To pee or not to pee, that is the question. We usually urinate around 800-2000 ml a day, and don’t think twice about it. But did you know that just by looking at your urine, you can gain insights about your health? Read on to avoid long term health complications!

What does the colour of your urine mean for your overall health?

Dr. Renuka Dangare is a practicing physician with work experience in India and United States. She has largely worked in obstetrics and gynaecology. Outside of work, Renuka loves baking and is a mom to a baby and two cats.

This article has been written by Debayani Bose with clinical inputs from Dr. Renuka Dangare.

 

Do you have bladder or dehydration issues? Your urine is 95% water. The remaining 5% is a complex of different ingredients that includes sodium, chloride, urea and creatinine. The most common colour of urine in our bladder is yellow. Normal urine is clear light yellow in colour and it becomes dark yellow when you’re not hydrated enough. 

When you’re on medication, some harmless colour changes can occur, which is not indicative of any medical condition. You should be concerned about the colour changes when it is accompanied by some warning signs like blood in urine, clay-colored stools or systemic signs such as breathlessness, puffy eyes or swelling in your feet.

Urine determines how our body gets rid of stuff it doesn’t need. Many factors determine the colour of the urine from what we eat, the medicines we take and how much we drink.

Keeping a track of the colour of our urine is one of the simplest ways we can monitor our health on a daily basis. It can help us identify any minor health issue before it takes a dangerous turn. In other words, you are the best judge of what your normal urine looks like.

The following urine colour chart shows the colour of the urine and what it signifies from a health perspective.

Urine Colour Chart

Colour

Indication

Clear 

Clear Urine is healthy urine and is indicative that your water intake is healthy or slightly higher than normal. If you are also experiencing symptoms of sudden increased thirst or hunger and increased night time awakenings to pee, it may be a sign of diabetes and you will need to be evaluated.

Yellowish or Amber

Typical, healthy urine

Red/Pink

Consumption of red foods like beets or food containing dyes can add a red hue to urine. Pink or Red urine can also be suggestive of an infection or injury to the urinary tract in the form of an obstruction or a stone.

Orange 

It could be caused due to dehydration. However, when combined with light coloured stool it is indicative that the liver is not functioning as well as it should.

Blue or Green 

Most commonly, these colors are a result of medication. In rare cases, it may be an indication of bacterial infection. It may also be linked to something you ate

Dark Brown

It may be caused by dehydration; it could be diet-related or side effect of certain medications or liver disease(Clay colored stool)

Cloudy

It may indicate a urinary tract infection or a symptom of chronic disease or kidney condition. Cloudy urine with foam can be an indication of a serious disease condition. Cloudy urine usually indicates the presence of protein in urine.

When visiting the doctor these are the usual questions that a physician asks to help you understand the health of your urine and what it signifies.

Frequently Asked Questions to understand the health of your urine

What colour is your urine?

Do you see blood or blood clots in your urine?

Does it happen all the time or only sometimes?

Do you notice an unusual odour to your urine?

Are you urinating more or less frequently than usual?

Do you have pain while urinating?

Has your appetite changed?

Do you seem to be more or less thirsty than usual?

Have you had previous urinary problems?

Do you have allergies?

 

Did you know?

An 8-point urine colour scale was developed by Pr. Lawrence Armstrong, and validated for hydration monitoring in healthy adults, children and pregnant and breastfeeding women?

Risk factors:

Discoloured urine may be due to food or medication that one consumes and may be caused by a medical condition that affects the urine colour.

When should one meet a doctor?

It is important to check with your physician if – 

  1. You notice frank blood or clots in your urine 
  2. You are having swollen ankles and swelling under the eyes in the morning.
  3. You are pregnant and are experiencing any new symptoms 
  4. You have already been diagnosed with a kidney disease
  5. You have itching, clay colored pasty stools and nausea.
  6. You have a family history of kidney or bladder cancer or have worked with aniline dyes in a professional setting,

Diagnosis:

  • Urine analysis: In a urine analysis test, your physician will typically look for red blood cells, high levels of protein and excreted minerals in the urine that may be an indication of urinary tract infections.
  • Blood tests: Blood tests can measure the level of creatinine and blood urea nitrogen. Your physician might also check your blood sample for elevated levels of liver enzymes and for checking conditions such as diabetes.

In most of the cases, abnormal urine colours can result from dehydration or a side-effect of the medications one is taking. The urine should get back to its natural colour within two to three days after you notice the unusual colour. 

Always keep yourself well-hydrated and stay healthy!

To know more on the sexual and reproductive health of women, visit https://www.proactiveforher.com/

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as a substitute for medical advice or treatment.

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