URL of this page: //www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003139.htm

Urine - abnormal color

The usual color of urine is straw-yellow. Abnormally colored urine may be cloudy, dark, or blood-colored.


Abnormal urine color may be caused by infection, disease, medicines, or food you eat.

Cloudy or milky urine is a sign of a urinary tract infection, which may also cause a bad smell. Milky urine may also be caused by bacteria, crystals, fat, white or red blood cells, or mucus in the urine.

Dark brown but clear urine is a sign of a liver disorder such as acute viral hepatitis or cirrhosis, which causes excess bilirubin in the urine.

Pink, red, or lighter brown urine can be caused by:

Dark yellow or orange urine can be caused by:

  • B complex vitamins or carotene
  • Medications such as phenazopyridine (used to treat urinary tract infections), rifampin, and warfarin
  • Recent laxative use

Green or blue urine is due to:

  • Artificial colors in foods or drugs
  • Bilirubin
  • Medications, including methylene blue
  • Urinary tract infections

When to Contact a Medical Professional

See your health care provider if you have:

  • Abnormal urine color that cannot be explained and does not go away
  • Blood in your urine, even once
  • Clear, dark-brown urine
  • Pink, red, or smoky-brown urine that is not due to a food or drug

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

The health care provider will perform a physical exam. This may include a rectal or pelvic exam. The doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms such as:

  • When did you first notice a change in urine color and how long have you had the problem?
  • What color is your urine and does the color change during the day? Do you see blood in the urine?
  • Are there things that make the problem worse?
  • What types of foods have you been eating and what medicines do you take?
  • Have you had urinary or kidney problems in the past?
  • Are you having any other symptoms (such as increase such as pain, fever, or increase in thirst)?

Tests that may be done include:

Alternative Names

Discoloration of urine


Gerber GS, Brendler CB. Evaluation of the urologic patient: History, physical examination, and the urinalysis In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 3.

Landry DW, Bazari H. Approach to the patient with renal disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 116.

Update Date 12/27/2013

Related MedlinePlus Health Topics