Let’s be honest, in this fast-paced life, we rarely pay attention to our urine. But, do you know that each trip to the toilet can provide you with a hefty amount of information about your health?

You wonder how? The answer is simple! Check your urine every time and notice by yourself any changes to its color, clarity, odor and other signs that I will explain to you later to give you an insight about what your urine is saying about your well-being.

What is urine?

Urine is the liquid waste of your body made (roughly 95%) water, and the rest is composed of salts and chemicals such as urea and uric acid. The average amount of urine excreted in 24 hours is between 5 – 8 cups (40-60 ounces). Your kidneys make it when they filter toxins and other bad stuff from your blood.

Many factors can affect your urine such as hydration, medications, food, and illnesses.

And below, I prepared a handy guide about any changes you might encounter and the possible reasons behind it.

Urine color

If you are well hydrated, your urine should normally be light yellow. But you definitely noticed that your urine color varies on a daily and even hourly basis. For instance, have you noticed that your urine in the early morning is a little bit darker than the rest of the day?

Let us see those different urine colors and what they possibly tell you.

Colorless urine (no color)

If your urine is completely colorless (no color) and missing any yellow hue, then I must congratulate you for overdoing it.

Having no color and visiting the toilet frequently (like every 30min–1 hour) then you are probably over-hydrated and I advise you to limit your water intake to small sips of water until your urine regains its light yellow color.


The normal yellow range

If your pee falls in this range of colors, then I can say that you are well hydrated. And keep up the good work.

Keep one important rule in your mind: If your urine color looks like lemonade – Good for you.

Whenever you notice your pee is gradually changing to darker yellow, it means you’re getting slightly dehydrated and you need to consider drinking more water.


Orange (Looks like Tang)

Now you are really dehydrated and need to have a lot of water. And if your pee didn’t return back to the normal light yellow, then it might be due to:

  • Food: Over-consumption of carrots, blackberries, beetroot, rhubarb, vitamin C or B2.
  • Medications:
    • Antibiotics like Rifampicin (Rifadin).
    • Painkillers like Phenazopyridine.
    • Some anti-inflammatory drugs (Azulfidine).
    • Chemotherapy drugs.
    • Laxatives with senna can cause an orange color.
  • If it’s not because of one of the above reasons, then I advise you to check with your doctor because it might be a sign of liver disease or gallbladder stones causing jaundice.


Pink to red

Seeing your urine with this color might be really alarming to you, but it might be something simple. I advise you to drink more water in the coming hours and monitor your urine. If it clears out and returns to its normal color (the normal yellow color), then nothing to worry about. However, if it stays the same or even worse and you are feeling other symptoms (like pain, burning sensation), then you better check it out with your doctor.


  • Food: Over-consumption of carrots, blackberries, beetroot, rhubarb, and red dyes such as those found in candy or sugary cereals.
  • Medications:
    • Antibiotics like Rifampicin (Rifadin).
    • Painkillers like Phenazopyridine.
    • Some anti-inflammatory drugs (Azulfidine).
    • Chemotherapy drugs.
    • Laxatives with senna.
  • Blood: It could be a sign of blood in your urine which might be due to an infection or having stones in your kidneys, ureters, or bladder. Additionally, could be due to enlarged prostate or tumors of kidney and bladder.


Brown (Looks like Coke)

If you notice this color, then it’s time to pay more attention to drinking water because you are severely dehydrated. Then check your pee frequently, if it didn’t return to the normal color, then it might be one of the following reasons:

  • Food: Eating large amounts of fava beans, rhubarb, aloe, and food coloring.
  • Medications: Metronidazole (Flagyl), anti-Malarial medication like Chloroquine (Aralen).
  • Medical conditions: Liver or kidney disease, porphyria (a rare genetic blood disorder).
  • Exercising too hard, which may cause muscle injury and kidney damage.


Blue / Green

It’s not common to have a blue or green pee, but most of the time it’s harmless. Here are the reasons for such color:

  • Food: Asparagus, eating a lot of food containing an artificial dye,
  • Medications: Amitriptyline, indomethacin (Indocin), cimetidine (Tagamet), and promethazine (Phenergan); also methylene blue and propofol (although these are rarely used outside of the hospital setting).
  • Medical conditions: Urinary Tract Infection caused by Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Bacteria, Blue Diaper Syndrome, or some dyes used in medical tests for the kidney, ureter, or bladder.

Cloudy or Turbid Urine

As you can see from the shown picture, the different changes in the clarity of the urine. These are caused by:

  • Dehydration
  • Urinary tract infections (such as vaginitis in women and prostatitis in men).
  • Urinary tract stones.

If it didn’t resolve within a day or two, or you are feeling other symptoms (like burning urination, abdominal pain, fever, and chills), then I advise you to seek medical help immediately.


Foamy or Fizzy Urine

If you see your urine is foamy and it happens once in a while, then nothing to worry about. However, if it frequently happens, then that might indicate there are a lot of proteins in your urine. And I advise you to see your doctor to check and evaluate your kidneys.


Urine Odor

The smell of your urine can change for so many reasons, but many of them are harmless. So, here is why it happens:

  • Dehydration: Here, your urine is concentrated and definitely changed its color to a dark yellow or orange with an ammonia-like odor. Increasing your water intake is the key to correct it.
  • Food & drinks: Asparagus and coffee are the most common reasons for strong smelling urine. (Others less common causes with a less strong odor are: Brussels, sprouts, onions, garlic, curry, salmon, and alcohol.
  • Infection: Urinary tract infection (bacterial or fungal type), vaginitis or urethritis from sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis. This gives your urine a foul smell.
  • Diabetes: Having a lot of sugar in your urine will give it a sweet and fruity smell. People with undiagnosed or uncontrolled diabetes will notice this odor together with frequent urination and urgency.


Frequent urination

I mean having a lot of trips to the toilet more than the usual which interfere with your work, hobbies, or most importantly your night’s sleep.

Most common causes for that are urinary tract infections, diabetes, prostate enlargement, and pregnancy.


Painful urination (Dysuria)

If you felt pain or a burning sensation while urinating, then it might signal for having a urinary tract infection (whether fungal or bacterial), or having stones.


Final Thoughts

Who would have thought that your urine can tell a lot about your well-being? You just need to be watchful about any changes to your urine. And I’m hoping that you will find this guide helpful in explaining thoroughly the reasons behind it. Additionally, don’t hesitate to visit your health provider if you think something is not right.



Article by Dr. Fadi Sameer, General Practitioner

Babylon Medical Services L.L.C.