Are You Dehydrated? This Urine Color Chart Will Tell You

Updated on September 21st, 2020
Pee color chart

Understanding your urine color is an excellent way to know whether or not you are dehydrated. What goes inside must go out, and what comes out can tell us a lot about our health, precisely the yellow color of your urine!

Although there are other ways to notice when you are dehydrated, your urine color can tell you a lot about your hydration status. Many urine colors look the same, but the slight differences between them are essential to note.

What You Drink Impacts How Often You Urinate

If you’re taking a lot of liquid, you’ll naturally have to use the washroom more frequently. Not all liquids are similar, however. Drinks like coffee or alcohol act as diuretics, which means that they make you pee more.

Using the washroom more often can lead to mild-to-moderate dehydration, so monitoring how often you’re going (and urine shade) will help you manage your hydration.

Choosing to drink oral rehydration solutions or water, alongside other drinks (coffee, alcohol, even sports drinks, or sodas which contain lots of unnecessary sugar), is super important.

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Testing Your Urine Colour

Before evaluating the shade of your urine, it’s essential to evaluate how you are testing it. Urine color will vary when comparing in a bathroom versus urine in a clear cup. Because of the fluctuating water levels in a toilet bowl, viewing urine in a toilet may be diluted and will change your perceived result.

Moreover, if you are using the washroom multiple times with different toilets, it may not be easy to compare the colors due to slightly different water levels. A toilet with excess water will naturally make your urine look lighter in shade than it actually is, wrongly suggesting hydration.

When Things  Look Abnormal: What Does the Colour of Your Urine Indicate?

Something to notice is that your urine may be a different color than your baseline for several reasons. Many medical conditions and medications, or even food dyes, can alter the color of your pee. If you ever see something that bothers you, such as red or dark urine, with no obvious cause, be sure to contact your doctor immediately.

If you start to notice darkening or dark urine, this can indicate mild dehydration symptoms [1] and means you should manage it immediately with an oral rehydration solution or consult a local pharmacist or your doctor. This dehydration urine color chart indicates if you need to drink more water,

The Pee Color Chart: 


Urine Colour from Crystal Clear to Mellow Yellow

This dehydration pee color chart can give you an idea of your hydration status based on urine color:

  1. Transparent. Colorless urine may indicate over-hydration. While not as deadly as dehydration, over-hydration can dilute essential salts, such as electrolytes, creating a troublesome chemical imbalance in your blood.  
  2. Pale straw color. Healthy, normal,  well-hydrated.
  3. Transparent yellow. Normal.
  4. Dark yellow. Normal, but indicative of mild dehydration.
  5. Honey or Amber. Possibly dehydrated.

Note: A lot of popular sites suggest drinking water to address some of the colors a

bove, but instead, you need to drink to thirst. The 8 glasses of water per day is an urban myth as far as most doctors are concerned, and the only people who should be concerned about more intake are kidney stone patients.

  1. Light orange. Likely dehydrated, bile duct or liver problems may also be caused by the excretion of excess B vitamins from the bloodstream or consumed food dyes. Talk to your physician.
  2. Orange. Some medications, such as phenazopyridine or rifampin, can cause this coloration. Ask your medical practitioner.
  3. Brown or dark orange. A possible symptom of rhabdomyolysis, jaundice, or Gilbert’s syndrome. Also caused by severe dehydration. See your physician.
  4. Pink. For some people, eating blueberries, beets, or rhubarb can cause this. If you’ve taken beets and have urine color changes, you do not need to see a physician. On the other end, a pinkish tone might be the first indicator of a more significant risk. 
  5. Red. This color could be a troublesome sign of many factors. Blood in the urine, called hematuria, idiopathic, can be benign or a sign of a kidney stone, tumor or infection, in the urinary tract. It may signal an issue with the prostate. Or possible mercury or lead toxicity. Or a group of uncommon inherited disorders known as porphyrias. Red urine is a danger bell to consult a doctor immediately.
  6. Green. Consuming asparagus does this for some people, though many more people notice the vegetable’s odorous effect upon their urine. Some food dyes and medications produce harmless green urine too, but it can also signal a bacterial infection in the urinary tract. Ask your physician.
  7. Blue. Some food dyes and medications produce bluish urine. So too does a rare inherited metabolic disease known as “blue diaper syndrome,” or familial hypercalcemia, which is characterized by an incomplete intestinal breakdown of tryptophan, a dietary nutrient. Consult a doctor.
  8. Black or dark brown. Benign causes include ingesting large amounts of fava beans, rhubarb, or aloe. Some medications darken urine too. However, more worrisome are potential causes like melanoma or phenol or copper poisoning, which can result in blackish urine called melanuria. See your physician.
  9. Milky or White. This may be caused by an oversupply of certain minerals, such as phosphate or calcium, a urinary tract infection, or excessive proteins. Consult your doctor.

Depending on other signs, you should immediately contact your healthcare provider, who may prescribe you to take an oral rehydration solution, among other options for managing your dehydration.

Bottom Line

Although specific abnormal conditions can cause pee to be dark in color — for instance, large muscles or blood (hematuria) from kidney stones or muscle protein (myoglobin) from a crush injury to a tumor — in the normal individual, darkening urine signals dehydration or a decreasing internal body water content.

So, protect yourself, watch your pee coloration, and stay hydrated.

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