What Does It Mean If Your Pee Is Yellow – Medically Reviewed by Carissa Stephens, R.N., CCRN, CPN – by Ginger Wojcik – Updated December 27, 2019
The good news is that you don’t have to pee your hands in the cup. You can determine the color by simply looking in the toilet bowl after urinating. (Don’t worry if the color turns a little red with the toilet water. It’s still a very useful gauge.)
What Does It Mean If Your Pee Is Yellow
You may notice color changes daily, often hourly. So what is healthy and what needs to be treated? We’ve put together this handy urine color chart to stop you wondering.
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It is important to drink enough water every day, but it is possible to drink more than that. If your urine is completely clear and has no yellow color, you may be drinking more than the recommended amount of water.
Also, if peeing has become your full-time job, that’s another sign that you’re hydrating too hard. For the average adult, 4 to 10 urinations in a 24-hour period is considered normal.
The reason you want to avoid overhydration is because excess water depletes your body’s electrolyte content. Although rare, it can cause water poisoning.
But most of us don’t need to worry about this level of overhydration. In general, when you’re overhydrated, limit yourself to small sips of water until your urine turns yellow.
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Light beer colored lemon urine means you are very hydrated. We like to think of this area of the urine spectrum as our #peegoal. (That’s right, go ahead and brag about it!)
Drinking water is the most obvious way to stay hydrated. But did you know that eating fruits and vegetables are also great sources of water?
When the urine looks like a dark amber or golden color, it may be time to drink water. Although this part of the spectrum does not indicate a dangerous level of dehydration, you may be heading in that direction.
When your body loses more water than it takes in, it begins to depend on the water it has. With less water to dilute, the natural minerals and chemicals in your urine become more concentrated and darker in color.
Urine Color: What It Says About Your Health
If your urine is red or dark orange, it’s time to pay attention, because you may be severely dehydrated.
Vomiting, diarrhea and fever cause the body to lose water quickly and are common causes of dehydration. Fortunately, most healthy adults can easily stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and fluids high in electrolytes.
Keep in mind that while bottled water and tap water contain small amounts of electrolytes, you may need something more concentrated like Gatorade or a homemade tonic to properly rebalance your body’s electrolytes.
For children who are dehydrated from vomiting and diarrhea, the Mayo Clinic recommends treatment with an oral rehydration solution, such as Pedialyte.
Causes Of Discolored Urine
It could also be that something you ate recently is causing the urine to be brown. Some foods known to cause brown urine include:
We expect our urine to be slightly yellow. Therefore, when we look in the toilet and see another color, it can be scary for a moment.
Before jumping to crazy conclusions because your toilet bowl looks like a bowl of fruit gravel, take a moment to think about the new food you’re eating or the medication you’re taking.
Amitriptyline, indomethacin (Indocin), cimetidine (Tagamet), and promethazine (Phenergan). Also methylene blue and propofol (although rarely used outside the hospital)
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Doubts, uncertainty and an unusual color flow that cannot be attributed to the food you have eaten recently or the medicines you have used are good reasons to see a doctor.
However, experts emphasize that if your urine is very dark or orange, make an appointment later, as it may be caused by liver damage.
The current daily recommendation is about 9 cups for women and 13 for men. But keep in mind that these are just general guidelines.
Factors such as age, whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding, how hot the weather is and your level of physical activity affect how much water is healthy for you.
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If you wait to drink until you’re thirsty, you may miss the mark. Always having a refillable water bottle is a good way to make sure you get enough water. You can remind yourself to drink between tasks or during other breaks, such as commercial breaks or new episodes of shows. If you are in a very hot or humid place, or you are breastfeeding or doing a lot of physical activity, make sure to squeeze a little more.
Answers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is informational and should not be considered medical advice.
There are strict sourcing guidelines and they are based on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical organizations. We avoid using third party reports. You can learn more about how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our editorial policy. The color of your urine can change depending on your level of hydration and also due to dyes in your food or due to taking certain medications. Certain color changes may indicate a health condition that requires medical attention.
Doctors refer to the normal color of your urine as “urine color.” Urine naturally takes on a yellow color. When you stay hydrated, your urine will be pale yellow, almost clear.
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If you are dehydrated, you will notice that your urine turns dark orange or light brown.
Urine color can vary depending on what you eat, medications you take and how much water you drink. Most of these colors are within the range of what “normal” urine looks like, but there are cases where an abnormal urine color can be the cause.
While staying hydrated is a good thing, drinking too much water can deplete your body of electrolytes. Urine that sometimes appears clear is nothing to worry about, but urine that is always clear may indicate that you need to reduce the amount of water you drink.
Clear urine can also indicate liver problems such as cirrhosis and viral hepatitis. If you are not drinking a lot of water and have clear urine, you should see your doctor.
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Light yellow to deep amber. The urochrome pigment in your urine naturally becomes thinner when you drink water.
Urochrome breaks down hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen in your red blood cells. In most cases, the color of your urine will depend on how the dye is made.
A condition called familial benign hypercalcemia can also cause blue or green urine. Low to moderate levels of calcium can appear in your urine and change color when you have this condition. Many people with this genetic condition have no noticeable symptoms.
Signs of kidney failure can be dark colored urine, which can mean blood in your urine or cloudy urine.
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Clear urine usually means you are healthy and getting enough fluids. If your urine is a different color, it could mean you’re dehydrated, have an underlying medical condition, are experiencing side effects of medication, or maybe just what you’re eating. If you are concerned, and especially if you have other symptoms, see your doctor for a diagnosis.
Cloudy urine can be a sign of diabetes. Your urine also usually smells sweet or fruity because of the sugar that accumulates in the urine.
In most cases, abnormal urine color is simply a result of dehydration, what you eat, or side effects of medications you take. Urine will return to its normal color within 2 to 3 days after you notice the unusual color.
If your urine is cloudy, red, blue or green and does not return to light yellow, make an appointment to speak with a doctor.
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Causes Of Dark Brown Urine
Dark urine can be a sign that you have blood in your urine or that you have a urinary tract infection, prostate problems, kidney disease, tumors, or other conditions. But if you eat fresh beets, blueberries or rhubarb – it can be completely normal.
The color of your urine can provide surprising information about your health. At a basic level, it can tell you how hydrated you are, although most people can only rely on thirst.
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