What the Color of Your Pee Can Tell You About Your Health

If eyes are the window to the soul, then your pee is the window to your kidneys and your liver. It might sound less poetic, but it's true: The color of your urine says a lot about how hydrated you are and what's going on in some of your organs, and it's important to keep track of dark or extreme shades.


We turned to Dr. Scott Renshaw, family medicine physician at Indiana University Health, for a go-to guide of urine colors and what they might mean. Here's his advice:

  • Light yellow: "This is normal and means you are well hydrated," Renshaw says. Light yellow is good. You want light yellow.

  • Dark yellow: Dark yellow is usually a sign of dehydration. "Drink 24 ounces of water over the course of a few hours and see if your urine becomes lighter in color by the next day," Renshaw recommends.

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  • Bright, neon yellow: Neon yellow pee is usually the result of taking multivitamins, Renshaw says.

  • Amber or honey-colored: "It's likely from dehydration, but could also be a sign of blood in your urine," Renshaw explains. "If you up your water intake but the color doesn't go away by the next day, see your doctor."

  • Brown: Brown is bad -- Renshaw says it's either a sign of liver disease or blood in your urine.

  • Pink or red: This could either be really bad, or totally fine. "It can be caused by eating a lot of blueberries, rhubarb, or beets," Renshaw says. "But it may also be a sign of blood in your urine."

  • Orange: "While rare, it can be related to eating a lot of carrots or other orange-colored vegetables such as pumpkin or squash," Renshaw explains. "It can also indicate liver or bile duct problems." 

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  • Green or blue: Though green or blue pee might look weird, you're probably fine. "It's most commonly caused by food dyes or certain types of medications," Renshaw says. For example, methylene blue, which is used to treat urinary tract infections, can give you blue pee.

If you're worried, see sudden changes, or are getting a color that's not on his pee primer, Renshaw recommends talking to your doctor. Your pee should almost always be a light yellow, and if that's not what you're seeing in the toilet bowl, it might be time to talk to your doctor.


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