While most of us are used to our urine being somewhere on the yellow spectrum, sometimes it can be a surprising color and raise concern. If you have noticed that you have orange urine and are asking yourself why, continue reading to discover the causes, symptoms, and treatment for this condition.
Causes and complications of orange urine
Orange urine can be caused by a variety of factors, some more severe than others. Some of the most common reasons your urine may be orange are:
Diet: Your urine may be orange simply because you have consumed specific foods recently. Orange and red fruits and vegetables like beets and carrots can alter the color of your urine and make it appear orange.
Dehydration: One of the most common causes of orange urine is dehydration. Not drinking enough water results in your urine becoming more concentrated and as such, it may appear to be a dark yellow or orange hue.
Laxatives: Some laxatives contain senna, a herb commonly used to ease constipation that may also color your urine a deep yellow or orange.
Bladder infection: A bladder infection, or cystitis, may be responsible for changing the color of your urine and can cause it to appear orange.
Liver dysfunction: Consistently dark yellow or orange urine that is not affected by changes in diet, supplement intake, or hydration, may be a sign of issues with the liver or bile and should be addressed by your physician.
Chemotherapy: Some chemotherapy drugs can damage kidney and bladder function, resulting in discolored urine. It is important to inform your doctor if you are undergoing chemotherapy and notice a change in the color of your urine.
Kidney problems: Kidney disease, kidney stones, and kidney infections can all cause your urine to change to an orange color.
Symptoms of orange urine
Orange urine may also be accompanied by other troubling symptoms. These include:
- Cloudy urine
- Painful/burning urination (known as dysuria)
- Bloody or pink-colored urine (known as hematuria)
- Urine that smells unpleasant
- Frequent urination that does not produce more than a small amount
- An urgent need to urinate
Some symptoms that accompany orange urine may be indicative of issues elsewhere in the body. These include bruising, fever, itchy skin, nausea, pale stools, and unintentional weight loss. If you experience a fever above 101 degrees Fahrenheit, persistent vomiting, severe pain in the abdomen or lower back, or urinary retention along with orange urine, it may be symptomatic of a much more serious condition and medical attention should be sought out immediately.
Diagnosing and treating orange urine
To accurately diagnose what may be causing your orange urine, your doctor will ask you a variety of questions to determine the root cause. You will be questioned on whether your urine has a pungent odor and asked about any medications and supplements you may take, as well as what fruits and vegetables are common in your diet. They will also need to know when the orange urine began, whether there is any pain or burning that occurs with urination, and if there are any traces of blood in the urine. Your physician will evaluate your answers to these questions and, depending on your symptoms, they may order several tests to rule out or diagnose more serious conditions such as kidney or liver damage, sepsis, cancer, or serious infection.
Treatment for orange urine is dependent on what is causing it. If it is your diet, then no treatment is necessary, though if you are uncomfortable with the color, consuming foods with less beta-carotene will help to change it back to a more normal hue. If the orange urine is a side effect of an infection, your doctor will prescribe medication to treat it. Once the infection has cleared up, your urine should return to a normal color. Finally, if the cause is more serious and indicative of organ damage, a serious infection, or cancer, your doctor will refer you to a specialist to receive treatment for the cause of the orange urine.
Orange urine in the morning and after exercise
If you notice that your urine is orange in the morning, it may be due to the fact that it has been sitting in your bladder overnight and, as a result, is more concentrated. The color of urine varies throughout the day depending on the amount of fluid consumed. Dark urine first thing in the morning is a normal occurrence and not necessarily a cause for concern. However, if you notice that it is brown, then it may be due to blood in the urine and symptomatic of a more serious condition.
Similarly, urine may appear darker in color after exercising. This is because rigorous exercise can contribute to dehydration and a loss of fluids, resulting in more concentrated urine that is dark yellow or orange. Because your metabolic rate increases with exercise, more metabolic byproducts need to be filtered through the kidneys and urinary tract, also adding to the higher concentration of chemicals and less water dilution.
There are a variety of reasons that your urine may be orange, ranging from something as harmless as eating foods high in beta-carotene to one as severe as cancers cells or liver damage. If you are concerned about the color of your urine and believe it may be caused by a more serious issue, contact your doctor to receive an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan for your condition.
Related: Bubbles in urine: Causes, symptoms, and treatment tips