Discolored Urine: The causes

What is a discolored urine?

A discolored urine can only be known when the normal color is known. Any urine that is neither deep gold nor pale yellow is abnormal urine that needs to be investigated into. Such colors to watch out for are brown, blue, red, orange or green.

A discolored urine can be caused by different things ranging from diet to medication. Dehydration as well as diseased health state can be the cause. Those caused by food, medication, and dehydration are temporary. Once you stop taking the medication or food and you take plenty of water, the discoloration will stop, too. If you have assessed your urine color and you know you have not been dehydrated, on medication or your diet, then there is an underlying medical condition to it that needs to be found out.

Let us go ahead and examine the different urine colors and what could likely be responsible for them.


Discolored urine

Photo Credit: Men’s health from A to Z


When your urine is yellow but very deep;

When the body is not well hydrated, that is, when you do not take plenty of fluids, the kidney will attempt to retain more water in the body. This means that less water will be available in the urine. More ions and organic substances will be excreted into urine. It is these substances that make the urine to be deep yellow in a dehydrated state.


When your urine is pink or red;

It can be attributed to five things. Lead and sometimes mercury poisoning, medications, food, blood and muscle injuries can cause this kind of urine coloration. Blackberries, beets, and rhubarb are some of the foods that can cause the urine to be pink or red. Certain drugs like Pyridium, rifampin and some laxatives containing senna, can bring about a red or pink urine color. Cancerous conditions, organ blockage, and infections can affect the integrity of blood vessels and make them leak blood. This can stain urine and give it a characteristic red color.


 When your urine is orange;

Certain medical conditions, dehydration, and drugs can be responsible for this. When in addition to an orange colored urine, your feces is light in color, it might be that there is something wrong with your gallbladder or liver.

Examples of certain chemotherapy drugs that can cause orange urine include; laxatives, Pyridium, sulfasalazine, and rifampin.


When your urine is blue or green;

It can be caused by food, dyes, drugs, urinary tract infections or hypercalcemia. When the food you consume contains coloring substances, when contrast dyes are used in performing certain bladder or kidney tests, when drugs like propofol, indomethacin and some multivitamins are taken, your urine is likely to be blue-green.


When your urine is brown;

Muscle injury (in severe cases), food, medical conditions, infections or medications can cause it. For instance, aloe vera, fava beans, and rhubarb can give urine this particular color. Laxatives that contain senna or cascara, primaquine, metronidazole, chloroquine, nitrofurantoin, methocarbamol, etc. can induce brown urine formation. Diseased liver, urinary tract, and kidney can as well make urine to be brown.


When you should seek medical help

Should you notice that neither your current lifestyles such as diet and medication are responsible for any of the abnormal urine color highlighted in this article, consult a doctor for immediate help.


How to diagnose the cause of A discolored urine

Upon visiting a doctor, your medical history will be taken. This will include the doctor asking you the following questions;

For how long have you been observing the strange urine color if you’ve noticed any unusual odors?

Have you observed any blood clots in the urine?

Have you experienced or have been experiencing difficulty during urination?

What other symptoms have you been having lately?

Have you been on any supplement or medication lately, whether over the counter (OTC) or recommended?

After you might have been asked these questions and others the doctors seem necessary to ask, tests will be conducted on you based on the color of the urine and symptoms presented.

A urinalysis (urine test) and blood test will then be carried out from a sample of your urine and blood. The result from your blood test will inform the doctor on what might be responsible for it. Very likely, the problem might be from a defective liver or kidney.

Ultrasound scanning of your bladder and perhaps kidney will further be done. This is primarily to view your internal organs and structure through the images that will be created.

If the doctor suspects that there is a blockage somewhere in the abdomen or pelvis, he will instruct you to do an abdominal or pelvic CT scan. This will reveal where the problem is.


Treatmrnt for discolored urine

Treatment will be dependent on the underlying cause of the urine discoloration.

The doctor will educate you on what you should rectify the problem especially if its cause is not harmful i.e. medication, food or dehydration. You can readily fix this by a simple change in your diet, stopping or changing the medication and ensuring that you are well-hydrated.

But if it is an offshoot of a medical condition, you will be guided as to what to do and when to do it.


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