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You don't need a public service announcement to tell you that blue urine ain't normal. Not by a far stretch. Pee comes in all kinds of colors, normal and abnormal: pale yellow, darker yellow, orange, red, pink, brown, almost black, and even completely clear. For better or for worse, these are all colors we're quite used to encountering in bodily excretions, and though all urine colors that aren't a shade of yellow are indeed a cause for concern, along with some of the darker yellow ones actually, nothing quite screams "WHAT?" like blue urine does.
So, what's wrong with you?
What Causes Abnormal Urine Color?
You're so used to your pee being some kind of yellow that you normally relieve yourself without giving urine color a second thought. It's only when you catch a glimpse of a scary color that you begin to pay attention. What can cause abnormally colored urine? A wide variety of things, as it happens:
- Foods and drinks: Consume huge amounts of fava beans, rhubarb, and a host of other foods, and your pee will turn a funny color. Foods and liquids that contain artificial food dyes can also give you a strange urine color.
- Nutritional supplements: Supplements like B vitamins and beta carotene can add a weird color to your urine as well.
- Medications: "Oddly colored urine" can be counted as a side effect of many medications. Certain antibiotics, laxatives, drugs for urinary tract discomfort, psychiatric drugs, malaria drugs, muscle relaxants and others can all discolor your urine.
- Medical conditions: From pancreatic cancer to hepatitis, from urinary tract infections to familial benign hypercalcemia, and from diabetes to hemolytic anemia, many medical conditions can affect urine color as well.
- Dehydration and overhydration: While your pee will get darker the more dehydrated you are, completely clear urine can signify overhydration and its related low electrolyte levels.
With so many possible causes, you may wonder where and how to start solving your strangely-colored problem. One thing that will clue you in is how long the weird shades continue to be a feature in your life. If your pee only looks odd once or twice, considering that most of us don't consume the same foods and drinks every day, you may find your culprit there, or in your level of hydration. If, however, your discolored urine seems to have turned into a chronic problem, you are looking at something much more long term.
The actual color of your urine offers valuable insights as well. Dark yellow urine tends to signify dehydration, for instance, while orange urine can point to medication side effects and liver dysfunction among other problems, and pink or red urine means you might be passing blood. What does blue urine mean?