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reviewed 8/7/2018

What your pee color means

Urine can be many different colors—for many different reasons. Find out what your pee color may say about your health.

Urine is your body's liquid waste, and its appearance may hold clues to your health. Certain hues may hint at your health. Certain hues may hint at your most recent meal or the medicines you take. Other colors may indicate illness or infection.

What is your pee saying about you?

Clear. You're probably drinking a lot of water.

Pale yellow. Your pee is normal! The yellow color in your pee comes from a pigment called urochrome. How light or dark your urine is depends on the water-to-pigment ratio.

Amber. Your body is likely dehydrated. Try drinking some water.

Cloudy or milky. Does it also smell bad or hurt to pee? You may have a urinary tract infection. You may also have crystals, mucus or blood cells in your urine. Call your doctor.

Dark brown but clear. A possible sign or too much bilirubin. You might have liver problems, like viral hepatitis or cirrhosis. Call your doctor.

Pink to red. If you have eaten beets, blackberries or rhubarb, the color should return to normal soon. Some medicines can also turn urine shades from pink to orange brown.

But this color may also be blood. Call your doctor if food and meds don't explain the color, especially if it hurts to pee or you feel like you have to pee a lot.

Dark yellow to orange. Carrots, B vitamins and vitamin C can turn urine orange. Laxatives and some medications could be the cause too. If you're dehydrated, drinking water might clear things up.

Green or blue. Some medications can turn urine green. Asparagus also can give it a green tinge (with accompanying odor). Bacteria known as pseudomonas can produce a blue-green pigment too. So, if the green doesn't go away, call your doctor.

Tips for a healthy flow

  • Drink plenty of water to flush waste products out of your body.
  • Cut back on salty, which can be tough on your kidneys.
  • Cut back on caffeine too. It can irritate your bladder.
  • Avoid alcohol, which can affect kidney function.
  • Don't smoke. It's a major risk factor for bladder and kidney cancers.

Sources: National Institutes of Health; National Kidney Foundation; Urology Care Foundation

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