What your pee color means
Your urine’s appearance may hold clues to your health.
Certain shades may hint at your most recent meal or the medicines you take. Other colors may indicate illness or infection.
Here’s a closer look at what the color may mean.
CLEAR. You're probably drinking a lot of water.
PALE YELLOW. Your pee is normal—and you're adequately hydrated! The yellow tint comes from a pigment called urochrome. How light or dark your urine is depends on the water-to-pigment ratio.
AMBER. Your body is likely dehydrated. Try drinking some water.
CLOUDY OR MILKY. Does it also smell bad or hurt to pee? You may have a urinary tract infection. You may also have crystals, mucus or blood cells in your urine. See your doctor or go to urgent care.
DARK BROWN, BUT CLEAR. A possible sign of too much bilirubin. You might have liver problems, like viral hepatitis or cirrhosis. Call your doctor.
PINK TO RED. It could be something you ate—like beets, blackberries or rhubarb. And the color should return to normal soon. Some medicines can also turn urine shades from pink to orange brown.
But this color may also be blood. Call your doctor if food and meds don't explain the color, especially if it hurts to pee or you need to go frequently.
DARK YELLOW TO ORANGE. Carrots, B vitamins and vitamin C can turn urine orange. Laxatives and some medications could be the cause too. If you're dehydrated, drinking water might clear things up.
GREEN OR BLUE. Some medications can turn urine green. Asparagus may also can give it a green tinge—with an accompanying odor. Bacteria known as pseudomonas can produce a blue-green pigment too. So if the green doesn't go away, call your doctor.
GO WITH THE FLOW
A few tips to pee in good health:
- Drink plenty of water to flush waste products out of your body.
- Cut back on salt, which can be tough on your kidneys.
- Limit caffeine. It may irritate your bladder.
- Avoid alcohol, which can affect kidney function.
- Don't smoke. It's a major risk factor for bladder and kidney cancers.
Sources: National Institutes of Health; National Kidney Foundation; Urology Care Foundation