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What Does Your Urine Colour Tell You About Your Health?

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Most of us are aware of the fact that our skin and hair can reveal a lot about our overall health. And this is why we do keep a close tab on it. But have you ever wondered if your urine can also indicate a lot about the health? Yes, urine is something that most of us tend to ignore or not talk much about. But in reality, it can reveal a lot about what you have eaten as well as if the body is deprived of water. Moreover, it can also hold clues to various health problems and can act as one of the key symptoms in the early detection of a condition right from jaundice to kidney disease. Here is more on what the color of your urine says about your health.

What Does Your Urine Colour Tell You About Your Health?

Urine color is an important indicator of your body functions and overall health, especially that of the kidneys. This is because the kidneys play a critical role in filtering out the wastes, toxins and excess water from the blood. The fluids and toxins are then excreted through urine. Any change in the urine color is often amongst the few initial signs that the body shows thus revealing a lot about what’s happening in the body. The color, odor, and consistency of the urine can tell a lot about the status of your health. Any changes in these parameters should not be ignored.  

Ideally, the urine color of a healthy individual is light yellow which is due to the presence of a pigment known as urochrome. Depending upon the concentration of this pigment and water in the urine, the color of urine varies from clear to dark yellow. Also, urine is clear, odorless and transparent and any changes in the consistency of urine should not be ignored as it could be a sign of an infection. As far as color is concerned, there are several reasons which could be responsible for altering the urine color. 

Here is what your urine color tells about your health:

Dark Yellow Colored Urine 

Urine contains water and waste products such as toxins and bacteria which are excreted by the kidneys. If the urine is dark yellow in color, there is a high probability that it may contain less water than usual. This could be due to drinking less water because when you are not drinking enough water, the urine concentration increases and gives it a dark color. It is also one of the most common symptoms of dehydration.

Medical conditions such as jaundice is another common cause of dark yellow urine. Due to the impaired liver function, an excess of the pigment bilirubin gets accumulated in the body which is excreted through urine. This gives a characteristic yellow color to the urine in people suffering from jaundice which may be due to infections like viral hepatitis. Also, intake of Vitamin B complex supplements can also give dark yellow color to urine due to the presence of yellow colored pigments in the medication which are excreted through urine.

Red Colored Urine

The moment you hear red, it passes a chill down your spine. And passing red colored urine can cause a lot of anxiety. However, it may not always be a cause of worry. Interestingly, red-colored urine can also be caused by eating red colored foods such as beetroot, carrots, and blackberries. Due to the presence of the red and orange colored pigments in these foods, eating these foods can also make you pass red colored urine. 

The color, in most common cases, is due to the presence of blood in the urine which could be due to various health conditions right from kidney stones and urinary tract infection to an enlarged prostate, and cancer of the bladder or kidney. It could also be due to blood disorders such as sickle cell anemia and thalassemia.

In addition to this, there are certain medications which can also cause red colored urine. Intake of certain painkillers such as ibuprofen and anti-tubercular drugs like rifampin also give rise to red colored urine. Also, commonly used drugs for the treatment of tuberculosis such as isoniazid, at times results in light red to orange colored urine.

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Purple Colored Urine

Although it is very rare to pass purple colored urine, there are certain health conditions which can cause this symptom. The colour of urine may turn purple due to an unusual phenomenon, known as the Purple Urine Bag Syndrome. It arises as a result of urinary tract infection due to a bacterial reaction with synthetic material of the catheter or a urine collection bag. So if a person has a catheter or a urine collection bag attached such as in the case of kidney disease, then the chances of passing purple colored urine is relatively high.

White Colored Urine

The presence of an excess of calcium, phosphates and other mineral deposits in the urine is the common cause for white coloured urine. In some cases, even severe urinary tract infection may also cause pus formation due to bacterial growth which can result in white colored urine. It is also seen that people suffering from parasite infections such as filariasis report white colored urine. In this case, the urine becomes thick white which is clinically known as chyluria.

Green Colored Urine

One of the common reasons for green colored urine could be a urinary tract infection by Pseudomonas bacteria. The other health condition which can lead to green colored urine includes drug poisoning due to ingestion of pesticides or the presence of bile pigments in urine due to liver disorders. Not just health conditions, even the use of medications can cause your urine to turn green in color. The use of medicines that contain a chemical known as phenol can cause changes in the urine color. Some of the common medications which can cause green colored urine are promethazine (anti-allergic), profol (used for anesthesia), thymol (pharmaceutical stabilizer), metoclopramide (used for nausea and vomiting), amitriptyline (antidepressant) and indomethacin (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug).

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In most cases, the changes in the color of the urine could be due to eating colored foods, suffering from dehydration or less water intake or due to the use of medications. If this is the case, then the urine color might change to the usual within a day or two. However, if you still experience changes in urine color, then it is wise to consult a doctor. Also, if your urine appears cloudy in nature or if you pass red colored urine, then do book an appointment with a doctor at the earliest to know the exact cause and get it treated.

(The article is reviewed by Dr. Lalit Kanodia, General Physician)

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