Urine - abnormal color
Toggle: English / Spanish
Urine of an abnormal color appears different from the usual straw-yellow color. Abnormally colored urine may be cloudy, dark, or blood-colored.
See also: Urine, bloody or dark
Discoloration of urine
Tell your health care provider about any changes in urine color that do not go away, or that do not seem to be caused by a food or drug. This is very important if the urine changes color for longer than a day or two, or you have repeated episodes.
Some dyes used in food may be released in the urine. A wide variety of drugs can change the urine color.
Diseases that can change the urine color include:
Cloudy or milky urine is a sign of a urinary tract infection, which may also cause a bad smell. Milky urine may also be caused by bacteria, crystals, fat, white or red blood cells, or mucus in the urine.
Dark brown but clear urine is a sign of a liver disorder such as acute viral hepatitis or cirrhosis, which causes excess bilirubin in the urine.
Pink, red, or lighter brown urine can be caused by:
Dark yellow or orange urine can be caused by:
B complex vitamins or carotene
Medications such as phenazopyridine (used to treat urinary tract infections), rifampin, and warfarin
Recent laxative use
Green or blue urine is due to:
Call your health care provider if
Make an appointment with your health care provider if you have:
What to expect at your health care provider's office
The health care provider will perform a physical exam, which may include a rectal or pelvic exam. You will be asked questions about your medical history and symptoms, including:
- Time pattern
- When did this color change begin?
- Did this begin suddenly?
- What color is your urine?
- Is it always the same color throughout the day?
- Do you urinate more or less often than usual?
- Can you see blood in the urine?
- Is the urine an unusual odor?
- Factors that make it worse
- What medicines do you take?
- Have you eaten foods such as colored candy, beets, berries, or rhubarb?
- What other symptoms do you have? (For example, pain when urinating, abdominal pain, back pain, or fever)
- Are you drinking fewer fluids or are less thirsty?
- Do you have a decreased appetite?
- Have you had any urinary problems or kidney problems?
- Do you have any allergies?
Tests that may be done include:
Gerber GS, Brendler CB. Evaluation of the urologic patient: History, physical examination, and the urinalysis. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 3.
Landry DW, Bazari H. Approach to the patient with renal disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 116.
- Last Reviewed on 09/16/2011
- David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Scott Miller, MD, Urologist in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2013 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
This page was last updated: May 31, 2013