What Does The Color Of Your Urine Say About your Health?
Have you ever gone to the bathroom one morning to pee and be like “What the f***!” Yeah, it’s a familiar experience for me considering all the different lifeforms I encounter in my bathroom these days. But your surprise wasn’t because you saw another creature in the bathroom, it was because you saw the strange color of your urine. Have you been left confused by the strange color of your urine lately? Do you think there could be something wrong with your health but can’t seem to place a finger on it? Then you’ve come to the right place for answers. I’m here to enlighten you (and scare you obviously) so you know when it’s time to seek professional help and waste no time doing so. So what does the color of your urine say about your general wellbeing?
What is The Healthy Urine Color?
Should urine be colored in the first place? Well, the answer varies with a number of factors. Assuming you’re in perfect health, the color of your ‘normal’ healthy urine should range from pale yellow to deep amber, and this is because urine contains a pigment called Urochrome. However, stronger coloration could result when you’re dehydrated.
Other factors such as the type of drinks, drugs, and foods you consume may tweak that color a little and you could start seeing some astonishing colors. Well, because the urine is filtered from the blood by the kidneys, you can easily detect when something’s wrong with your health from the color of your urine. Yeah, it may not be the best health indicator available, but the human body has been engineered in such a way that certain diseases cause easily identifiable changes in normal body processes and function. In response, your body does its best to alert you somehow before a major breakdown occurs.
Similar to the way the color and appearance of the nails change as a result of underlying health problems, the color of the urine also mirrors your health status and should not be overlooked.
The darker your urine, the more concentrated it is. There are changes in color that occur normally during the course of the day. One instance everyone can relate to is the fact that the first urine released in the morning is often darker in color than urine released any other time of the day. This is perfectly normal for everyone. However, drugs and certain diseases may also influence the color of the urine since 99% of drugs, hormones, and toxic substances are eliminated from the body via the urinary system. These unusual colors may also be due to some hidden problems in your body and as scientists, it’s our job to detect these problems and find solutions to them ASAP.
Without further ado, here is a list of possible urine colors and what they signify.
Clear or Light or Pale Yellow
Some people ask why their urine is almost as clear as water. Well, this is actually the ideal urine color of a hydrated and healthy person. If you see very light yellow or clear urine, it means you are very well hydrated and your body is functioning properly. This usually happens when a person drinks more water than the body really needs in a bid to stay hydrated. If you don’t drink enough water, you risk suffering from dehydration and the accumulation of mineral crystals in the urinary tract. However, drinking way too much water could lead to a condition termed water intoxication or water poisoning.
Green Urine (Phenylketonuria)
Not the typical urine color you would expect from a normal human being. And No, the urine is not produced green. This is a common symptom of the genetic disease caused by an in-borne error in Tyrosine metabolism. This happens during the synthesis of the amino acid Tyrosine from Phenylalanine, a reaction catalyzed by the enzyme phenylalanine hydroxylase. The disorder was first identified in 1934 by Norwegian Doctor, Follis. He observed that the urine of 10 mentally defective children gave a green coloration when Ferric chloride was added. This is because of the accumulation of an abnormal metabolite of Tyrosine in the urine (Phenylpyruvate). The signs and symptoms of phenylketonuria (PKU) vary from mild to severe. Infants with classic phenylketonuria appear normal until they are a few months old. Without treatment, these children develop permanent intellectual disabilities. Seizures, delayed development, behavioral problems, and psychiatric disorders are also common.
Your urine may have a dark yellow coloration as a result of consuming some medications or from dehydration. When you drink too little water, your body gets less water to form the urine, so it turns dark yellow because of the increased concentration of the pigment Urochrome and other dissolved solutes. It is usually dark early in the morning as the intake of water overnight is low. In another more serious scenario, if you notice that the color of your urine is always dark, seek medical help immediately because it could also be a sign of liver damage and hepatitis.
Fluorescent Yellow Urine
Having fluorescent yellow urine is more likely to happen if you consume more of Riboflavin (vitamin B2) in your diet; which is yellow in color. If you eat more riboflavin-rich foods than your body requires, then excess riboflavin is excreted in the urine and it gives a fluorescent yellow color or neon yellow.
If you see plain yellow urine, it means your body is not well hydrated. The major reason why you’ll produce plain yellow urine is due to excessive sweating or low hydration. This is just an indication that you should be drinking more liquids to avoid dehydration. Dehydration could potentially lead to other problems that will be more difficult to deal with.
It was first observed by Archibald Garrod that the urine produced by some individuals turned black when exposed to air. This disorder is also caused by a problem in amino acid metabolism and the disease is called Alkaptonuria (black urine disease, black bone disease, or alcaptonuria). It is a rare inherited genetic disorder in which the body cannot process the amino acids phenylalanine and tyrosine, which is present in the proteins we eat. Read more about this rare genetic disorder here.
This color is due to the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract. It indicates that the urinary tract could be infected or the presence of kidney stones.
Red or pink
Your urine could be red or pink when you consume a lot of food made with red dye or foods with natural red colors like beetroot and berries. In a more serious scenario, it could indicate that red blood cells are getting in the urine. This could happen when there are problems in the urinary system, kidney stones, or strenuous or aerobic exercise, which can cause the breakdown of red blood cells.
No no no, this doesn’t happen because you drank orange juice. Some medications used to ease urinary problems can cause the urine to turn orange. Besides, the consumption of carrots or carrot juice can give a tinge of orange color to your urine so you can be forgiven for thinking orange juice earlier.
Blue or Green
A common dye found in many medicines can turn your urine blue or green. Blue or green urine color is also likely to be produced when you consume foods made with artificial coloring or if you eat lots of asparagus.
For a proper understanding of the different color types, check the urine color chart below for more information:
Under normal circumstances, a slight change in the color of your urine should be nothing to worry about. If the color continues for more than 24 hours and you notice accompanying symptoms, the only way to be safe is to see your doctor as soon as possible.
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