Urine varies in appearance, depending principally upon a body’s level of hydration, as well as other factors. Normal urine is a transparent solution ranging from colorless to amber but is usually a pale yellow. In the urine of a healthy individual the color comes primarily from the presence of urobilin. Urobilin in turn is a final waste product resulting from the breakdown of heme from hemoglobin during the destruction of aging blood cells.
- Colorless urine indicates over-hydration, generally preferable to dehydration (though it can remove essential salts from the body). Colorless urine in drug tests can suggest an attempt to avoid detection of illicit drugs in the bloodstream through over-hydration.
- Yellow/gold – the most typical urine color, indicative of a healthy urinary tract. Yellow will intensify depending on hydration, some B vitamins cause bright yellow urine
- Pale straw to amber or honey – lighter shades of yellow indicate that you are probably well hydrated, but as the color darkens, it could be a sign you need to refuel with fluids.
- Yellowing or light orange may be caused by removal of excess B vitamins from the bloodstream.
- Dark orange or brown urine is cause for concern. This may mean you have bile in your urine or a problem with your liver.
- Brown urine can be caused by: extreme dehydration, consumption of fava beans, melanuria (too many particles in urine), kidney stone, kidney tumor or blood clot, Addison’s disease, glycosuria, renal artery stenosis, proteinuria, pituitary problem (ADH, or antidiuretic hormone).
- Blue or green color is very rare. While some little-known diseases, including porphyria, an inherited enzyme condition, can result in a person having blue or green urine, a change in urine color wouldn’t be the first sign of disease among sufferers. Blue color also can be caused by: artificial colors in foods, drugs, bilirubin and medications such as methylene blue.
- Red or pink can be caused by: lematuria (fresh blood in the urine) related to urinary tract infection (UTI), kidney stone, or rarely cancer, consumption of red foods such as beets, blueberries, red food dyes, rhubarb, iron supplements, Pepto-Bismol, Maalox, and a variety of other drugs, classic “port wine” color may indicate porphyria (genetic disorder)