The colour of urine is the great marker of our general health. It says a lot about ones well being. Normal colour of urine varies from pale yellow to amber colour. Our urine colour depends on things like, our hydration, food intake, daily exercise, medications etc. There is a wide spectrum of altered urine colour from light brown to dark brown to pink, green, orange to red. All these alterations could indicate a serious disease to watch out for.

Urochrome (gives urine yellow colour), is the byproduct filtered through kidneys and excreated in urine. Depending on our hydration status, our urine colour range from pale yellow to amber colour. Dark coloured urine can come from dehydration which can in turn could be due to less fluid intake or heavy exercise or working in hot climate. There are also certain food items and medications which can change colour of urine. We will discuss all colour variations individually to better understand them.

  • Brown Urine - Fava beans ( Baakla in Hindi) is one of the most common cause of brown urine colour. Medications likes, Nitrafurantoin/ Metronidazole/ certain laxatives can also cause brown coloured urine.
  • Light brown Urine - Cola coloured urine can also be caused due to extreme exercise leading to rhabdomyolysis( muscle breakdown). Other cause being kidney failure or disease.
  • Orange Urine - Medications like Phenazopyridine, commonly used by urologist to treat urine infections can turn urine orange. Other medications like Rifampicin, used to treat TB will change urine colour to orange. Vitamins, like vitamin C and carotene can also change colour to orange. Orange urine could also be a sign of liver disease.
  • Red Urine - It could either be a microscopic or macroscopic hematuria. Both has to be evaluated in detail, as it could be a cause of concern. Also important is to know, if it is associated with pain. A painful hematuria is most likely due to UTI or Stone disease. Painless hematuria should lead us to possibility of urological cancer as a cause of pink or red urine. Certain foods like beet root or berries are known to cause red coloured urine. A rare blood disorder, polycythemia vera can also be cause of red colour urine.
  • Blue/ Green colour urine - Vitamin B and certain medications like Amitryptiline, Propofol or some pain killer can cause orange coloured urine. Pseudomonas( a bacteria) is also known to change urine orange.
  • Cloudy urine - Its not exactly change in colour of urine but the urine appears cloudier, which may indicate UTI.

Any change in colour which persist beyond 1 day, even after taking plenty of oral fluids need thorough evaluation by an urologist. More so, if its painless red cloured urine. It could be a potential sign of urological cancer.