Next time you have a wee, have a quick look down the toilet before you flush. Because the colour of your urine – whether it’s yellow, pink or even green – can tell you a lot about your overall health.
And while it might sound bit gross inspecting the colour of your wee, it can be a great insight into any health condition you may have.
Here, Dr Tarlochan S Toor, medical director at MedicSpot and Dr Ross Perry, a GP who owns Cosmedics Clinics, share their expert insights into what the colour of your wee says about your health.
If your urine is … light yellow
Normal, healthy wee is a pale straw, or light yellow, colour. This shows you are healthy and drinking enough water.
But what if it’s a different colour?
Dr Perry says, ‘Eating certain foods, or taking vitamin supplements or medications can change the colour of your urine.
‘Other colour changes could be due to medical conditions so it would be worth seeing your doctor.’
Here’s a guide to what other colours of wee you might see in your toilet bowl … and what they mean.
If your urine is … dark yellow or amber
Possible cause – dehydration
A recent report found the average British woman only drinks half the official recommendation of two litres of water a day.
Meanwhile the 50 Shades of Yellow report by drinks company Sodastream also found 30% of those surveyed were going for a wee less than the recommended six to seven times a day.
According to Dr Perry, if your urine is dark yellow, you are dehydrated. If it’s amber or honey coloured, you are severely dehydrated.
Dr Toor adds, ‘The darker the urine the more concentrated it is, and this is due to dehydration. Aim to drink six to eight glasses of water during the day.’
If your urine is … orange
Possible cause – certain foods or medications
Eaten a lot of carrots or rhubarb? These can temporarily turn your wee a light orange colour.
Yet if your wee is dark orange and stays that colour for more than a couple of days, it’s worth getting medical advice.
Dr Toor says, ‘Some medications can cause urine to become more orange. However sometimes this might reflect an issue with the liver or bile duct and you should see your GP.’
If your urine is … green
Possible cause – eating asparagus
If your wee is green, it could well be because you’ve eaten too much of a particular vegetable. Dr Toor says, ‘Asparagus overload could be the cause!’
It can also be the result of taking certain medications, so always read the leaflet when starting any medications and contact your GP if you’re worried.
If your urine is … pink or red
Possible cause – food or blood
It’s easy to panic if you see your wee is pink. Yet foods like berries and beetroot can often give your wee a pink tinge.
However, if you’ve not eaten anything that could have caused the change in colour, it may be due to a urine infection or, in some cases, can be a sign of cancer.
Dr Toor says, ‘Berries, rhubarb or beetroot are often the culprit. However a pinkish tinge could also suggest blood. This is called haematuria and is common during a urine infection. You may also experience some burning when passing urine.
‘If your urine is tested and you are treated for a urine infection you should expect the bleeding to stop.
‘If it continues you need to see a GP. Causes could include an infection or kidney stones, but also cancerous or non-cancerous tumours.’
So get checked without delay.
If your urine is … brown or brownish-black
Possible cause – medication or illness
If you see a black colour before you flush the toilet, make an appointment with your GP.
While some medications can cause your urine to go a brown or brownish-black colour, Dr Toor says, ‘It is important to have your urine tested to exclude blood.’
Blood in urine can indicate infection so do get this checked as soon as possible.
If your urine is … cloudy, white
Possible cause – infection
If your wee is a cloudy or white colour, Dr Toor says, ‘This could indicate a urinary infection or a sexually transmitted infection.’
You might also feel a burning sensation when you wee. If so, contact your GP to have your urine tested.