Urine Color, Your Health & When to Call a Doctor

It might come as a shock, but the color of your urine can say a lot about you and your overall health. Although the tint of your urine varies depending on how hydrated you are, it can also indicate a UTI, liver or kidney disorders, tumors and more. Do not fret – discolored pee can also (and more likely) be caused by new medications, dehydration, dyes, vitamins, and certain foods.

Brightly colored urine sample in specimen cup sits on counter in focus as urologist in white coat makes notes on clipboard in background. Urologic Surgeons of Washington logo at top left.

What Does the Color Mean?

Urinating is a way for the body to expel excess water and soluble waste that it does not need. That means the extra vitamins and nutrients that you consume are filtered out through the kidneys and turned into urine. When you drink enough water, your urine should be very light yellow or straw colored.

When should you pay closer attention? Here are some of the colors and causes of abnormal urine:

  • Cloudy: can be an indicator of a urinary tract infection (UTI), kidney infection, kidney stones, sexually transmitted infection (STI), or dehydration.
  • Foamy: can indicate that you have too much protein in your urine – a sign of kidney problems. This symptom can be present regardless of the color of your urine.
  • Blue/green: food dyes in your diet, vitamin B medications, or medical conditions such as familial benign hypercalcemia (aka blue diaper syndrome).
  • Red/pink: overconsumption of colored foods such as beets or blackberries, medications, blood in urine
  • Orange: medications, vitamin C, medical conditions involving your liver or bile duct, dehydration.
  • Brown: medical conditions such as liver disease, dehydration, kidney failure, extreme exercise
  • Blood in your urine (hematuria) can be harmless or indicate serious disorders such as prostate problems, kidney disease, or cancer. Not all blood in the urine can be seen. Some can only be detected through a urine test at your doctor’s office.

When to See a Doctor

As you can see, abnormal color of urine can be caused by a variety of things. If you have recently started a new medication and notice a strange tint to your urine, it might be just a side-effect of that medication. Various shades of yellow and orange can be the result of your level of hydration. More times than not, it is probably not a big deal. However, you should always err on the side of caution.

If you are worried about the color of your urine, call your urologist today. Even if it is as simple as needing to drink more water, it is a good idea to rule out a more serious condition. Contact us if you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our urologists. USW has been providing the best possible urologic care to the Washington, D.C. area for over 45 years with the mission to achieve the highest level of patient care.


Urologic Surgeons of Washington is a proud member of Privia Medical Group. The best doctors in our community have joined together to form Privia Medical Group (PMG), a multi-specialty, high-performance medical group that puts patients first. Our physicians are united by the mission of providing better, more coordinated care for their patients.

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