Have you ever panicked at the sight of a pink or red toilet bowl after urinating? Although alarming, discolored urine is most often caused by a food, beverage or medication you ingested. Urine that looks darker in color is often a sign that you are dehydrated and need to increase your water intake.
There are times, however, when a change in urine color indicates the presence of a physical disorder. Let’s look at some of the most common colors and their associated causes.
Blood in the urine (Hematuria)
- • Urinary tract infections, experienced by over half of all women
- • Kidney or bladder stones, seen more often in men
- • Kidney cysts
- • Cancerous and noncancerous tumors in the bladder and kidney, most often in older people
- • Enlarged prostate, typically in men over age 50
- • Vigorous exercise, especially long-distance running
- • Beets cause pink or red urine in 10 to 14 percent of people in a condition called “beeturia.” Although a harmless reaction, it can be startling and mistaken for blood until you remember that you ate or drank beetroot. The red beetroot pigment can also pass through the gastrointestinal tract and show up in your stool.
- • Blackberries
- • Rhubarb
Medications including rifampin, an antibiotic used to treat tuberculosis, and phenazopyridine (Pyridium), a drug that relieves urinary tract pain. Laxatives containing the senna plant can also turn urine red.
- • Medical conditions that involve the liver or bile duct, especially when coupled with light-colored stools.
- • Medications including the anti-inflammatory drug sulfasalazine, certain laxatives, some chemotherapy drugs and the rifampin and Pyridium mentioned above.
- • Foods including large amounts of fava beans, aloe or rhubarb.
- • Medications such as the antimalarial drugs chloroquine and primaquine; methocarbamol, a muscle relaxant; antibiotics metronidazole (Flagyl) and nitrofurantoin; laxatives containing senna or cascara.
- • Medical conditions including urinary tract infections and liver and kidney disorders.
- • Extreme exercise can cause muscle injury that results in cola-colored urine and kidney damage.
Blue or Green Urine
- • Dyes found in food products and those used to test bladder and kidney function.
- • Medications including amitriptyline, indomethacin (Indocin) and propofol (Diprivan).
- • Medical conditions such as a rare genetic disorder called familial benign hypercalcemia that causes blue urine in infants. Pseudomonas bacteria associated with urinary tract infections can turn urine green.
Cloudy or Murky Urine
- • Urinary tract infections and kidney stones.