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  • Natalie Rogers, HHP

What Color Is YOUR Urine?


How much do you know about your urine? When you are feeling down and sluggish, or not feeling well, do you analyze your urine output for any indications of illness? I know I do! Becoming familiar with your urine output can be a very beneficial tool to know what is going on in your body and if there is no balance of homeostasis. In this article I will go over the color and clarity of urine, the odor (which are things you can analyze at home), the compounds that are found in your urine, and the different pH ranges.


A urine analysis is a wonderful tool used by many physicians to find out how your body is functioning. They can see many different things on these tests which include infections, diseases, drug usage, and even if you are pregnant. When it comes to urine characteristics, color plays a big role. Normal urine colors can vary from light yellow, yellow, dark yellow, amber, and dark amber. Your urine should typically be clear or translucent, but sometimes it can be cloudy if you are consuming high levels of fat or phosphate in your diet. (Patton, & Thibodeau, 2016) If your urine does not fall into these color categories and is abnormal, this could be related to pathological conditions, certain foods you may have eaten, as well as different pharmaceutical drugs. Pathological conditions would include, but not limited to, kidney cancer which would turn urine red, kidney stones which would turn urine red, bile duct obstruction from gallstones which makes urine orange/yellow due to bilirubin, and a pseudomonas infection which can turn the urine green from bacterial toxins.


Foods which can contribute to the color of your urine include beets which make it turn red, rhubarb which can make the urine brown (Publications, 2010), carrots which turn the color to a dark yellow, and vitamin supplements which can turn the urine a very bright yellow due to the passing of excess vitamin B.

Some medications which effect the color of our urine include pyridium;orange, dilantin;pink or reddish brown, dyrenium; pale blue, and rifampin; red or orange.


If your urine is cloudy, similar to soapy water, this could be due to bacteria, blood cells, casts which have formed in the renal tubes, proteinuria which is protein, or crystals which is from uric acid or phosphate/calcium oxalate. (Patton, & Thibodeau, 2016) If you find that your urine is abnormal in color, it is best to seek advice from a medical professional so you can have them run a urine analysis to see what is going on.

Our urine is composed of 95% water, and the other five percent consists of mineral ions such as Na+, Cl-, and K+. It also contains nitrogenous wastes such as ammonia, creatinine, urea, and uric acid. These compounds are all normally found in our urine. If ketones, proteins, glucose, crystals (from uric acid, phosphate, or calcium oxalate), or pigments are found during the analysis, this is abnormal and can indicate an issue that needs addressing. (Patton, & Thibodeau, 2016)

Typically when we go to relieve our bladder in the restroom, we don’t get a strong odor from our urine. If we do, sometimes we can trace that back to the asparagus we had eaten for dinner. If your urine has a slight odor to it, this is considered a normal characteristic. Odors to look out for which could indicate a problem would be if the urine smells strong, sweet, and fruity which could indicate uncontrolled diabetes mellitus. A foul smelling odor could indicate a possible urinary tract infection (UTI) (Publications, 2010), a musty odor can indicate phenylketonuria, and an odor which is similar to maple syrup could be a congenital defect in the way you are metabolizing proteins. (Patton, & Thibodeau, 2016) Being aware of what your personal normal is for your urine can be helpful in analyzing your own health.

When it comes to holistic health, we aim for an alkalized pH. The normal pH of our urine though can range from 4.6 to 8.0. The typical average is 6.0. Foods and drugs can make the pH of your urine vary throughout the day. This includes meat, cranberries, citrus fruits, and dairy products. Diuretics and antacids also contribute to altering the pH of your urine. If your urine is high in alkalosis, this could mean that your kidneys are compensating by excreting excess base. If it is low in acidosis, this could mean that the kidneys are compensating by excreting excess H+. (Patton, & Thibodeau, 2016)


As you can see, our urine can tell us many things regarding our health whether we have an infection, we need to drink more water, or whether a woman is pregnant or not. Learning how to analyze our urine at home, at least the color and odor, could be very helpful in taking control of our own health. If you find that your urine output is abnormal and you are unsure why, please seek advice from a medical professional so they can run the proper tests to diagnose the issue.

References

Patton, K., & Thibodeau, G. (2016). Structure & function of the body (1st ed.). St. Louis, Missouri: Elsevier.

Publications, H. (2010). Urine color and odor changes - Harvard Health. Harvard Health. Retrieved 10 April 2017, from http://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and- conditions/urine-color-and-odor-changes

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