What gives urine its colour?
Urine colour is influenced by the pigment urochrome, which is also known as urobilin. The colour of urine can be altered by what you eat, drink and what medications you take. Read on to find out more about the variations you may experience…
Pale straw-coloured urine
This is the ideal urine colour and what you should be aiming for! If your urine is pale, you can feel confident you’re well-hydrated.
If your urine is darker than a pale straw colour, you need to up your fluid intake as there’s a chance you’re dehydrated. When we’re dehydrated, the kidneys tell the body to retain water. As a result of this, there’s less passed in urine so the urine which is produced is more concentrated, and therefore darker in colour. Staying hydrated is very important. In fact, there are numerous health benefits associated with drinking more water.
Bright yellow urine
If you take multivitamins, you may notice your urine turn a slightly neon shade of bright yellow! This happens as a result of the body excreting extra B vitamins. This isn't anything to worry about, so don't be alarmed!
Orange urine can occur as a result of excess beta carotene or Vitamin C in the body. Yellow and orange foods such as carrots and sweet potatoes can cause dark yellow or orange urine. Orange urine can also occur as a result of taking certain medications, such as antibiotics, laxatives and chemotherapy drugs. If you’ve recently started a new medication and you’re concerned about the colour of your urine, please don’t hesitate to discuss this with your practice nurse or GP who will try to put your mind at ease.
Urine can be pink if it contains traces of blood. This should always be further investigated by a healthcare professional, as it's not normal for blood to be present in urine. An exception to this is when urine is contaminated with blood from the menstrual cycle. Urine may also be pink after eating beetroot - known as beeturia. Some people struggle breaking down the pigment in beetroot and it's excreted in the urine, giving it a pink colour.
Green urine can occur for a variety of reasons, including the intake of certain drugs (i.e. some allergy and nausea medications, certain drugs used in anaesthetics, some painkillers and antidepressants). It can also be a sign of infection, particularly if it's accompanied by other unpleasant symptoms. If in doubt, please discuss this with your GP. They may ask you to produce a urine sample by weeing into a small pot, so it's worth having a drink before your appointment so you're able to pass urine when needed. This will then be tested to investigate further and inform a plan of treatment.