HomeHealth TopicUrology

What Would Cause My Pee to Be Orange?

The Unmentionables is a series that answers common questions we all have about our bodies but are sometimes afraid to ask.

Christina Palmer, MDPatricia Pinto-Garcia, MD, MPH
Published on April 8, 2022

Key takeaways:

  • Normal urine (pee) is light yellow. Sometimes, though, you may notice that it’s dark yellow or shades of red, orange, or green.

  • Orange urine can be caused by dehydration, vitamins, or a medication side effect. Sometimes, it can also be caused by an underlying medical problem. There are some signs to look out for that could indicate a more serious problem.

  • This is why it’s important to pay attention to your urine color and talk to your healthcare provider if you notice that something is off.

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Urine (pee) should be a light yellow color. But sometimes, urine can be different colors. If you notice that your urine is orange, it could be because of a range of factors. These include dehydration, medications, or a more serious underlying medical condition. 

Read on to learn more about what it might mean if your urine is orange and what you should do about it.

What does the color of your pee say about your health? 

Urine is the product that your kidneys filter from your blood. It contains extra water and waste that your body does not need. Your kidneys send urine to your bladder. Then, you urinate it out. The color of your urine can depend on different factors, including:

  • Your hydration status

  • Supplements or medications you’re taking

  • Health conditions

  • Infections

What color should your pee be?

Normal urine can range in color from light yellow to dark yellow. The yellow hue is due to bilirubin, a waste product that’s created when your red blood cells are recycled. 

Causes of orange pee 

Orange urine can be caused by a variety of factors. Often, it is harmless and happens because you’re dehydrated. It may also happen because of something you ate or drank. Sometimes, it can be a sign of an underlying health problem. It can be orange due to high levels of bilirubin or from blood in your urine.

Can dehydration cause orange pee? Why is your pee dark yellow in the morning?

Dehydration is a common cause of darker-colored urine. This is common in the morning with your first urine of the day. It can also be dark if you have not been drinking enough water or if you are exercising and losing fluids.

Is your diet causing orange pee? 

What you eat can also impact the color of your urine. For example, when you eat food that is deeply colored, such as carrots or beets, it may turn your urine pink or red.

Are your vitamins or supplements causing orange pee?

Certain vitamins or supplements can also cause your urine to turn dark or orange. These include:

Do medications change the color of your urine?

Absolutely. Several medications can make your urine turn orange, including:

  • Phenazopyridine (Pyridium): commonly used to treat pain from urinary tract infections 

  • Rifamycins (including Rifampin): an antibiotic (often used to treat tuberculosis) that can turn your urine orange

  • Senna: a laxative that can make your urine turn orange

  • Sulfasalazine: an anti-inflammatory medication used for ulcerative colitis that can turn your urine dark yellow or orange (and can even make your skin look more yellow)

  • Doxorubicin: a chemotherapy medication that can turn your urine orange

Other medications that can make your pee orange are:

If you notice a urine color change after starting a medication, discuss it with your healthcare provider.

Do you have a serious health condition causing your orange pee? 

Some underlying health conditions can also change the color of your urine. This includes:

  • Bile duct or liver disease: If there is a problem in your liver or bile ducts and bilirubin increases in the bloodstream, it can cause orange urine. 

  • Kidney disease: Certain health conditions related to your kidneys can cause dark urine, which may look orange or brown.

  • Urinary tract infection: Infections can also cause dark-colored urine, often in addition to other symptoms like pain with urination.

Can an STD change the color of your urine?

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs or STDs) won’t typically change the color of your urine. But they could cause other symptoms, such as burning with urination or vaginal discharge. If you have concerns about an STD, ask your healthcare provider about testing.

What are some healthy things you can do if your urine is pungent and discolored?

If you notice that your urine looks dark or has a strong odor, the first step is to talk to your healthcare provider. Changes in your urine can be a sign of a more serious health condition. Before your visit, try to drink more water.

The bottom line

Normal urine is light yellow, but it can be darker. Orange urine can have many causes, like dehydration and medications. Sometimes, orange urine can indicate that there’s a more serious issue, such as with your liver or kidneys. So it’s important to be evaluated by your healthcare provider.

The Unmentionables is a series that focuses on common curiosities about our bodies that, at some point, have been labeled as taboo, shameful, or embarrassing. But these are important questions we all have about our health, and we should be able to ask them. This series aims to dispel the stigma, normalize the discussion, and openly address these important health topics.

Don’t be shy. Someone else has the same question, so ask away!

References

Foot, C. L., et al. (2006). Uroscopic rainbow: Modern matula medicine. Postgraduate Medical Journal.

Hoilat, G. J., et al. (2021). Bilirubinuria. StatPearls.

View All References (8)

MedlinePlus. (2022). Urine - abnormal color.

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2020). The urinary tract & how it works.

National Institutes of Health. (2021). Riboflavin.

Perrier, E. T., et al. (2016). Urine colour change as an indicator of change in daily water intake: A quantitative analysis. European Journal of Nutrition.

Saleem, M. O., et al. (2021). Hematuria. StatPearls.

Sauder, H. M., et al. (2021). Beeturia. StatPearls.

University of California, Irvine Health. (2016). What color is your urine?.

University of Rochester Medical Center. (n.d.). Riboflavin.

GoodRx Health has strict sourcing policies and relies on primary sources such as medical organizations, governmental agencies, academic institutions, and peer-reviewed scientific journals. Learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate, thorough, and unbiased by reading our editorial guidelines.

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