Dark Urine

Dark Colored Urine

Dark Colored Urine

What Is Normal Urine Supposed To Look Like?
The normal urine of a healthy person should be a light yellow color. It should be clear, not cloudy.  And its odor should not be very strong.

What Causes Dark Colored Urine?
There are many possible situations that could make your urine dark. Some of these are no cause for concern, but others are signs of serious illness.

There are different types of dark urine. If you have blood in your urine, the color may be red, orange, pink, brownish-red or the color of tea.

A urinary tract infection (UTI or bladder infection) can make your urine darker and/or cloudy.

Ordinary, everyday substances sometimes make your urine darker than normal. Examples include beets, blackberries, B complex vitamins, beta carotene and food colorings.

Dehydration Causes Dark Yellow Urine
Urine that is dark yellow in color is very often caused by dehydration. When you drink less water, your urine becomes more concentrated and it will appear darker. Make sure your water intake is adequate. Eight glasses a day is a common recommendation, but you may need to drink more in certain situations, such as the following:

  • Extreme weather temperatures, both hot and cold;
  • Exercise increases your need for water;
  • Sweating;
  • Your height and weight.

As you drink more water, you should notice the color of your urine getting lighter and lighter.

Foods and Medications that Can Turn Your Pee Dark Yellow
The foods you eat can make your urine dark yellow. Food coloring, dyes and even compounds found in natural, unprocessed food could make your pee darker temporarily. Sometimes you will even find these dyes or colorings in medications. Some foods known to cause a change in the color of your urine include:

  • Blackberries
  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Fava Beans
  • Aloe

If you have taken certain medications recently, they could be the cause of dark yellow urine color:

  • Laxatives
  • Warfarin
  • Rifampin
  • Phenazopyridine
  • Nitrofurantoin
  • Quinine and related drugs
  • Sulfamethoxazole

Diseases and Medical Conditions that Cause Dark Yellow Urine
If you are having other symptoms in addition to dark yellow urine, such as foul smelling urine, fever or pain, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis. It is quite possible your symptoms are related and may be part of a larger problem.

Urinary Tract Infections
One common medical condition that causes dark yellow urine is a urinary tract infection (UTI). If you have a UTI, chances are your urine looks cloudy or has a foul odor, and you could have other typical symptoms:

  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Painful urination
  • Pain in your back under one of your ribs
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Nausea and/or vomiting

If you have a compromised immune system or any of the conditions below, you are at a higher risk for having UTIs:

  • Diabetes
  • Kidney Disease or kidney stones
  • Pregnant
  • Have an enlarged prostate

Dark Colored Urine

There are also medications that will make your urine dark, such as pyridium. An example of an over-the-counter medication that changes urine color is AZO, which relieves urinary pain.

Liver diseases may cause dark urine. Jaundice, known for its tendency to turn skin yellow, is a sign associated with liver dysfunction. Hepatitis A, B and C may cause dark colored urine, but they are not the only liver conditions that may do this.

Gallstones may cause urine color to become darker. Other symptoms they cause include loss of appetite, indigestion and jaundice.

Overheating/over exposure to heat causes urine to become dark. If you suspect someone is overheating, seek medical attention immediately. If not treated, this condition can kill a person. Some other signs of overheating are clammy skin, hyperventilation (fast breathing) and excessive sweating.

Dark Urine

If you or a loved one is experiencing dark urine, it could be cause for alarm, but most likely it is nothing to get worried about.  Your urine is normally clear with a faint yellow color.  The color of your urine may change, however, based on the types of foods you’re eating, the liquids you’re drinking, and the medications you’re taking.  Some substances and compounds can alter the color of our urine, sometimes leading to dark urine.

What Causes Dark Urine?

Some of the things that can lead to dark urine are natural or artificial food colors, which may come from foods like dark colored berries or beets.  Even something as mundane as black licorice, (which also makes your stool turn green, by the way) can give you a dark urine color.  Alcoholic drinks can also darken the color of your urine, so if you are drinking a lot, consider cutting back.  Another good idea is to increase your water intake- whether or not you continue drinking alcohol, making this simple change can do wonders for the health of your urinary tract and liver.

If you take vitamins or laxatives, you may notice a change in the color of your urine, making it look darker.  Pyridium, a substance commonly found in laxatives, is one drug that will often make your urine a darker color.  If you’re taking a carotene supplement, which is a form of Vitamin A, or if you just have higher levels of carotene from eating foods such as broccoli, spinach, or other fruits and vegetables high in carotene, your urine could darken as a result.  This is usually no cause for concern.

Another possible cause of dark urine is blood.  Many things can cause blood to appear in your urine, including infections, kidney disease, kidney stones, severe bodily trauma, and even cancer.  If you’re suffering from a urinary tract infection, your urine may appear darker in color.  Jaundice, which is yellowing of the skin, is another cause of dark urine because of the increased levels of bilirubin in the bloodstream.  Liver disease or other obstructions that interfere with bile, such as diseases of the pancreas or bile ducts, are sometimes to blame for dark colored urine.

The most common cause of dark urine, however, is dehydration.  If you’re not drinking enough water your urine will be more concentrated, leading to urine that is darker than normal.

When to Seek Medical Attention

If you’ve experienced any pain when you urinate and/or your urine is a dark color, you could have a medical condition that needs attention.  Fever and fatigue are also warning  signs that should make you seek a doctor’s advice. and if your dark urine is accompanied by any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your doctor immediately.  A dark brown color, for instance, could mean you’re suffering from a serious liver ailment, possibly even cirrhosis or hepatitis.  When dark urine shows up with other symptoms, prompt medical attention is your best course of action.

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Filed under Bladder & Liver Diseases, Colors of Urine, Kidney