Urine Color

Would you like to know what lab results mean? Medical Tests Analyzer Software will explain and clarify your lab test report.

Macroscopic urinalysis is the direct visual observation of the urine, noting its quantity, color, clarity or cloudiness, etc.
Urine is a transparent solution that can range from colorless to amber but is usually a pale yellow. In the urine of a healthy individual, the color comes primarily from the presence of urobilin. Urobilin in turn is a final waste product resulting from the breakdown of heme from hemoglobin during the destruction of aging blood cells.

Test results
Normal urine is typically light yellow and clear without any cloudiness. Colorless urine indicates over-hydration, which is usually considered much healthier than dehydration (to some extent however over-hydration can remove essential salts from the body). In the context of a drug test, it could indicate a potential attempt to avoid detection of illicit drugs in the bloodstream through over-hydration.
·Dark yellow urine is often indicative of dehydration.  
·Yellowing/light orange may be caused by removal of excess B vitamins from the bloodstream.  
·Certain medications such as rifampin and phenazopyridine can cause orange urine.  
·Bloody urine (red urine color) is termed hematuria, potentially a sign of a bladder infection or carcinoma.  
·Dark orange to brown urine can be a symptom of jaundice, rhabdomyolysis, or Gilbert's syndrome.  
·Black or dark-colored urine is referred to as melanuria and may be caused by a melanoma.  
·Fluorescent yellow/greenish urine may be caused by dietary supplemental vitamins, especially the B vitamins.  
·Consumption of beets can cause urine to have a pinkish tint, and asparagus consumption can turn urine greenish.  
·Reddish or brown urine may be caused by porphyria. Although again, the consumption of beets can cause the urine to have a harmless, temporary pink or reddish tint.  
·Liver disorder (urine the color of tea), or  
·breakdown of muscle (orange or tea colored urine). Rhabdomyolysis is the rapid destruction of skeletal muscle resulting in leakage into the urine of the muscle protein myoglobin.  
Very foamy urine may represent large amounts of protein in the urine (proteinuria).
Certain medicines change the color of urine, but this is not a sign of disorder. Your doctor may tell you to stop taking any medicines that can affect test results. Medicines that can change your urine color include:
·Iron supplements  

Also you should know
Blood in the urine: Blood in the urine is termed hematuria.
Gross hematuria refers to blood that is so plentiful in the urine that the blood is visible grossly, with just the naked eye.
Gross hematuria is in contrast to microhematuria in which the blood is visible only under a microscope: there is so little blood that it cannot be seen without magnification.
Hematuria, whether it be gross or microscopic, is abnormal and should be further investigated. It may or may not be accompanied by pain. Painful hematuria can be caused by a number of diseases, including infections and stones in the urinary tract. Painless hematuria can also be due to a large number of causes, including cancer.

Urine dipstick is a narrow plastic strip which has several squares of different colors attached to it. Each small square represents a component of the test used to interpret urinalysis. The entire strip is dipped in the urine sample and color changes in each square are noted. The color change takes place after several seconds to a few minutes from dipping the strip. If read too early or too long after the strip is dipped, the results may not be accurate.
Each color change on a particular square may indicate specific abnormalities in the urine sample caused by a certain chemical reaction. The reference for color changes is posted on the plastic bottle container of the urine test strips. This makes for easy and quick interpretation of the urinalysis results by placing the strip next to the container and comparing its color changes to the reference provided.
The squares on the dipstick represent the following components in the urine:
·specific gravity (concentration of urine),  
·acidity of the urine (pH),  
·protein in the urine (mainly albumin),  
·glucose (sugar),  
·ketones (products of fat metabolism),  
·blood, leukocyte esterase (suggestive of white blood cells in urine),  
·nitrite (suggestive of bacteria in urine),  
·bilirubin (possible liver disorder or red blood cell breakdown), and  
·urobilinogen (possible liver disorder).  
Presence or absence of each of these color changes on the strip provides important clues for your doctor to make clinical decisions based on the urinalysis results.

The main advantage of dipsticks is that they are convenient, easy to interpret, and cost-effective. They can be analyzed within minutes of urine collection in the doctor's office or in the emergency room to provide valuable information.
However, what can be learned from a dipstick is limited by the design of the dipstick. The main disadvantage is that the information may not be very accurate as the test is time-sensitive. It also provides limited information about the urine as it is qualitative test and not a quantitative test (for example, it does not give a precise measure of the quantity of abnormality). Therefore, normal and abnormal values are not reported as part of urinalysis results.

All information on this page is intended for your general knowledge only and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.