Our friends and family can help point out changes in our behavior or new physical symptoms. For the most part, though, we’re the only ones who know what our urine color looks like.
Sometimes, changes from our normal yellowish color can be benign. These abnormal colors might come from the foods we eat or medications we take, so if you feel healthy otherwise they probably won’t cause concern.
Yet sometimes a change in your urine color or your urination schedule can be your body’s way of signaling a more serious health problem. If you notice any changes in your urine, your safest bet is to contact a doctor immediately.
One way to determine if your orange-colored urine is harmless is to examine your recent health habits. Have you been drinking enough water? If not, orange could indicate dehydration. An excess of carotene in your diet might also cause this shade of urine. But if you haven’t had any carrots recently, this might be a symptom of another health condition.
Orange-colored urine might indicate a problem with your liver, including “cholestasis,” or a bile blockage, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Artificial dyes in your food might explain blue-colored urine, according to MedlinePlus, a website produced by the National Institute of Health. Some medicines also have ingredients that can cause a harmless blue urine, especially methylene blue.
There’s a rare hereditary metabolic disease prominent in infants called “blue diaper syndrome,” or else known as “Drummond’s syndrome” and “hypercalcemia.” UC San Diego Health writes that this disease is characterized by incomplete intestinal breakdown of tryptophan, a dietary nutrient.
Green urine could be symptomatic of some of the blue urine causes, since the yellow of urine interacts with blue. Green urine could result from certain medications without any other serious effects. You might have also heard that eating too much asparagus turns urine into a greenish hue.
However, according to a study called “Green urine: A cause for concern?” in the Journal of Anaesthesiology Clinical Pharmacology, this shade of urine could be a symptom of a urinary tract infection.
Pink, red, or brown urine
Blueberries, blackberries, rhubarb, fava beans, aloe, beets and other common foods tend to affect urine color on the pink-to-reddish-brown spectrum. Beets can especially cause red urine if its consumption is coupled with an iron deficiency in certain individuals, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
The Harvard Medical School suggests strenuous exercise may cause blood in your urine if your bladder is jostled. Furthermore, aerobic exercise might cause red urine if it causes the breakdown of red blood cells.
Blood in the urine, or “hematuria,” can have a number of causes including menstruation, endometriosis, and injury. Red urine might also be symptomatic of anemia (not enough healthy blood cells), blood poisoning, kidney stones, or tumors.
Not being able to urinate as regularly as you normally do may happen because of increased vomiting, diarrhea, or lack of fluid intake. While those first two causes are easy to remember, tracking your fluid intake could be more difficult. Increased exercise or environmental heat could affect how much water you need to drink.
Doctors can determine the cause of this phenomenon, known as “oliguria,” by performing tests like a urinalysis, according to myVMC (an Australian medical information website written by medical professionals). Oliguria could also be a symptom of other serious health conditions, such as end-stage kidney disease or hypovolemic shock (caused by extreme blood or fluid loss).
New urine patterns can mean any number of bodily changes. Symptoms appear differently depending on the individual, so what might seem alarming to one person may be innocuous to another. The only way to know for sure what may be happening is to consult a doctor.