Uh-Oh! Pink Pee!

Health Minute     Spring 2018
Uh-Oh! Pink Pee! - Large

Chances are, you’ve never thought much about the color of your urine. Who would? But if it turns a strange color, it could be a sign that something unusual is going on inside your body.

What Urine Color Can Tell You

Typically, urine is a pale yellow to golden color. And it can be a darker yellow if you aren’t drinking enough water and become dehydrated. Urine also can turn an abnormal color because of what you eat or drink. Diseases, infections and medications may also tint it an unusual shade.

Most unusual urine colors, however startling, are nothing to worry about.

Pay attention to your urine color and these possible causes.

Light brown, pink or red urine:

  • Beets, blackberries and food coloring
  • Hemolytic anemia (when you don’t have enough red blood cells)
  • Kidney injury
  • Medication
  • Porphyria (a disease that prevent your body from producing heme, the red pigment that contains iron)
  • Urinary tract disorders that cause bleeding
  • Blood from vaginal bleeding
  • Urinary tract injury

Uh-Oh! Pink Pee! - in contentDark yellow or orange urine

  • B complex vitamins or carotene
  • Recent laxative use
  • Medicines like phenazopyridine (used to treat urinary tract infections), rifampin (an antibiotic) and warfarin (an anticoagulant used to stop blood clots from forming)

Blue or green urine

  • Bilirubin (a substance your body makes naturally when it breaks down old red blood cells)
  • Certain food coloring
  • Medications, including methylene blue (a dye that is used in medical tests)
  • Urinary tract infections (UTI)

Other urine colors that can indicate a problem include:

  • Cloudy or milky urine, which means you might have a UTI. It might also make your urine smell bad. Bacteria, crystals, fat, white or red blood cells, or mucus in the urine can also make it look milky.
  • Dark brown but clear urine may be a sign of a liver disorder. Possibilities include acute viral hepatitis and cirrhosis, which causes too much bilirubin in the urine.

When Should I Call My Doctor?

Most unusual urine colors, however startling, are nothing to worry about. But others signal a possible problem. Call your doctor right away if you have:

  • Dark brown, clear urine
  • Blood in your urine, even one time
  • Pink, red or smoky-brown urine
  • Urine that is an abnormal color for no apparent reason and that doesn’t return to its normal shade quickly