Tell your health care provider about any changes in urine color that do not go away, or that do not seem to be caused by a food or drug. This is very important if the urine changes color for longer than a day or two, or you have repeated episodes.
Some dyes used in food may be released in the urine. A wide variety of drugs can change the urine color.
Cloudy or milky urine is a sign of a urinary tract infection, which may also cause a bad smell. Milky urine may also be caused by bacteria, crystals, fat, white or red blood cells, or mucus in the urine.
Urinary tract disorders that cause bleeding, such as cystitis, an enlarged prostate, a kidney or bladder tumor, tuberculosis, bladder stones, kidney infection, or kidney cancer such as Wilms' tumor (in children) or hypernephroma
Dark yellow or orange urine can be caused by:
B complex vitamins or carotene
Medications such as phenazopyridine (used to treat urinary tract infections), rifampin, and warfarin
Recent laxative use
Green or blue urine is due to:
Artificial colors in foods or drugs
Medications including methylene blue
Urinary tract infections
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Make an appointment with your health care provider if you have:
Abnormal urine color that cannot be explained and does not go away
Blood in your urine, even once
Clear, dark-brown urine, especially if you also have pale stools and yellow skin and eyes
Pink, red, or smoky-brown urine that is not due to a food or medication
What to Expect at Your Office Visit
The health care provider will perform a physical exam, which may include a rectal or pelvic exam. You will be asked questions about your medical history and symptoms, including:
When did this color change begin?
Did this begin suddenly?
What color is your urine?
Is it always the same color throughout the day?
Do you urinate more or less often than usual?
Can you see blood in the urine?
Is the urine an unusual odor?
Factors that make it worse
What medicines do you take?
Have you eaten foods such as colored candy, beets, berries, or rhubarb?
Gerber GS, Brendler CB. Evaluation of the urologic patient: History, physical examination, and the urinalysis. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 3.
Landry DW, Bazari H. Approach to the patient with renal disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 116.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Scott Miller, MD, Urologist in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.