URINE COLOR | WHAT DOES IT SAY ABOUT MY HEALTH?

Psychologists believe colors influence our thoughts, alter our actions, and cause us to react in certain ways. In this regard, the appearance (color) of the urine offers salient signals about our health and prompts us to act accordingly. It can be a cue to hydration or electrolyte levels as our kidneys filter out by-products of metabolism and toxins from our system.

What the color of your urine means

As stated by Dr. Kaaki, “A healthy urine color range is from pale yellow to amber-colored urine”. Urine color is characterized by subtle shades of yellow to deep amber, which is due to the presence of a pigment christened urochrome or urobilin and how diluted or concentrated the urine is.

Other pigments such as food color or other compounds in certain foods and medications can alter the colour of urine. Increased fluid intake consequently results in a lighter shade of the pigment in your urine and vice versa.

In women, life events such as pregnancy can influence the pigment in urine as there is up to 50 per cent increase in blood volume. Consequently, urine might appear clearer and more diluted during this period.

A urine colour chart comes in handy in determining if the colour of your urine is a recurrent deviation from normal.

urine color

Urine Color – Dark yellow urine

According to Dr. Michael A. Palese, an American urologist who specializes in robotic, laparoscopic and endoscopic surgery at Mount Sinai, when your urine is amber- or honey-colored, or even a dark orange, it might be an indication that your body isn’t getting enough water. “If you’re dehydrated and you are holding on to more of the actual water itself, the urine will become darker and darker”.

In addition to darker urine, dehydration can also manifest as fatigue, chills, bad breath, sugar cravings, or muscle cramps. Expert urologist recommends 1.5 to 2 liters of water daily, in addition to other fluids. Maintaining this amount is sure to dilute the toxins and metabolites in your system.

Furthermore, medications can give urine a dark yellow or orange hue. The drugs in this zone include Phenazopyridine, Urispas, Nitrofurantoin, Elmiron often prescribed to treat urinary tract infection (UTI) pain, and Sulfasalazine, used to treat ulcerative colitis.

Urine Color – Dark brown urine

Food colors such as those used in brown ale or Coca-Cola, consuming large amounts of rhubarb, fava beans, and aloe are associated with this. Dark brown urine may also suggest severe dehydration.

Worse still, it could be as a result of a slowly dissolving blood clot formed by trauma or due to a recent urologic procedure.

Other notable culprits include certain broad-spectrum antibiotics such as Metronidazole and Nitrofurantoin, purgatives like cascara or senna, muscle relaxants such as Methocarbamol and certain high blood pressure medications like Methyldopa.

Additionally, dark brown urine could indicate a more serious development such as liver disease. Bestowing to Dr. Palese, “If someone has poor liver function, that can manifest itself in dark yellow or brown urine”.

Also, if you have a history of melanoma you should also be on the lookout for this shade. “If your urine turns brown, it may indicate the presence of melanin, which is associated with progression of cancer,” explains Thomas Novak, MD Pediatric Urology specialist in San Antonio.

In any of these cases, scheduling an appointment with a physician would be ideal.

Urine ColorRed or pink urine

Urine color

Urine, most times, turns pink or red when there’s an injury or trauma to the urinary tract, urinary tract infection, kidney stones, malignant or non-malignant tumors, strenuous physical exercise or other conditions which affect the kidneys or other accessory organs such as ureters, bladder or urethra causing blood to leak into the urine.

Additionally, consuming foods like carrots, blackberries, beets, rhubarb, etc., can lead to a pinkish-red color. Medications are implicated as well, such as a side effect of antibiotics like Rifampin or Phenazopyridine – a commonly prescribed drug for urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Whatever be the case, if you’re certain that the color is not associated with your diet, its best to see the physician.

Urine ColorBlue or green urine

As scary as this may be, it could be as a result of brightly colored food dyes or dyes used in clinical investigations of kidney and bladder functions.

Notably, a number of medications are capable of producing blue or green urine. These include; Amitriptyline – a prescription for nerve pains; Indomethacin (Indocin or Tivorbex) – an anti-inflammatory drugs used to relieve pain, swelling, and joint stiffness caused by arthritis, gout, bursitis, and tendonitis; Propofol (Diprivan) – an anesthetic used to induce and maintain a loss of consciousness.

Rarely, blue or green urine can be a sign of familial hypercalcemia, also known as blue diaper syndrome. Blue diaper syndrome is an uncommon autosomal recessive metabolic disorder generally observed in infants. It is characterized by bluish urine-stained diapers. This syndrome is also known as Drummond’s Syndrome. It is majorly caused by a defect in tryptophan absorption.

Bottom line

While it is common to ignore subtle health changes, it could eventually be self-destructive. Addressing changes in one’s urine color or urinating pattern could be the first step to averting a major health issue.

On the contrary, if you’re one to obsess about your health – believing that normal body sensations or minor symptoms are signs of severe illness, even when proved otherwise with a thorough medical exam, then you will have to diligently equip yourself with the right information.

Summarily, if the uncommon change in urine color becomes persistent despite improved fluid intake, dietary or medication adjustments, it is best to visit the doctor promptly.

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