What is Orange Urine?
People don’t usually pay attention to look at the color of their urine. The details of urine including the smell, color, and how often you pee can say something about what’s happening in your body. Urine is a liquid waste of the body and it consists of salts, water and chemicals known as urea and uric acid. Urine is made by the kidney when it filters toxins and some other unwanted elements from the blood. 1,2,3,4
Many things can affect how your urine looks like including dehydration, medications, illnesses, and foods. Having orange urine may not be something to raise an alarm, however, it could also be an indication of a serious health condition in your body. If you are passing orange urine persistently and there are other symptoms accompanying it, it is important to check with a doctor.
The Normal Color of Urine
Normal urine is usually clear, but it may change to straw-yellow. If everything is okay and you are healthy, the color of urine should be somewhere from clear to pale yellow to gold. The hue is attained from the pigment the body makes known as urochrome.
Urochrome is a breakdown product of the hemoglobin, which is related to bile pigments found within urine and it is the one that makes the urine have its yellowish color. When your urine has no color, it could mean that you have taken a lot of water or you have been taking drugs called diuretics that help to get rid of fluids in body. 1
Causes of Orange Urine
Passing orange urine may occur due to many different reasons. Some of the possible causes of having orange urine include:
It’s the most common reason why people have orange urine and other colors. If you are not taking sufficient water, the urine could be concentrated meaning it will have varying shades from dark yellow to colors like orange.
Vitamins and supplements
Your urine may turn bright yellow to orange if you take higher amounts of B vitamins, vitamin C or even beta carotene. You know why carrots have the orange color? It’s because of the a substance known as beta carotene, which is converted by the body to vitamin A. Beta carotene makes food items like carrots to have the orange color. If you take food that has high amounts of beta carotene, it could cause the urine to change to orange or darker yellow.
Laxatives containing a herb known as senna may make urine to change its color to orange. Senna is used to treat constipation.
The change in color of your urine may sometimes be caused by problems of the biliary tract or liver. If the urine seems to be consistently having a dark yellow or orange color and despite taking adequate fluids and adjusting your supplements, it does not make any difference, then it could indicate an early sign of a health complication like liver disease.
Drugs used in chemotherapy may induce changes in urine color. While this may be harmless, you also want to know that some chemotherapy drugs may damage your kidneys or bladder, which in turn could result in changes in color of the urine.
Infection of the bladder
If you have a bladder infection or a condition like cystitis, it could make the urine change its color and attain the orange hue.
Things like kidney infections, kidney stones, or kidney disease can result in orange color in your urine.
Taking medications such as warfarin or phenazopyridine may also cause the urine to look orange in color. 2,3,4
Symptoms Accompanying Orange Urine
If you are passing orange urine, you may also find that there are some other symptoms accompanying it and they include:
- Urgent need for you to urinate
- Your urine smells unpleasant
- The urine is cloudy
- Painful or burning sensation when you urinate, something known as dysuria
- Frequent urination that only releases small amounts of urine
- Pink or blood-colored urine, something known as hematuria.
Other symptoms that come with orange urine could be indicating health problems that are occurring somewhere else in the body. Such symptoms include:
- Itchy skin
- Pale stools
- Unintentional weight loss
You may want to seek help of a doctor if you are having orange urine and it’s accompanied by fever, severe pain in lower back and abdomen area, persistent vomiting, or urinary retention. These could be indicating some serious health problems that need to be checked immediately. 2,3,4
Orange Urine Occurring in Morning or After Exercise?
You may find that you are having orange urine when you indulge in exercise or early in the morning. This may be mainly because the urine has become concentrated after sitting in the bladder overnight. Therefore, it may not be a cause for alarm if it changes as you begin to take fluids. But a brown tint of the urine can signify something serious like blood in urine.
Rigorous exercises tend to dehydrate the body. You lose fluids in body when you exercise, something that can make the urine to become concentrated and change its color to orange or dark yellow.
Since during exercises, there is increased metabolic activity, this results in release of more byproducts in the body. These byproducts need to be filtered and excreted from the body through the urine. The kidney does the filtration work and the urinary tract does the excretion work. So, with exercises, there are two things taking place; increased activity causes more chemicals to be released as byproducts, and there is the aspect of dehydration. All of these can make the urine color to change.
Diagnosis of Orange Urine
A doctor may use different diagnosis methods to help bring out causes of orange urine that doesn’t seem to end despite stopping taking foods or supplements that can cause change in urine color. The diagnosis methods include:
The doctor will ask some questions to try understand your case. He or she may want to know if the urine has been releasing pungent smell. The doctor may ask if you are taking any medications or supplements. You should tell your doctor the foods you have been eating, especially fruits and vegetables.
A doctor will want to know when you started experiencing the orange urine and if you have been having pain or burning sensation when you urinate. If you detected traces of blood, the doctor may want to know that too.
Kidney function tests
These help measure breakdown of products that are released in normal function of the body such as blood urea nitrogen and creatinine. These can help reveal if the kidneys are functioning properly or not.
Liver function tests
These help measure enzyme levels in the liver. Liver cells have enzymes and a certain level of those enzymes circulate in blood. So, when the liver is damaged or diseased, the enzymes are released by damaged cells into the bloodstream meaning there will be elevated levels of these enzymes. Bilirubin, a substance produced as a result of breakdown of red blood cells may also be measured to determine the health of the liver. 3
Treatment of orange urine will depend on the underlying cause. If diet is implicated, you may not need to get any treatment. When you stop taking foods with beta carotene, it will help bring back the normal color of urine, but again beta carotene is important for the health of the body.
- If dehydration is causing orange urine, taking sufficient fluids like water can eliminate the problem
- An infection of the kidney may, for example, be treated with use of antibiotics
- Liver dysfunction may be caused by different things including excessive use of medications like acetaminophen, statins, and norco. A doctor may consider alternative medications to prevent further damage to the liver. If the liver dysfunction is caused by alcohol, you need to stop taking it.
- The Truth About Urine. http://www.webmd.com/urinary-incontinence-oab/truth-about-urine#1
- What Causes Orange Urine? http://www.healthline.com/health/what-causes-orange-urine
- Why is my urine orange? Causes, symptoms, and treatment for orange urine. http://www.belmarrahealth.com/urine-orange-causes-symptoms-treatment-orange-urine/
- What is orange urine? https://www.healthgrades.com/symptoms/orange-urine
- Orange Urine http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/756373_3