Anatomy and Physiology

Abnormal Colors in Urine

Abnormal Color in Urine

Urine is liquid byproduct of metabolism. Color of urine ranging from colorless to deep amber but is usually a pale yellow in a healthy individual due to presence of pigment urochrome, also termed as urobilin.

Pale yellow, Amber or honey pee color is normal urine. Abnormal color may be caused by infection, disease, medicines, or food consumed. Pigments and other compounds in certain foods and medications can change its color. Various abnormally colored urine may be observed. Some of them includes:


Blue or green colored urine: Urine can be blue or green colored due to various factors such as:

  • Some brightly colored food dyes can cause green urine. Dyes used for some tests of kidney and bladder function can turn urine blue.
  • Medications such as Propofol (Diprivan), Amitriptyline, indomethacin (Indocin, Tivorbex) can lead to blue or green urine.
  • Green urine may occurs during urinary tract infections caused by Pseudomonas
  • Familial benign hypercalcemia (also called blue diaper syndrome), a rare inherited disorder in children have blue urine. Hartnup disease can also be other disorder to cause blue urine.


Abnormal colors in Urine


Purple Urine: The only known cause of purple urine is purple urine bag syndrome. Purple urine is associated with Gram-negative bacteriuria and typically resolves after treatment with antibiotics and changing catheter.


Red or pink urine: Despite alarming appearance, red urine isn’t necessarily serious.  Red or pink urine can be due to:

  • Urinary blood (hematuria) can be caused by urinary tract infections, kidney cysts, an enlarged prostate, cancerous and noncancerous tumors, kidney or bladder stones and long-distance running.
  • Beets, blackberries and rhubarb can turn urine red or pink.
  • Rifampin an antibiotic often used to treat tuberculosis, Phenazopyridine (Pyridium), a drug that numbs urinary tract discomfort, and laxatives containing senna can turn urine reddish orange.
  • Urine can be red if it contains myoglobin, an oxygen-binding protein in muscle cells.

Orange urine: Orange urine can result from:

  • Anti-inflammatory drug sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), some laxatives, phenazopyridine (Pyridium) and certain chemotherapy drugs.
  • In some cases, orange urine indicates problem in liver or bile duct, especially when stool is light-colored.
  • Dehydration can also make urine appear orange as urine gets concentrated and becomes much deeper in color.


Dark brown or cola-colored urine: It results from:

  • Eating large amounts of fava beans, rhubarb or aloe can cause dark brown urine.
  • Antimalarial drugs chloroquine and primaquine, metronidazole (Flagyl) and nitrofurantoin (Furadantin), laxatives containing cascara or senna, and methocarbamol a muscle relaxant.
  • Some liver and kidney disorders, urinary tract infections can turn urine dark brown.
  • Muscle injury from extreme exercise can result in pink or cola-colored urine and kidney damage.
  • Bilirubin when mixed with urine turns it brownish.


 Abnormal Colored Urines


Cloudy or murky urine: Urinary tract infections and kidney stones can cause urine to appear cloudy or murky. Chyluria, also called chylous urine, is a medical condition involving the presence of chyle in the urine stream, which results in urine appearing milky white.


Some common terms indicating abnormal urine are:

  1. Glycosuria: Glucose in urine. It occurs due to excess plasma glucose beyond the amount able to be reabsorbed in proximal convoluted tubule (diabetes).
  2. Proteinuria: Protein in urine, often due to leaky or damaged glomeruli.
  3. Polyuria: Abnormally large amount of urine, often caused by diabetes.
  4. Oliguria: Abnormally small amount of urine, often due to shock or kidney damage.
  5. Hematuria: Red blood cells in urine, from infection or injury.
  6. Dysuria: Painful or uncomfortable urination, often from urinary tract infections.


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