What Does It Mean If Your Urine Appears Orange?

Causes of Discoloration, and Whether You Should Be Concerned

Urine Sample
Getty Images/Jodi Jacobson

Change in urine color can certainly be surprising, and perhaps even alarming. What may have caused this change in the appearance of your urine?

The Possible Causes of Urine Discoloration

Dehydration. The most common cause of orange urine is not getting enough water. When your urine becomes highly concentrated due to insufficient water intake, your urine can deepen in color, varying in hue from dark yellow to orange.

The solution is to drink more fluids, especially water. In a matter of hours, your urine should change back to a light yellow.

Medications. If your urine is orange, it could be the result of a drug you're taking. A frequent cause of orange urine is a medication called phenazopyridine, also called Uristat. This is a drug doctors often prescribe for the treatment of pain associated with urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Other drugs that can cause orange urine include rifampin and warfarin, as well as laxatives. If you're taking warfarin and have discolored urine, this can indicate bleeding in the bladder or kidneys, and should be checked out by your doctor.

Laxatives. If you use laxatives that contain senna, an herb used to treat constipation, you may find they affect your urine color.

Vitamins and Supplements. If you take B vitamins, high doses of vitamin C, or beta carotene, this might turn your urine bright yellow or orange.

Even eating foods rich in beta carotene, such a carrots, could change your urine to a darker yellow or orange.

Chemotherapy. Some chemotherapy drugs can cause damage to your bladder or kidneys, which can then cause a change in your urine color. If you are undergoing chemotherapy and experience changes in your urine's color, talk to your doctor.

Liver Dysfunction. If your urine is consistently orange or dark yellow, and adjusting your fluid intake and supplement usage doesn’t seem to make a difference, it could be an early sign of liver or bile problems. If the problem is ongoing, talk to your doctor. Another indication of this can be light-colored stools.

More About Urinary Issues

What Causes Blood in Urine? The most common cause of blood in the urine, at least in women, is vaginal bleeding or normal menstrual bleeding. If  you see blood in your urine that is not caused by menstrual bleeding, you should see your doctor as soon as possible for evaluation and diagnosis.

Source: Urine - Abnormal Color. NLM-NIH. Accessed 03/15/11.

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