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What does the color of urine tell us about our health

  1. Human urine has always been important in making a particular diagnosis. The color, texture and smell of the urine can reveal a lot about the general health of our body. What is the normal color of urine and which color could indicate a certain condition? What is the ideal acidity and is the presence of bacteria a cause for panic?

Properties of healthy urine

  1. Urine contains much more than just metabolic waste products. After all, it contains more chemicals than saliva or cerebrospinal fluid (cerebrospinal fluid), which means that urine contains a lot of information about the general health of our body. When the urine sample from a healthy person is analyzed, it will have the following properties:

Yellow (normal) urine

  1. Urine owes its yellow color to the pigmented substance, also known as urochrome, which is produced in our body on a constant basis. The intensity of the yellow color is highly dependent on the amount of fluid that the individual absorbs and is excreted in the urine.

Orange urine

  1. As mentioned earlier, it is quite normal for urine to take on an orange color and does not necessarily mean that the body is under-hydrated. Just think of the morning puddle which will always be yellow-orange in color because we don't drink that often at night.

Clear urine

  1. As already mentioned, urine can become colorless with a high fluid intake. Also, the use of a large amount of diuretics (urine production enhancers) such as alcohol and caffeine can lead to a lower concentration of urochrome and therefore colorless urine.

Red urine

  1. When excretion fluids show a red color, this is often due to the presence of red blood cells, hemoglobin (breakdown of red blood cells) or myoglobin (breakdown of muscle cells).

Blue urine

  1. Blue urine is very uncommon and is mainly a side effect of medications such as methylene blue (co-poisoning treatment and surgical dye), viagra, indomethacin or propofol (anesthesia). These can also cause green urine when the blue color mixes with the yellow urochrome.

Green urine

  1. The orange-yellow pigment bilirubin in the liver can convert to a greenish pigment called biliverdin after reacting with oxygen. This reaction takes place in the liver bile, but when this substance is present in the urine, it can be an indication of malfunctioning of certain organs. This pigment also becomes visible after shaking. In the presence of the pigment biliverdin a green foam will form.

Other causes for green urine to develop include:

  1. A pseudomonal bacterial or urinary tract infection. Presence of a fistula between the intestines and the urinary tract causing a leakage of bile. Dietary supplements with chlorophyll provide a temporary green color when urinating. Medication such as promethazine, thymol and cimetidine

Purple urine

  1. Purple urine indicates a high concentration of waste products in the blood and can indicate kidney failure. Porphyria, a collective name for a group of quite rare, usually hereditary metabolic diseases that result in an accumulation of porphyrins (naturally occurring substances for the production of hemoglobin) in the body, will cause the urine to turn dark purple.

Brown to black urine

  1. Dark brown urine can be caused by an abundance of the substance bilirubin which has been converted to biliverdin after reaction with oxygen (biliverdin can range from green to brown). As already mentioned, this can indicate malfunctioning of organs. Brown-black urination can also be the result of oxidized red blood cells or myoglobin which can lead to potentially harmful conditions (see red urine).

Other causes for brown to black urine to develop include:

  1. In alkaptonuria disease, the urine will turn black when exposed to the air. However, this disease is accompanied by quite serious symptoms including: decreased heart function, arthritis, kidney stones and prostate stones. Medication: Metronidazole is used for infections with anaerobic bacteria and has certain side effects, including a reddish-brown urine color. Laxatives intramuscular injections of iron also result in a black urine color.

Cloudy and white urine

  1. When urine appears cloudy or white, accompanied by a strong odor or an increase in the number of white blood cells, it may be a symptom of an infection of the kidneys or urinary tract. An opaque or milky color indicates the presence of red blood cells or mucus. This mucus can indicate many conditions including a urinary tract infection, a sexually transmitted disease, stones or even a tumor.


  1. The color of urine is important and can easily indicate that something is wrong in the body. However, the color is just the beginning. Further investigation is necessary to identify the specific cause of an unusual urine color. For example, your urine may look pink after a healthy beetroot lunch, but it could just as well be a urinary tract infection. Further in-depth research is therefore necessary.

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