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What Color Your Pee Should be? A Comprehensive Research About What Urine Color Says About the Health.

Get the lowdown on what the various urine colors mean for your nutrition, hydration levels, and possible health problems.

You might not have bothered looking at the toilet after a nature call, but the fact is that urine or pee colour indicates your hydration levels. But that’s not the only thing your pee can tell you. As the American Urological Association says, the color of your urine is a window to your health.

The urine color can vary. While those slight changes are nothing to worry about, sometimes the shift in the hue of your pee can signal that something is wrong with the bodily systems.

So, what follows is a rundown of the general characteristics of normal human urine, including what it should not include. It will also discuss the simple changes you can make to your daily routine to achieve or maintain the “correct” urine color and the signs that may indicate it’s time to see a doctor about a more serious issue.

Urine as a Body’s Report Card

The term “pee” or “urine” describes the waste fluid excreted by an individual. Its primary component is water, but it also contains electrolytes and compounds.

Each urination produces between 200 to 400 milliliters (ml) of pee. Daily urine production normally ranges from 800 to 2,000 ml, depending on fluid consumption, body size, and other factors.

While it may sound awkward, it’s true; one can consider the pee as a daily report card while trying to understand your health. Observing its smell, clarity, and color can give much information about potential health problems. Remember that early detection is the key to a healthy future.

But what is exactly the right pee color?

What Does A Perfect Urine Color look like?

There is no gold standard for a perfect hue of normal pee. But it is well established, as per the doctor’s recommendation, that your urine must fall into the yellow spectrum for more honey shade. There are many yellow shades that are all related to healthy waste, such as

No Color/ Transparent

That is the perfect color for pee. It ensures everything is going well in the body and you are well hydrated.

But it shows you are overhydrated if it’s too transparent or overly clear.  This indicates that your electrolyte levels are too low and your water levels are too high.

8 color scale urine hydration chart

Pale Straw

If the urine is clear and yellow in color, or pale straw, you are adequately hydrated. As long as the kidneys function normally, this color’s urine is considered normal.

Dark Yellow Urine

Dark yellow urine might indicate dehydration, but it is considered normal if it’s the first thing in the morning. This is due to the lack of water consumption throughout the night, which increases the concentration of our urine. That is why seeing a vivid yellow tint to your pee is normal.

When people consume more fluids, their urine color changes to the translucent yellow tint we discussed previously.

Light Orange / Orange

While light orange may indicate dehydration again, a light orange colour may indicate adult-onset jaundice. It can also indicate bile duct or liver issues, which may cause some other symptoms like light-colored stools, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. Repeating the water test can help determine the influence of urine color on dehydration. It’s important to monitor urine color and seek medical attention if necessary in such cases.

In good health and adequate water intake, urine color ranges from clear to honey-colored, while insufficient fluids cause the yellow hue to darken.

Bright Yellow/Neon

A bright yellow or neon yellow can be expected in people who take a lot of vitamins. In such cases, vitamin B2 can be the main cause. It is usually considered normal as the surplus amount of vitamins gets mixed with your urine waste, giving it colour.

What Other Colors Urine Can Have?

Most of us have seen shades of yellow when it comes to our pee. You might not realise that there are many shades our pee can change to besides yellow. In particular, what hues can our pee take on? Most importantly, we will discuss what could be the causes of these changes.

Red/Pink

Despite how scary it looks, the color isn’t always terrible. For example, excessive exercise can also turn urine color too pink, red or tea colored.

But many other potential causes of red or pink urine include:

  • Certain foods, like beets and blackberries, can cause a reddish or pinkish hue.
  • Medications such as antibiotics, like rifampin, phenazopyridine, and senna-containing laxatives, can cause urine to turn reddish orange.
  • Medical conditions such as urinary tract infections, kidney infections, kidney disease, enlarged prostate, bladder cancer, or sickle cell anemia are more serious conditions that may cause blood in urine. 

If you’ve consumed any of these items and haven’t noticed any additional side effects, it’s probably safe to ignore them. But if you haven’t eaten these items and are still experiencing a change in the urine colour, then it is a sign of concern, and consulting with a doctor is recommended.

Green

It may seem strange, but you can also have green urine. Most people relate the green hue of their urine to consuming asparagus, along with some changes in the odor. Some drugs and bacterial infections might cause your urine to become green.

Blue / Purple

While rarely, the urine can also be blue or purple. It’s because of a hereditary condition known as familiar hypercalcemia, or “blue diaper syndrome,” . It is caused by inadequate intestine tryptophan breakdown.

Purple pee can be termed as “purple urine bag syndrome,” which is frequent in constipated women, those treated with a urinary catheter, and those battling bacterial urinary tract infections.

White

An excessive amount of particular minerals might cause your urine to become white. An abundance of calcium and phosphorus can cause this. Also, some urinary tract infections or the presence of proteins can turn urine into a white color.

Dark Brown/ Black

Like many other colors, born urine can also be caused by eating fava beans, rhubarb, or aloe. Specific medications, such as antimalarial drugs like chloroquine and primaquine, flagyl or using laxatives like cascara or senna, and using muscle relaxants like methocarbamol.

However, consistent brown urine can be an alarming condition. Even more serious illnesses like melanoma, copper or phenol poisoning. Anyone who sees this color of urine should promptly consult a doctor.

Here is an image for reference for all the colors mentioned above.

Title

Fortunately, unusual urine colour is usually only a sign of dehydration, food, or a medicine side effect

What Factors Can Affect Pee Color?

The American Chemical Society reports that the breakdown of hemoglobin from old red blood cells produces a pigment known as urochrome (also known as urobilin) that mostly determines the yellow color of the urine.

Hydration levels are the most prevalent cause of urine color changes. Your pee will be more diluted and a lighter shade of yellow when you’re well hydrated. But at the same time, dehydration can cause a darker and smellier pee color.

But many other things can affect the color and consistency of the urine, such as

  • Medical Conditions: As already discussed, urinary tract infections can change colour from dark yellow to reddish. Some liver problems are also associated with changes in color to brownish, while renal problems can cause frothy or cloudy urine.
  • Foods: Certain foods can cause urine color to change, such as beetroots, which can give a reddish hue to your urine because of the betalain pigment in them. In the same way, eating asparagus can make some people’s urine look greenish and give it a pungent smell. Food color dyes can also cause the shift in pee color.
  • Supplements: Some supplements are also connected to color changes, especially riboflavin (vitamin B2), which can cause urine to become yellow. Red or brown urine may be a side effect of using certain herbal supplements, such as cascara or senna, commonly prescribed for digestive health.
  • Medications: Similar to supplements, medications can also change the pee color and are considered a minor side effect. Certain UTI drugs and antidepressant drugs are associated with the changes.

A food dye may change the color of urine.

Does odor Matters Too?

Like color, the smell of the urine can also indicate many things. The urine has a mild odor, but if it’s really strong or smells strange, it might be a sign of an issue. A pungent ammonia odor may indicate dehydration, and an unhealthy or unusual odor may indicate an infection of the urinary tract.

In the case of food, especially those that are spicy or have strong chemicals, it can also change the smell of your pee. While some foods, like asparagus, coffee, and some fish, can give off a strong smell because they contain certain chemicals that are then passed out of the body in the urine.

The Best Time to Check Pee Color?

You should evaluate the color of your urine twice daily, first thing in the morning and again before bed. The concentration of pee is highest in the morning, and it can give a lot of health information. Lighter morning and night urine is a good indicator of health and proper hydration. A deeper shade may indicate that you need to increase your daily fluid intake.

Urination frequency varies from person to person, but a healthy, non-pregnant adult can expect to pee 6–8 times each day. With pregnant women, the frequency can change.

What to Do if Something Wrong is Suspected? doctor s hands holding urine test

While it’s wise to consult a medical professional if you notice a change in the color of your urine, there are situations where this might be a serious emergency. It would be ideal if you could identify the situation as an emergency and seek assistance without delay.

If your pee contains blood, that’s a perfect example. See a medical professional without delay if this occurs. Another good example is persistent orange urine; this might be a sign of renal or bladder problems, both of which demand prompt medical intervention.

How to Get the “Right” Color of Pee? 

If someone notices changes in the pee color, they must follow the lifestyle changes as suggested by many urologists.

  • Hydration is the key. To keep your urine a healthy color, staying hydrated is as important as anything else.
  • Limit Alcohol/ Moderate the Use of Caffeine Intake: Caffeine and alcohol are both diuretics, which means you may need to urinate more frequently. Mild dehydration (including hangovers) can result from fluid losses caused by alcohol use, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The fluid in coffee usually cancels out any increase in urine, so it’s less likely to get you dehydrated if you drink it.
  • Monitor Medications: As we have already described, certain medications can change the pee’s color. It is always best to consult your healthcare provider if you experience changes in the colour of your urine while taking prescription or over-the-counter medications. This will help determine whether any adjustments to your medication regimen are required.
  • Good Hygiene: While not directly, but consistent genital care and proper bathing can aid in the prevention of urinary tract infections and other conditions that can alter the color and odor of urine.

But above all, you must develop a routine of often monitoring the color of your urine. While it may not be considered a formal dinner conversation, it is time for everyone to become more at ease with the topics of urination and defecation. How frequently, how much, and the composition of both can reveal much about your overall health, as detailed in our guide to the frequency with which physicians recommend you poo.

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Dr Aimen

Being a Doctor by profession, Aimen is passionate about helping people get better health in their lives. Aimen enjoys her research on Prime With Time subjects and strives to create better awareness of the problems and changes related to women's health.
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