Everyone knows that normal, human urine is yellow in color, but many have often wondered what it means when the liquid they are expelling is a completely different color. Discoloration, murkiness and even blood can cause panic and alarm at the thought that there is something physically wrong with your body. If you're curious about what you can learn just by looking at your urine, then read on.
What is Normal Urine Supposed to Look Like?
The normal color of urine can range from a translucent yellow to amber. It is a sterile liquid that is expelled from the body and is a product of cellular metabolism. The appearance of your urine can be affected by certain foods you eat, beverages you drink and diseases that you may be afflicted by. The yellow to amber color that normal urine has is due to a pigment called urochrome. When your urine is darker (amber), this usually is a sign you aren't getting enough fluids. If your urine is on the darker spectrum of what it should normally look like, there's typically no cause for alarm. All you need to do is get more fluids in your body, preferably water.
Why is My Urine Clear?
Typically, the clearer your urine is, the healthier you should be. Light yellow to clear colored urine is a sign that your body is properly hydrated, and is typical of those who regularly drink water. However, clear urine can also appear in those who are taking in too much water, and may be dangerously close to overhydration, or water intoxication. An increase in urination, especially clear urine, without adequate water intake can be a sign of diabetes.
Some may often wonder why their urine turns clear after excessively drinking alcohol. The amount of liquids your body took in is one reason for increased urination, but the other reason is alcohol is a diuretic, which means it increases the rate you have to pee. Because alcohol forces an increase in urination, your body is required to extract water from other organs since you're peeing all that water down the drain, along with other important electrolytes in your body. This is why too much alcohol makes you sick and leaves you with a bad headache.
Abnormal Urine Colors
Sometimes your urine will take a dive completely off the light yellow to amber gold color chart. If this is the case, here are several possible urine colors you might be seeing and what they mean:
- Green or blue urine: this is typically caused by something you ingested. Certain foods and beverages and medications have the ability to make your urine these colors, especially if they contain a blue dye. Asparagus has not only been known to make your urine appear greener, it can also affect your urine's odor.
- Red or pink urine: certain foods that are naturally red can cause these color changes in your urine. Laxatives and some prescription drugs can also be the cause of red urine. In some cases, blood in your urine stream can be a sign of a medical condition like an enlarged prostate, bladder stones or even kidney cancer.
- Murky urine: this can be a sign of a urinary tract infection (UTI) or kidney stones. For men, semen left in the urinary tract can also cause urine to be cloudy or murky.
- Orange urine: blackberries, beets, rhubarb and certain medications with dyes can cause this. Medical issues that can cause orange urine include jaundice and dehydration.
- Foamy urine: this doesn't affect the color or your urine. Instead, it accompanies urine at certain times, which may be cause for alarm. Excessive foam in your urine is typically a sign of ingesting too much protein.
Seeking Medical Attention
Often times, a drastic change in urine color is caused by something you ingested. Take note of any color changes, and record when and how often they occur. If you can rule out food or medication as possible causes for your change in urine color, you should contact your physician. Also think about any other possible symptoms you may be experiencing that are related to a major health issue:
- Are you urinating more frequently than usual?
- Is urination painful for you?
- Are you having trouble urinating? Has urinating become more infrequent than usual?
- Are you urinating only small amounts at a time?
- Do you wake up frequently at night to urinate?
- Are you producing more urine than usual?
- Are you leaking or dribbling urine uncontrollably?
While it is best not to panic at the first signs of abnormal urine color, you should not ignore it either. Consult a physician to ensure you aren't suffering from something serious. If a change in urine color is accompanied by any of the above symptoms, notify your doctor immediately.