Our body is simply amazing at sending us signals if something is wrong. As long as we know what to look for, we can detect and even prevent serious condition. Blood test, urine color, body aches can all give us valuable information about what’s really going on inside.
Normal urine color is pale or straw yellow, however, it can have a range of hues from dark yellow to brown. Dehydration, foods/drinks consumed, medications, supplements, illnesses and injuries can cause urine color to change. So let’s explore this deeper.
The yellow pigment found in urine is called urochrome. Researchers believe that the yellow color of urine is due to urobilin. Urobilin is formed when hemoglobin, the red pigment responsible for transporting blood throughout the body through red blood cells, breaks down. When the old red blood cells die, hemoglobin is formed.
Dehydration is usually the cause of dark yellow urine. Typically, the color of urine will be the darkest in the morning because people don’t drink water in the night. If the color of urine is dark during the day time, it means that the person is not drinking enough water. Urine can be dark yellow in color if a person perspires too much and does replenish the water lost through sweating. Great way to fix it is by adding Emergen-C electrolytes to your water.
Fluorescent Yellow Urine
The color of the urine will be fluorescent yellow when a person ingests more riboflavin than through vitamin B2 supplement which is also present in every multivitamin.
If a person consumes a lot of carrots, then the urine can be yellow-orange in color. The skin of the person may also have a yellow-orange color. This condition is referred to as carotenemia and the pigment that changes the color is beta-carotene. Vitamin C also changes the color of urine to dark yellow or orange. Warfarin (brand name: Coumadin) is an anticoagulant. This medication can change the color of urine as well. Same effect can be observed with the antibiotic Rifampin.
Consumption of beets, rhubarb or berries like blueberries and blackberries can change the color of urine to pink or red. Presence of blood (red blood cells or hemoglobin) in urine can also give a red color to it. Release of myoglobin (a red pigment responsible for storing oxygen in muscles) caused by muscle cells damage can turn urine red. The reason for the presence of blood in urine could be due to an injury caused to the kidney or urinary bladder or tract. Mercury or lead poisoning can also turn urine color red.
For females, the openings of the urinary, reproductive and gastrointestinal tracts are very close to each other. Therefore, medical tests may have to be done to find out where blood is coming from.
People who take laxatives containing phenolphthalein can pass pink urine. This is because phenolphthalein turns pink in alkaline urine.
Green or Blue Urine
If a person consumes large quantities of asparagus, then urine can be green in color. It may also have a distinct odor. Infection caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria can change the color of urine to green or blue too.
Medications that can change urine color to blue include amitriptyline (antidepressant), indomethacin (NSAID), cimetidine (stomach acid reducer) and promethazine (anti-nausea drug). Urised, used for treating urinary tract pain, contains the dye methylene blue.
Metabolic disorders can also cause the urine to be blue in color. Indicanuria, inability of the body to absorb tryptophan, an amino acid, gives a blue color to urine. This disorder in children is also referred to as blue diaper syndrome. Hypercalcemia, a genetic disorder which causes elevated calcium levels, is also responsible for blue diaper syndrome.
People who eat a lot of aloe or fava beans (broad beans), or cascara as well as senna laxatives can pass brown urine. Methyldopa, high blood pressure drug, turns urine black when it comes into contact with bleach used to clean the toilet. Dark urine can also be caused by the antibiotic metronidazole.
Alkaptonuria is a genetic condition. It makes urine appear brown-black when exposed to air. A person suffering from this disorder is incapable of breaking down phenylalanine and tyrosine, amino acids. This leads to the collection of homogentisic acid. This acid is responsible for giving black color to urine.
Liver diseases like cirrhosis and hepatitis, kidney stones and kidney disease can cause the color of urine to be brown.
People suffering from porphyria excrete red-purple/red-brown urine. A deficiency in one or more enzymes required for the production of the iron-containing part of hemoglobin molecule causes porphyria. The precursor molecules are colorless, but when exposed to light the color of these molecules change. There are a minimum of eight different types of porphyria. Whereas some types affect the skin, some others affect the brain, internal organs and nervous system.
So next time you have to pee, pay attention to your urine color as it might be telling you important information.
Check out the infographic below for a quick reference
Infographic credit – http://health.clevelandclinic.org/2013/10/what-the-color-of-your-urine-says-about-you-infographic/