Pee reveals many secrets to the trained eye – doctors routinely prescribe urine tests to look for infections, kidney problems, liver disease and diabetes. Happily, our pee talks to us too.
Sometimes by turning blue, green, purple or neon.
Normally pale yellow to straw-coloured, urine gets its colour from a pigment called urochrome – a result of the breakdown of dead blood cells. Most urine colour changes are harmless and temporary. However, there are some instances where urine colour can alert you to a medical condition that you need to have checked immediately.
Neon yellow: High doses of vitamin B2 (riboflavin) in the body leads to bright, sometimes neon, yellow urine. The neon colour in pee is just a harmless sign that you’re taking more vitamins than your body needs and all that excess vitamin is getting removed via urine.
When to see a doctor: There isn’t any need to see one if this is temporary.
Orange: Dehydration, taking too much vitamin B12 or even eating too many carrots, which contain beta-carotene, can turn your pee orange.
People who are on Rifampicin – a drug used for the treatment of bacterial diseases like tuberculosis (TB), leprosy and pneumonia – may also get orange‐red discolouration of body secretions including urine, sweat, and even tears.
When to see a doctor: See a doctor if you’ve been peeing orange for some time and you’ve been very itchy of late – you could possibly have cholestasis (low bile flow) which, if not treated, can damage the liver or bile duct.
Red or pink: Red blood can be seen in the urine in the case of kidney stones, urinary tract infection, or any kind of cancerous disease. Sometimes, though, pinkish urine just means you ate a lot of beetroots, blackberries or rhubarb.
When to see a doctor: If the red colour persists even for a short while.
Green or blue: If you have recently undergone a surgical procedure, you may have been given the general anaesthetic propofol. One of the side-effects of propofol is that it makes your pee green.
If you recently ate a lot of asparagus, it can turn your pee green and smelly.
Other reasons for blue/green urine could be Hartnup disease (kidney disease), biliverdin (bile pigment), urinary tract infection caused by the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
When to see a doctor: If you’ve had surgery, your medical attendants are probably already keeping a check on your urine and blood. If you ate too much asparagus, your pee should go back to normal the same day. In every other scenario, visit your doctor immediately.
Purple: Usually people who have been on a urinary catheter for a long time can have purple-coloured urine in their discharge bag due to severe urinary tract infection, also known as purple urine bag syndrome.
Purple urine can be a sign of chronic kidney disease.
When to see a doctor: Right away.
Black: Alkaptonuria is a rare genetic disorder which causes urine to turn black when exposed to air. Patients are typically 30 or older when they get the order. In addition to black urine, they usually get blue‐black discolouration of the skin and cartilage (ochronosis).
When to see a doctor: Immediately.
Milky: Pale urine is healthy, and indicates that you drink a good amount of water. Milky urine, however, can occur for a number of reasons – from a urinary tract infection to chyluria. Chyluria is a rare condition in which lymphatic fluid (fluid with a high concentration of white blood cells) leaks into the kidneys and turns the urine milky white. It is most commonly associated with the parasitic infection Wuchereria Bancrofti, but can also have non-infectious causes.
When to see a doctor: Any person having milky urine should immediately seek medical help.
Foaming or fizzing: Okay, technically this is not a colour. But bear with us. A foamy urine could be an indication of an excess of protein in the body. Protein in urine, clinically known as proteinuria, could be an indication of nephrotic syndrome or an early sign of kidney disease. Then again, sometimes you can have bubbles in your urine because you peed with great speed.
When to see a doctor: If you have a systemic disease like diabetes and/or high blood pressure or a family history of kidney disease, and your pee turns foamy, see a doctor soon.
This article was written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. For more information, please read our article on Urine Routine Test.