furadantin), laxatives containing cascara or senna, and methocarbamol — a muscle relaxant.

MEDICAL CONDITIONS - Some liver and kidney disorders and urinary tract infections can turn urine dark brown

SEVERE DEHYDRATION - usually due to renal failure


Urinary tract infections and kidney stones can cause urine to appear cloudy or murky.