The colour of normal urine is usually pale yellow. However, if you are dehydrated, your urine may appear dark. In some people, the colour of the urine may appear brown, deep yellow or maroon. It may also indicate an underlying medical condition. However, dark urine can be diagnosed and treated early.

What is dark urine?

The colour of the urine appears dark in case of dehydration. In people with health conditions such as kidney stones, urinary tract infections, and liver disease, the urine appears dark even when the body is hydrated. Thus, urine colour may be an indication of the underlying health condition. Consult a doctor if your urine is dark for a prolonged period.

Types of dark urine

  • Red or pink urine – Blood in the urine, infection in the urinary tract, tumour growth, kidney cyst, kidney stone or medication (like Rifadin or Rimactane) could be the cause of pink or red urine.
  • Orange urine – Medications like sulfasalazine, laxative, chemotherapy drugs or a liver problem could result in orange colour urine.
  • Blue or green urine – Medications such as amitriptyline, indomethacin, propofol, or familial benign hypercalcemia may cause blue urine.
  • Dark brown urine – Food items like aloe or fava beans, antimalarial drugs such as chloroquine and primaquine, metronidazole antibiotic medicine and laxatives containing cascara or senna or methocarbamol (muscle relaxant) may cause dark brown urine.

Darkened urine is also a possible side effect of oral iron supplements.

Symptoms of dark urine
  • The darkness of urine for a prolonged time
  • Pain in the stomach
  • A notable difference in the smell of urine
  • Blood in urine

Dehydration causes dark urine; other underlying health conditions such as kidney stones, urinary tract infection and liver disease may also result in dark urine. If you have one or more of the symptoms of dark urine, please consult your doctor immediately.

Causes of dark urine

There are several causes of dark urine 

  • Blood in the urine (haematuria), 
  • Hepatitis, 
  • Kidney or liver disease, 
  • Anaemia, 
  • Skin cancer, 
  • Intense exercise, 
  • Tick-borne disease, 
  • Infection in the urinary system, 
  • Certain medications, 
  • Food or food dye.
Dark urine: When to see a doctor?

If you experience a change in the colour of urine for a long time, then it is better to consult a doctor as soon as possible. The expert doctors at Yashoda hospitals provide online consultation, or you can directly book an appointment for any help.

Risk factors and possible complications

Bleeding in the urinary tract, haemolytic anaemia (when red blood cells are destroyed), liver and kidney disorders, porphyrias (a condition that affects haemoglobin levels), and melanoma are possible risks and complications.

Remedies/treatment: Dark urine

Diagnosis of dark urine usually involves taking a thorough medical history and getting a physical examination by a qualified medical professional. Certain tests may be performed such as urinalysis (to check for red blood cells, high levels of protein, and excreted minerals in the urine that may be indicative of kidney disease or urinary tract infection) and blood tests (to measure creatinine and blood urea nitrogen levels as well as check for diabetes).

Treatment methods will depend on the condition that causes the change in urine colour. If dehydration is the cause, more fluid is advised. If not, the underlying cause needs to be diagnosed and treated appropriately. If you are excreting dark urine accompanied by pain, it could be an early indication of kidney stones or urinary tract infection. Also, if you are experiencing nausea, vomiting or a high fever, immediate medical attention is recommended.

Conclusion: Dark urine

You may excrete dark urine due to dehydration; if it persists even when you are well hydrated, you may need to consult a medical health professional as it may be an indication of underlying health issues. Yashoda Group of Hospitals has medical experts who can help diagnose and treat this condition.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Dark Urine

Dark urine may be due to too much bilirubin building up because the liver is not breaking it down normally, and this could be one of the early signs of liver damage.

Dark urine during pregnancy is usually linked to dehydration, but it needs to be checked and treated by a health practitioner to eliminate any underlying causes and medical conditions.

There are some case reports that excreting dark urine is one of the initial manifestations of Covid-19. You may have to consult your primary care physician or doctor if such a symptom persists.

If dark urine is accompanied by intense pain, especially in the lower back, it may signify kidney stones.

People with diabetes may notice that their urine is very dark, and in some cases, it could appear bloody.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts.