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What Color Is Your Urine?

Today's Medicine

It’s OK … we all do it. Look before you flush.
Believe it or not, the color and consistency of your urine can say a lot about your health.

Health clues from color

The most optimal color for your urine is a pale yellow. If it is a darker yellow or orange, it can mean you are becoming dehydrated. An orange urine could indicate a serious liver condition. Darker brown can be caused by foods or medication.

Cloudy urine can indicate the presence of phosphates which can lead to kidney stones. Urine that’s consistently foamy and frothy suggests a possible kidney issue.

Never ignore a bright red urine. That can signal a bladder or kidney issue that needs a doctor’s attention.

Is it a UTI?

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) may also cause an abnormal appearance of the urine such as cloudiness, brown or red color, or an unusual smell.  A UTI is nearly always accompanied by symptoms such as: needing to urinate more than normal, an intense feeling of needing to urinate, pain or burning with urination, or lower abdominal pain/discomfort. 

Be sure to tell your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.  Cloudy or smelly urine by themselves should not be interpreted as indicators of a UTI.

An important test

When you go to the doctor, he or she may ask you to take a urinalysis. That test allows providers to see just what’s indicated by your urine.

Methodist Physicians Clinic Regency family medicine provider Dr. Jeffrey Jenkins tells us more about what a urinalysis may indicate.

Jeffrey Jenkins

About the Author:

As a family medicine provider, Dr. Jeffrey Jenkins likes all aspects of his profession, but especially enjoys helping patients manage their chronic health conditions. Dr. Jenkins received all of his medical training at the Creighton University School of Medicine.

You can visit with Dr. Jenkins at the family medicine clinic at Methodist Physicians Clinic Regency.

See More Articles by Jeffrey Jenkins