What does it mean if your urine is orange?

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When a person is well hydrated, their urine is usually pale yellow. Sometimes it can even be almost pure.

However, the color of the urine may differ from pale yellow. Sometimes the urine can even be orange.

Don't ignore orange urine. While this usually means you need to drink more water, the color can also indicate a serious health problem.

The color of your urine can give you an idea of your health. If you notice anything unusual, tell your doctor.

This article looks at orange urine and some of its possible causes, including diet, medications, and certain health conditions.

Get Medication Information / Gary Foerster

Normal urine function

The kidneys filter 120 to 150 liters of blood every day. Urine is a by-product of this process. Most people excrete 1 to 2 liters of urine a day.

Urine is mainly made up of excess fluid and waste products that the body cannot use. It is stored in the bladder until it is excreted from the body.

Urine acquires its characteristic color through a pigment called urochrome . Urochrome is formed when dead blood cells are destroyed.

Urine is usually yellow. The color of normal, healthy urine ranges from pale yellow to straw.

Causes of orange urine

Unusual colored urine can mean a number of different things. In most cases, orange urine has a simple explanation.

These are the most common reasons why your urine may turn orange.

Dehydration

The water in the liquid you drink dilutes your urine. You can also get water from what you eat, such as juicy fruits and vegetables.

If your urine is orange or dark yellow in color, it is likely due to inadequate hydration . This means that you are not drinking enough water or that you are not getting fluids from other sources.

Since you don't drink while you sleep, you may notice that your urine is darker in the morning. Your urine may also turn darker after a sweaty workout. This is because you lose fluid when you sweat.

Research shows that the color of your urine can tell you if you are drinking enough. If you have shades of dark yellow or orange, you should drink more fluids. Drinking water is the most efficient way to do this.

Diet and supplements

Sometimes orange urine can be associated with what you eat and drink. Very dark red, orange, or yellow foods and drinks can make urine dark. This is mainly due to the fact that these foods contain beta-carotene.

Carrots and carrot juice are examples of foods and drinks that can darken urine. For a very small number of people, beets can have the same effect. Beet-colored urine may appear more red than orange.

You may also notice orange urine after taking high doses of certain vitamins and supplements, including:

Medicines

If your urine is orange, you may be taking medicine. Here are some common culprits:

  • Laxatives : some laxatives contain senna . Senna is used to relieve constipation . These laxatives can cause reddish-orange urine. Haycat (docuzat and senna) is an example of this type of laxative.
  • Pyridium, uristate, and other medications that contain phenazopyridine : These are commonly prescribed to treat pain in urinary tract infections . Phenazopyridine can also discolor other objects it touches.
  • Rifadin and Rimactan (rifampicin) : This antibiotic is used to treat tuberculosis and certain bacteria in the nose and throat. Some medications, such as IsonaRif and Rifamate, contain a combination of rifampin and isoniazid. These medications can also cause orange colored urine.
  • Azulfidine ( sulfasalazine ) : This is an anti-inflammatory drug used to treat ulcerative colitis , an inflammatory bowel disease. The delayed-release version is sometimes prescribed for people with rheumatoid arthritis . Azulfidine can turn urine orange. It can also cause the skin to turn yellow. None of these side effects are harmful.
  • Adriamycin ( doxorubicin ) : This is a powerful chemotherapy drug that is given intravenously through a needle into a vein. This medicine may cause orange or red urine for a day or two after treatment.

Bile duct or liver disease

Orange urine can be a sign of cholestasis . This is when the flow of bile between the liver and the small intestine stops. Bile is a digestive fluid that is produced in the liver.

When this happens, bilirubin can build up and enter the bloodstream. Bilirubin is a yellowish substance found in bile. The buildup of bilirubin in the blood eventually stains the urine.

Cholestasis has several potential causes, including:

Cholestasis symptoms

Orange urine is just one of the symptoms of cholestasis caused by bile duct or liver problems. Other symptoms may include some or all of the following:

If you experience any of these, see your doctor. Blood tests and, if necessary, an ultrasound or liver biopsy can help diagnose your condition.

It is important to detect and treat cholestasis in a timely manner. Early treatment can prevent further damage to the liver or bile ducts.

Summary

Urine is usually pale yellow in color. Some things can darken it, like orange.

Orange urine usually means you need to drink more fluids. It can also be an effect of what you eat or the medications or supplements you are taking.

Sometimes orange urine is a symptom of a more serious medical condition, such as a disease of the bile ducts or liver. If your orange urine does not resolve on its own, or if you have other symptoms such as pale stools and stomach problems, it is recommended that you see your doctor.

Frequently asked questions

  • Perhaps "abundance" is not enough. If you are not taking medication or have a medical condition that affects the color of your urine, you may just need to drink more. Drink lots of sugar-free sodas. Juicy fruits, vegetables, and even soup will also help you get enough fluid.

  • Phenazopyridine, the active ingredient in most UTI medications , is a reddish-brown powder. The color is harmless, but it can stain your clothes. It can also stain contact lenses if you touch it right after touching the medicine.

  • Probably not. Kidney disease is not usually associated with a change in urine color. However, if you notice foamy or bubbly urine, see your doctor. This could be a sign of excess protein in the urine . Too much protein in the urine is an early sign of kidney disease.

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