Do you ever wonder what color your pee should be? Well, here it goes! Your urine should be pale yellow to clear in color. It should not be neon yellow, dark yellow or any other color for that matter. It should not be cloudy or have a strong odor (unless, of course, you’ve been eating asparagus).
Urine is made up of excess water and waste products that have been filtered by your kidneys from your body. Its natural light yellow color is due to excretion of a pigment found in your blood called urochrome. So, depending on the amount of fluids you drink, your urine can range in color from almost clear (hydrated) to dark orange or yellow (uber-dehydrated).
Keep in mind, a lot of the time, changes in the color of your pee are temporary and caused by artificial food colorings (which aren’t good for you and you shouldn’t be eating them anyway) or certain prescription medications. However, sometimes an abnormal urine color — or even blood in your urine — may indicate a serious health risk that should be brought to the attention of your doctor.
What your urine can tell you
Here’s a quick lowdown for you. Gross, we know, but important information that you should know.
When your urine is clear, like too clear, it can indicate:
- You’re drinking too many liquids. Be careful not to over-hydrate. Shoot for drinking half your body weight in ounces of water each day (i.e. if you weigh 130 pounds, drink 65 ounces of water per day).
- A liver disorder, such as acute viral hepatitis or cirrhosis (however, you would have other signs and symptoms like a yellowing, jaundiced complexion, nausea, vomiting, fever and fatigue).
When your urine is bright or neon yellow, it can indicate:
- Vitamin supplements that are being taken in excess or not being absorbed by your body. Word to the wise: take whole food-based vitamin supplements for better absorption.
When your urine is dark yellow or gold, it usually indicates one thing:
- Dehydration. Girl, get your drink on. Shoot for drinking half your body weight in ounces (i.e. if you weigh 130 pounds, shoot for 65 ounces of water per day).
When your urine is pink or red, it is usually indicative of:
- Blood in the urine from a kidney or bladder infection (if you’re having low back or lower abdominal pain, urinary urgency, and feel like you’re running a fever, see your doc!).
- You’ve eaten too many pink or red foods like beets or berries or foods that are artificially colored.
- A side effect of some laxatives.
When your urine is orange, it usually indicates:
- A side effect of a medication you’re taking. Ask your doctor about this, and bring your medication with you to the doctor’s visit.
- You’ve eaten too many orange or red foods like beets and berries or foods that are artificially colored.
If your urine is ever blue or green, it can indicate:
- A side effect of certain medications; see your doc.
- You’ve eaten too many green foods, especially asparagus or foods that are artificially colored blue or green.
When your urine is dark brown or tea colored, it can indicate:
- A liver disorder, especially if accompanied by pale stools and a yellow, jaundiced complexion.
- A side effect of certain medications.
When your urine is cloudy or murky, it can indicate:
- A urinary tract infection. If you’re having low back or lower abdominal pain, urinary urgency, and feel like you’re running a fever, see your doc!
- Kidney stones (these usually cause a great deal of pain… if this is you, see your doctor!).
- You’ve eaten too much asparagus.
Ladies, also keep in mind your need to pee should not be urgent. Nor, in your 20s and 30s, should it leak out of you when you laugh or wake you up in the middle of the night (unless you’re pregnant or you drank a big glass of water right before bed).