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Different Colors of Urine: What Do They Mean?

Urine ColorUrine should be clear to light yellow in color, but it can turn many different colors.  Causes range from the foods you eat to the liquids you drink to the diseases and infections you might have.

Orange Urine

Some different medications can cause orange urine, like rifampin and phenazopyridine.  This color urine can also indicate that you’ve got some problems with your bile duct or liver.  If it is lighter yellow orange urine, you may just be dehydrated.

Dark Orange or Brown Urine

Infections of the bladder such as UTI infections or even kidney problems could be to blame.  Some foods- like fava beans- are known to turn your urine a little bit brown.  Medications for malaria can turn your urine brown as well.  If your urine is dark orange or brown, you could have one of several serious conditions, such as jaundice, rhabdomyolysis, or Gilbert’s Syndrome.

Pink or Purple Urine

If you like beets, you’ve probably seen this in the toilet.  It’s known in the medical community as beeturia.

If you are already on a UTI infection medication, especially pyridium, you may end up with pink urine.

Green Urine

Do you eat a lot of asparagus?  It can cause green urine.  Medications such as propofol, an anesthetic, can also do this, as well as certain multivitamin regimens.  Pseudomonas, a bacterium that causes bladder and urinary tract infections, can also cause green urine.


Red or Brown Urine

This color can be the result of porphyria, a skin (or nervous system) condition. Click MORE below to get more information on red urine.


Blue Urine

Blue urine color is often produced by medications containing methylene blue. Examples of diseases treated with methylene blue medications include malaria, plaque psoriasis, AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma, cancer, West Nile virus, Hepatitis C and carbon monoxide or cianide poisoning, to name a few.

In babies, blue urine can be caused by blue diaper syndrome, a rare disorder where the child’s body has difficulty digesting the amino acid tryptophan.

Hypercalcemia, a condition where you have too much calcium in your blood, can also cause your urine to turn blue. Hypercalcemia is not a disease in and of itself; it is a condition that may be a symptom of disease.

Dark Yellow Urine

You are most likely dehydrated if you have dark yellow urine.  If you’ve been exercising a lot and not drinking enough water, you could start seeing dark yellow urine when you urinate.  Down a few glasses of water and see if that doesn’t get rid of the problem. Another possibility, though, is excessive amounts Vitamin B6 that is causing your urine to turn darker.


Yellow Orange Urine

Your body may have removed excess vitamins from your bloodstream.  Yellow orange urine can also happen from drinking too much alcohol.  Dehydration is to yet another cause of yellow orange urine, so don’t forget to make sure you are drinking enough water to stay hydrated.

Red urine

Blood in urine is called hematuria.  Blood in urine could be caused by a UTI infection, but there is also a small chance it could be an early sign of bladder cancer.  Many more things can also cause bloody urine, including medications, exercise, injury and kidney stones.  If you’re seeing blood in your urine, you should call your doctor to get some tests done.

Black Urine

Certain substances used in laxatives, such as senna or cascara, can cause black urine.

Black urine is sometimes a symptom of melanoma, in which case it is called melanuria.

Another possible cause is a rare genetic condition called alkaptonuria (AKA black urine disease). Alkaptonuria is a genetic disorder that causes the body to have trouble metabolizing tyrosine and phenylalanine. Black urine disease is more common in the Dominican Republic and Slovakia, compared to other countries in the world.

If you have urine that is black in color, you need to seek medical help.

What Do I Do Now?

So many things can make your urine change color, from common foods and medications, all the way to serious illnesses and even hereditary disorders.  If you’re urine is a different color than usual, call your doctor and get some tests run- it’s always better to be on the safe side.

Need to Find Out More About Urine Colors?

There are many great websites out there for those wanting all of the details on their specific urine color.

Urine Colors Website

Better Medicine Article on Urine Colors

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Black or Brown Urine

Brown UrineIf you have urine that is black or brown, it is understandably distressing. Fortunately, the most likely cause of black urine/brown urine is that you ate certain foods or it’s a side effect of a medication you took. In some cases, though, it can be a sign of disease.

The first part of this article is about black and/or brown urine, while the second part is about black urine in particular.

The foods you eat could be the cause of your black/brown urine. The top three foods that can cause this are aloe, rhubarb and fava beans (also called broad beans or field beans). If you have black or brown urine from eating these foods, it is harmless and will go away in a day or two.

Medications that Cause Black or Brown Urine

Some medications have black/brown urine as a side effect. If you have recently taken a new medication, check with your doctor or pharmacist whether black/brown urine is a side effect.

These medications are known to sometimes cause black/brown urine as a side effect:

Metronidazole (Flagyl)- an antibiotic, especially used for Clostridium dificile infections.  It is also used in anti-rosacea creams or gels, although the cream or gel versions are unlikely to turn your urine black or brown.

Furazolidone- an antibiotic/anti-microbial medication

Methyldopa (Aldomet)- a treatment for high blood pressure, especially pre-eclampsia in pregnant women. Methyldopa’s metabolites turn black when they come into contact with bleach, which is present in many toilets.

Chloraquine- a drug used to prevent malariaPrimaquine- a medication used to treat malaria and sometimes pneumoniaNitrofurantoin- an anti-biotic often used as a treatment for urinary tract infections (UTIs)

Cascara or Senna- ingredients in some laxatives

Methocarbamol- a muscle relaxer used to treat muscle spasms

Sorbitol- has many uses, including as a laxative and as a sugar substitute.

Contamination with Betadine (povidone-iodine) solution can turn urine brown (this could possibly happen while douching).

Diseases that Cause Brown or Black Urine

Some health conditions and diseases can cause black or brown urine. Alkaptonuria, a rare genetic disease, is one example. People who have alkaptonuria may have urine that gets darker and darker the longer it is exposed to air/left standing.

Melanoma can also cause urine that gets darker and darker as it is left exposed to air. This is due to the melanin and melanogen in the urine. This kind of black/brown urine will darken from the top down, which can be seen if the urine is in a clear container.

Tyrosinosis, a metabolic disorder, can cause a person’s urine to appear brown or black.

Porphyria cutanea tarda, a disease that affects heme in the body, may case brown/black urine as a symptom. However, the main symptoms are blistering or the detachment of nails from the nail bed after exposure to sunlight. People with this type of porphyria also often have liver problems.

Black Urine

Laxatives and Black Urine

Laxatives that use senna or cascara may cause black urine. Senna is a plant product and is often found in “vegetable laxatives” or “all-natural” products. These brands have at least one product that contains senna:

  • Senokot
  • Walgreens Senna Tablets
  • Smooth Move
  • Goldline
  • Sunmark
  • Fieldtex
  • Traditional Medicinals
  • Mason Remedies
  • McKesson

Cascara is another laxative ingredient that might turn your urine black. It is from a buckthorn species of plant. These brands have at least one product containing cascara:

  • Puritan’s Pride
  • Nature’s Way
  • NOW Foods
  • Heughan’s

Senna and cascara are not known to be harmful. Black urine caused by these substances should resolve within 1-2 days.

Malignant Melanoma

Melanoma, an aggressive type of cancer, can cause black urine due to the melanin in it.

Black Urine Disease (Alkaptonuria)

Another possible cause is a rare genetic condition called alkaptonuria (AKA black urine disease). Alkaptonuria is a genetic disorder that causes the body to have trouble metabolizing tyrosine and phenylalanine. Black urine disease is particularly common in the Dominican Republic and Slovakia, compared to other countries in the world.


Hemoglobinuria- excess hemoglobin in the urine- may cause black urine, but it could also result in red or brown urine instead. Hemoglobinuria is when you have high levels of hemoglobin, a component of your blood, in your urine. There are many possible causes for hemoglobinuria, including:

  • Burns
  • Acute glomerulonephritis (a kidney disease)
  • Kidney cancer
  • Malaria and medications used to treat malaria
  • Exposure to arsenic gas

If you have black urine, you should seek medical advice as soon as possible, especially if you have any other symptoms.




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