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Written by

Dr.Masarat Jilani

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Hey there, I’m Dr. Masarat. I'm passionate about smashing health taboos and tackling medical myths.

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Glossary

For words you might want to know more

Senna

This is a medication people take for constipation.

Amitriptyline

Medication prescribed for nerve pain and/or depression.

Dehydration

When your body doesn't have enough water for its needs.

Bile leak

Bile is stored in the gallbladder, but in some conditions it can leak into your wee.

What does the colour of your pee tell you?

Peering into your toilet bowl might not be your biggest priority, but the colour, consistency and smell of urine can tell you a lot about your health – from how hydrated you are, to whether you may have an infection.

Depending on what you’ve eaten that day, how much water you drink, and what medications you may be taking, the colour of your pee will change. Sometimes on a daily or hourly basis!

Keep on reading for a handy guide to decoding what your urine colour means. 

What is normal urine colour?

Urine contains a pigment called urochrome, which can become concentrated or diluted depending on how much you drink. So the more you drink, the clearer your pee will look and vice versa. 

Healthy pee colour should be somewhere between clear and dark yellow, but what is “normal” for you varies depending on how much water you typically drink throughout the day, as well as your diet and any medication you may be taking.


What does the colour of your pee tell you?

Luckily, the colour of your pee gives you timely, personalised information before you pull the flush. It’s a handy reminder to get drinking, and it can even tell you when to see your doctor.

It can be alarming to find yourself peeing the colours of the rainbow. Luckily, we have the know-how on what unusual pee colours may mean:

Completely clear pee

We’re sorry to break it to you, but completely clear pee is not the goal! If your pee is completely clear, you may be drinking too much. We’re often told that the more water, the better, but this can lead to salt imbalances in the body – as well as never-ending trips to the loo. Switch to sips until it turns pale yellow. 


Light yellow pee

Congratulations, this is perfect!  Light yellow pee is optimal, so keep doing what you’re doing. Maybe share your hydration hacks with the Jude community?

Dark yellow or amber pee

You’re on amber alert. Dark yellow or amber pee is completely normal, but it’s your body’s way of letting you know you should start drinking now. You may notice dark yellow urine when you first go to the toilet in the morning, or throughout the day if too long has passed since you last had a drink of water.  

Burnt orange pee

You’re dehydrated. Get drinking pronto! When you’re dehydrated, urine can look orange. Overdoing carrots or sweet potatoes can produce an orange tint. It can also be due to medications such as sulphasalazine or senna. It’s best to have a drink and see if the colour changes. 

If you’ve been exercising heavily or losing fluids through diarrhoea and vomiting, you may need to replace salts as well as water – grab a sports drink or oral rehydration salts (e.g., Dioralyte). And if you’re feeling dizzy, confused, or generally unwell, you’ll need extra hydration help, so it’s important to see a doctor.

Blue or green urine

Eating lots of asparagus or blueberries, or taking medications such as amitriptyline, could be the reason for your pee turning this blue or green.

Purple urine

Your pee doesn’t normally go purple unless you have a catheter, in which case it can be a sign of a UTI and you may need antibiotics.

This is called “purple urinary bag syndrome” How creative…

When to speak to your doctor

Take note of the colour of your pee to help you keep your hydration on track. It’s key to so many areas of your health, Not only can it prevent UTIs, it can even enable the medication to work more effectively.  

Brown urine

Dark-coloured or brown urine could be due to a bile leak or liver problems. Check with your doctor to figure out the next steps.

Cloudy urine

If there’s foam in your urine or it looks cloudy, if it smells funky or it’s painful to pee, it could be a sign of a UTI. See your doctor.

Red or pink urine

Eek, red urine?! You don’t always need to panic, as it can be caused by eating foods such as beetroot, rhubarb or taking certain medications.

But pink or red urine can also be due to blood, which can be a sign of a UTI, bladder infection or kidney stones. If you’re on your period, red pee could simply be your menses mixing with your urine stream.

However, if you’re not menstruating and notice red pee, especially if accompanied by pain or a burning sensation, it’s best to speak to your doctor.

Compare your urine with the Wee Pantone Colour Chart, then drink accordingly. 

How to stay hydrated

Nothing beats water for hydrating your body, but even getting in the recommended eight glasses a day can be a challenge for many. If staying hydrated seems boring, add flavour with cucumber slices, lemon or whatever takes your fancy – we love some fresh mint leaves. 

All fluids (apart from alcohol) count, but be wary of drinks that contain caffeine, as these can irritate an overactive bladder. Remember, you also get a hydration hit from water-rich foods such as watermelon, celery or strawberries.

Bear in mind that for some health conditions, such as heart and /kidney failure, your doctor may ask you to restrict your fluid intake.

Everyone is different, so always discuss your specific health needs with your doctor.


Poor bladder health shouldn’t be a “normal” part of ageing or childbirth — that’s why we created the Bladder Care Handbook: our guide to life’s trickly moments. Download your free copy for expert tips on how to look after your bladder.

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