Urine problems

Reviewed by Dr Jonah Mink, April 21'

Many factors can affect the colour of your urine. Usually, how dark or light the colour is can tell you how much water it contains.

Normal, healthy urine is a clear or light yellow colour.

That said, it’s common for your urine colour and odour to fluctuate depending on what you eat and drink, fluid balance, specific diseases and if you’re taking any medication. For example:

  • Bright yellow urine can be caused by vitamin B supplements.

  • Dark yellow or honey-coloured urine often indicates that you need more water.

  • Orange urine is usually caused by medications or dehydration. In rare cases, it might be a sign of a problem with your liver or bile ducts.

  • Darker, brownish urine could signal a liver problem, dehydration or a urinary tract infection (UTI). It can also be a result of eating foods like fava beans, aloe and rhubarb.

  • Blue- or green-tinged urine could be caused by food colouring, dyes used in kidney and bladder tests or certain medications and supplements.

  • A pinkish or red colour may mean blood in the urine and could be a sign of a UTI. It can also be the result of consuming certain medications and foods such as beets, blackberries and rhubarb.

It’s important to note that even if you’re just the slightest bit dehydrated, your urine will be more concentrated, which may cause discomfort when you’re trying to pass water. Drinking more fluids can remedy this.

If you have a UTI, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Pain or a burning sensation when you urinate

  • A frequent urge to urinate, even if you’re unable to pass much urine

  • The feeling that you’re unable to empty your bladder

  • Leaking urine

  • Blood present in your urine

  • Fever

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Abdominal pain

  • Urine with an unpleasant odour

However, other conditions can cause abnormal symptoms in your urinary tract, such as the following:

  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), which cause unusual vaginal discharge, lower abdominal pain, fever, a rash and painful urination

  • Kidney stones, which can lead to blood in your urine and sharp pain in your kidneys, ureters and urethra

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