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Normal and healthy urine always comes in a shade of yellow — ranging from a very pale straw yellow to a deeper ochre color. The lighter the shade of yellow, the more well-hydrated you are, and the darker, the harder your body is telling you that you really need to start drinking more water. Once you get to a deep amber color, you're already dealing with abnormal urine that signals you are, in fact, dehydrated.
Urine gets its normal color from a pigment called urochrome. If yours has any other color, whether completely clear like water, bright pink, a blood-stained red and yellow, dark brown, green, or blue, something abnormal is up. The color of your urine can give you a lot of information about the state of your health, actually, but abnormal urine colors do, always, have multiple possible causes.
What could orange urine mean?
Orange Urine: Is There Something Wrong With Me?
Orange urine has many possible causes — more than, say, green and blue urine. While orange urine can indeed indicate that you have a serious medical problem, that doesn't mean you need to panic if you notice an orange color in the toilet bowl one day, if it doesn't recur. It's persistently orange urine that you will want to see a doctor about.
Let's take a look at some of the more common causes of orange-colored pee.
Orange Urine Trigger #1: Dehydration
If you are not drinking enough fluids, your urine will become more concentrated, which means more of that urochrome pigment we mentioned earlier. The darker your urine becomes, the more severe your dehydration is. Once your urine gets to a dark amber color, which some people will interpret as orange, you are firmly on the dehydrated end of the spectrum.
This can occur if your fluid intake is simply too low, but there are other causes as well. Fever, excessive exercise, heat exposure, diarrhea, damaged skin, and disease like diabetes can all lead to dehydration as well.
Because severe dehydration can be life-threatening, it is important to recognize the symptoms on time. An orange urine color can be a very important red flag that warns you you are in trouble, but other signs of dehydration you should not ignore are:
- Severe thirst
- A swollen tongue and a dry mouth
- Heart palpitations
- Confusion and dizziness, feeling like fainting, and actually fainting
- A reduction in fluids leaving your body: you're unable to sweat, urinate, or cry
People with severe dehydration may also experience seizures, headaches, breathing difficulties, chest pain, abdominal pain, and fever. Should you ever recognize these symptoms in yourself or someone else, be aware that seeking emergency medical attention is more than warranted.
Dehydration isn't the only possible cause of an orange urine color. We will discuss other reasons for which your pee has taken on an orange hue on the next page.