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Yellow, red or pink: Your urine colour says a lot about your health

Urine comes out in different colours. While yellowish gets a thumbs up, red urine colour could make you rush to a hospital.
meaning behind colours of urine
Watch your urine colour during pregnancy. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 31 Jan 2023, 19:47 pm IST
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Urine is one of the topics that we don’t openly talk about. But the fact is that urine colour says a lot about your eating habits and your well-being. You might not show symptoms or signs of a disease or a health condition, but your urine colour can reveal it to some extent. Many know that as long as you have yellowish urine, you don’t have to worry. But once your urine shows different colours, you go to a doctor. There are more urine colours that you should be aware of!

HealthShots reached out to Dr Aman Gupta, additional director, urology, Fortis Flt. Lt. Rajan Dhall Hospital, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi, to find out all about urine colour and what it says about your health.

Colour of urine can be a marker of underlying kidney disease and general health, says the expert.

urine colour
Urine colour says a lot about your health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Urine colours

• The normal colour of urine is yellowish to amber.
• The red colour should never be ignored as it can be the first sign of underlying bladder or kidney cancer, says Dr Gupta. Other reasons can be stones in kidney and urinary tract infection.
• Pink or orange colour can be due to some food items like beetroot or some dyes in the food or medicines such as rifampicin and pyridium.
• Clear urine means over hydration, which means you are drinking too much water.
• Cloudy urine could be a sign of dehydration, urinary tract infection or someone on a long-term urine catheter.
• Dark brown can be due to certain medications or liver disease.
• Blue and green are very rare. They happen in some rare kinds of urine infections or after certain surgeries where dye is instilled in urinary system.

Urine colour that calls for a hospital visit

Red urine colour is the reason why most people see a doctor, says Dr Gupta. Often, it’s a sign of blood in urine. Other reasons include medications, stones, UTI or a surgery. The expert says that this should never be ignored, no matter how trivial it is.

Often it is the first sign of an underlying urinary bladder, kidney or prostate cancer. In women, sometimes blood from vaginal tract can appear as blood in urine. Never assume it to be due to menstruation and always see a doctor. Any woman past the menopause age, must never ignore red urine colour. It can even be a sign of cervical cancer.

urine colour
Stay well hydrated to have normal urine colour. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Tips to have a healthy urine colour

1. Stay well hydrated

Drink water and liquids as per need. Too dark a colour means you need to drink water. Very clear urine means that you are over hydrated (hydration myths). Cut down if you have risk of medical conditions which can cause fluid overload or retention in body or low salt levels (hyponatremia).

2. Watch what you are eating

Healthy eating goes without saying, but avoid having food items with too much colour. That way you wouldn’t have to deal with colourful urine.

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3. Don’t assume red coloured urine to be harmless

Don’t think that red urine colour is due to some food item, warns Dr Gupta. It is blood, unless proven otherwise and every step has to be taken to ensure the cause is ruled out.

4. Cloudy urine or foamy urine

It needs attention as it can be a sign of underlying kidney disease or bladder condition (ways to keep your bladder healthy). Excess water intake may mask it, but it should be investigated to rule out the cause.

Always make it a habit to have a look at the colour of your urine before flushing the commode. A detection of an abnormal urine colour and its investigation may save you from serious medical conditions later on.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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