Why is urine colored

This is what urine is made of

The kidneys have the job of filtering pollutants and waste products from the blood. These substances are excreted in the urine, which is 95 percent water. The remaining five percent are urea, salts, hormones and dyes. The yellow color comes from the bile pigment bilirubin, which is a breakdown product of the blood pigment.

Normal, healthy urine is clear, odorless, and light yellow in color. If your urine looks like this, you are drinking enough and there are no signs of illness. The less you drink, the darker the urine because the concentration of urea is higher. However, the urine can also change color. Various factors can cause the urine to change color. We explain the causes of the different colors.

Whitish, cloudy urine

Whitish-cloudy urine contains whitish-colored urine particles. These can indicate a malfunction of the kidneys as well as wound processes in the urinary tract. It is also possible that the whitish-cloudy urine is connected to tissue residues.

Light yellow to dark yellow urine

A slightly strong yellow tone is also nothing to worry about. Your hydration is normal, but it shouldn't be less. Dietary supplements can turn urine a bright yellow color. These include preparations with vitamins B2 and B12, as well as vitamin D. With high doses of vitamin B12, the urine can also turn slightly reddish. If in doubt, have the symptoms clarified by a doctor.

Orange to brown urine

Dark, orange urine can initially indicate that the amount of water you are drinking is too low.

Hepatitis A, B, C, D, or E

If the color of the urine does not change in spite of increased fluid intake, this may indicate a liver disease, e.g. hepatitis A, B, C, D, or E indicate. Hepatitis A, B, C, and D often show signs like:

  • Exhaustion
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache, muscle and joint pain
  • Nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, and fever
  • Aversion to fat and alcohol
With hepatitis E there are also upper abdominal pain, fatigue, discolored stools and jaundice (jaundice). In the latter, the skin and the white conjunctiva of the eye are discolored yellow.
Cirrhosis of the liver, i.e. persistent damage with hardening, scarring and shrinking of the tissue, can also promote orange or brown urine.
Orange-colored urine also often occurs when the gall bladder excretes more of the bile pigment bilirubin. This happens when the bile duct, e.g. through gallstones ignited or even locked is.
The antibiotic nitrofurantoin can discolour the urine from orange to brown.
Too much beta-carotene (e.g. in carrots) can turn the urine slightly orange.

Dark urine: Brown to black in color

In drugs for the Parkinson'sDisease, the active ingredients L-dopa or alpha-methyldopa are contained, which can turn the urine brownish to black. Even with the hereditary one Metabolic disease Alkaptonuria is the color of the urine. The reason for this is an enzyme defect, which means that the so-called homogentisic acid cannot be converted, so it accumulates in the blood and discolors the urine when it comes into contact with air.
At black skin cancer ("Malignant melanoma") in the advanced stage it often happens that the pigment melanin breaks down in large numbers and is excreted in the urine.
Another cause of brown urine, which can be life-threatening, is the so-called Rhabdomyolysis. A kind of coat that surrounds the muscle cells breaks and pushes the muscle content outwards. This can happen if you exercise too hard. The broken cells release the muscle pigment myoglobin, which floods the kidneys. The urine turns brown. The dye attacks the kidney cells in large quantities, clogging the smallest vessels so that the urine can no longer drain. Kidney failure threatens. A Rhabdomyolysisoften feels like sore muscles at first, however, the symptoms are getting worse and the affected tissue can swell.

Green and blue urine

These colors are less common in urine, but can be caused by certain drug occur. Amitriptyline (antidepressants), propofol (narcotics), indomethacin (anti-inflammatory drugs) or mitoxantrone (cancer therapy) can promote this coloration of the urine.
Even Food coloring like brilliant blue FCF (E133) or patent blue V (E131) can discolour acidic urine greenish. The dye methyl blue, which comes from Asia and is not approved in Europe, can also turn the urine green. This is, for example, in Asian sweets that are brought back from vacation.

Red urine

Urine colored red suggests at first sight blood indicate. The causes for this can be kidney diseases such as kidney stones or kidney inflammation. Urinary tract infections like a bladder infection, side effects of medication (for example the antibiotic Rifampicin), vascular disease, or foreign bodies in the urethra can also cause blood in the urine. In order to determine the exact cause and, if necessary, to rule out further illnesses, you should definitely consult a doctor.

Reddish urine is harmless if it is caused by excessive consumption of food Carotenes is caused. The ingredient is found in carrots or tomatoes, for example. Beetroot can also be due to its ingredient Betanin cause urine to turn red for a short time. Another cause of red urine can be muscle damage, e.g. from bruising. The muscle protein is produced via the lymphatic system and the blood Myoglobin broken down and excreted in the urine. By the way, myoglobin is also responsible for the reddish color in medium-fried steaks.

Urine test strips

If your urine is discolored, you can refer to it Urine test strips Test other ingredients from the pharmacy. These strips provide information about the ingredients in a very short time and provide information about possible diseases.

This is what the urine strip tests:

  • Leukocytes (white blood cells)
  • Erythrocytes (red blood cells)
  • Protein content
  • Ketones (breakdown product of fatty acids)
  • Glucose content (sugar)
  • PH value
The test strip consists of several fields that change color when they come into contact with urine. Using different Color gradations see how your urine is made up. An increased sugar content can indicate diabetes. Excessive amounts of ketones are a sign of insufficient insulin. If the values ​​are noticeably changed, you should consult a doctor.

Diagnosis and treatment

In order to be able to make a diagnosis, a urologist or nephrologist takes a urine sample and examines it first with a test strip. Components, e.g. bacteria, wanted that otherwise do not belong in the urine. It can be useful that Urea concentration to eat. To do this, the patient collects his urine in a vessel for 24 hours. This is analyzed and provides information about the filter performance of the kidneys.
Dark urine is treated with appropriate measures once the correct diagnosis has been made. Drinking plenty of fluids is recommended if you are dehydrated. In the case of liver and gallbladder diseases, the patient is treated with medication. If gallstones are the cause, they are removed surgically or with a mirror. If there is inflammation, the doctor will prescribe an antibiotic.

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