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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Certain vitamins or supplements can also cause your urine to turn dark or orange. These include:
Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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