Urine color can signal health problems

As a means of removing waste and excess water that the body does not need, urine serves a critical purpose in the body. Urine passes through the urinary system, a pathway that contains kidneys that filter waste from the blood before it leaves your body. It can be used to diagnose various diseases. In fact, the hue of your urine can reveal important information about your internal health. Dehydration is usually indicated by dark yellow urine, while reddish urine can be cancerous. There are many other causes of pink, brown, purple, or milky urine, including the foods you eat, medications you take, and certain medical conditions.

Many conditions can be diagnosed by the color of the urine:

Pale yellow urine:​

Due to urobilin pigment produced by the body, typical urine is light yellow in color. Depending on how much water you consume, the typical urine color can range from straw to dark yellow. The kidneys absorb more water from the urine when you are dehydrated, for example after exercise in the heat, and return it to the body to control water balance. As a result, the urine’s naturally occurring pigments become concentrated, giving it a dark yellow hue.

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Colorless urine:​

If you take in more water than your body needs, your kidneys excrete the extra water in the form of colorless urine. Urine is often colorless when we are sufficiently hydrated.

​​Dark yellow urine:​

Urine that is dark yellow is often the result of jaundice. Your urine may appear dark yellow or orange if you are taking medications such as vitamin B complex, sulfasalazine (used to treat ulcerative colitis), or phenazopyridine (used to relieve discomfort from urinary tract infections).

Reddish urine:​

Sometimes the urine may be reddish in color due to internal bleeding in the urinary tract, for example due to stones, cancer or infection. In cases of primary glomerular disease, known as glomerulonephritis, the urine may also be reddish.

​​Dark brown urine:​

Never ignore a dark brown urine color, as this may be the first indication of bladder or kidney cancer. Kidney stones and urinary tract infections are possible additional causes. Dehydration, a urinary tract infection, or the use of a long-term urinary catheter can all be indicators of cloudy urine.

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