Urine test, color and odor information
August 10 2018 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.


Urine is a waste product made by the kidneys. The kidneys remove waste material, minerals, fluids, and other substances from the blood for elimination in the urine. Therefore, urine can contain hundreds of different bodily waste products. Many factors, such as diet, fluid intake, exercise, and kidney function, affect what is in your urine. One of the ways to keep your urine healthy is to drink plenty of water and eat a good diet. See diet for suggestions.


Urine Test, understanding the basics

A urine test measures several different components of urine. A routine urine screening test may be done to help find the cause for many types of symptoms. The test can provide information about your overall health and clues to many conditions.


Blood in urine
Blood in the urine is called "hematuria" and may indicate severe problems.


Bleeding can arise within the urinary system in areas such as the kidneys, bladder, prostate or other parts of the urinary tract. Blood in urine may appear as reddening or darkened urine or other urine color changes such as smoky, orangeish or pinkish hues. Visible streaks of blood may also appear in the urine. The appearance of blood in the urine or any urine color changes needs prompt professional medical investigation.

   Since blood in the urine must come from one of the organs involved in making or transporting the urine, the evaluation of hematuria requires that we consider the entire urinary tract. This organ system includes the kidneys, ureter (the tube that carries the urine from the kidney to the bladder), bladder, prostate, or urethra (tube leading out of the bladder). It must be emphasized that even a single episode of hematuria requires evaluation, even if it resolves spontaneously.


When a dipstick test finds blood in the urine, the next step should be to examine a sample of the urine under a microscope to make sure the dipstick result is accurate. Dipstick tests, in which a narrow strip of plastic is dipped into a urine sample, are very common. Parts of the strip are covered with small squares that turn various colors based on features of the urine, including levels of acidity, proteins, sugar (glucose), and the presence of blood, to name just a few. The American Urological Association advises that when a dipstick test finds blood in the urine, but the patient is feeling well and has no other symptoms, the result needs to confirmed microscopically before the patient undergoes any further exams, because the dipstick test is not a hundred percent reliable. Invasive tests and x-rays or other imaging studies should not be done until the dipstick test results have been confirmed under a microscope. Journal of Urology, 2010.


Additional causes of hematuria include:

An enlarged prostate gland (usually the loss of blood is at the end of the stream).

An infection in the urine, either E. Coli or a STD such as Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. Sometimes the leukocyte esterase test is positive in the urine during Chlamydia infection of the prostate gland, but no WBCs are found in the urine.

Protein in urine testing
Urine protein is tested by one of these methods: 1. To quickly see whether or not protein is present in urine, a "spot test" is used. In this test, a chemically treated stick is dipped into a random sample of urine, simply to see if protein is detectable. 2. To actually measure how much protein is being excreted in the urine, a 24-hour urine sample is required.

Urine odor - Smell
The normal odor of urine is aromatic. Abnormal urine odor may indicate: Hepatic (liver) failure, Ketonuria, Maple sugar urine disease (very rare), Phenylketonuria (rare), Rectal fistula, urinary tract infection.

Cloudy urine color

Any changes in urine color, or the presence of an abnormal urine color that cannot be linked to the consumption of a food or drug, should be reported to the doctor. Especially if it happens for longer than a day or two, or if there are repeated episodes. Cloudy urine, murky, or turbid (muddy) urine is characteristic of a urinary tract infection, which may also have an offensive urine smell. Murky urine may also be caused by the presence of bacteria, mucus, white blood cells or red blood cells, epithelial cells, fat, or phosphates and often indicates urine infection. Dark brown or clear urine is characteristic of a liver disorder such as acute viral hepatitis or cirrhosis. Pink, red, or smoky brown urine can be a side effect of a medication or may be caused by the recent consumption of beets, blackberries or certain food colorings. It is also characteristic of a urinary tract disorder in which bleeding occurs such as cystitis, enlarged prostate, kidney cancer, bladder tumor, tuberculosis, bladder stones, or kidney infection. Dark yellow or orange urine can be caused by recent use of laxatives or consumption of B complex vitamins or carotene. Orange urine is often caused by pyridium (used in the treatment of urinary tract infections), rifampin, and warfarin. Green or blue urine is due to the effect of artificial color in food or drug. It may also result from medications including amitriptyline, indomethacin, and doxorubicin. Some dyes used in candy may be excreted in the urine, and a wide variety of drugs can discolor the urine.
   B vitamins can make urine turn a darker yellow. Eating beets can make urine look reddish. Some people get worried when they see reddish urine thinking that they are bleeding, but it is just some of the colored carotenoids and flavonoids in beets.

Heavy metals
Fukushima J Med Sci. 2013. Heavy metals in blood and urine and its relation to depressive symptoms in Parkinson's disease patients. Some heavy metals are suspected to be pathogenic to both Parkinson's disease (PD) and depression. Common background may exist in them. Methods Subjects comprised PD patients with depression, PD patients without depression and controls recruited from the outpatient clinic in China. Morning blood and urine samples were used to measure concentrations of metals and vitamins. Results Whole-blood manganese was significantly higher in the PD patients without depression than in both the PD patients with depression and the controls. Serum iron was significantly higher in the PD patients without depression than in the controls. Urine iron was also significantly higher in the PD patients without depression than in the controls. Serum copper was significantly lower in the PD patients with depression than in both the PD patients without depression and the controls. Conclusions Excessive intake of iron and accumulation of manganese seemed to be involved in the etiology of non-depressive PD.

Urine color, odor and test questions

Have you ever heard of DHEA causing blood in the urine? I have been on 50 mg of DHEA for going on 2 years now. My DHEA cap looks just like my anti oxidant cap. On two occasions (9 months apart) I mistakenly took a double dose (100 MG) of DHEA. On both occasions, I experienced a slight color indication of blood in the urine several hours later. The indication was gone by the following morning.
   This is the first time anyone has reported to us blood in urine with the use of DHEA. We doubt there is a relation.


I was reading on your site about the lady starting to use pregnenolone and her urine was darker. I also use pregnenolone and my urine has been much darker, although I do not use it every day. My SHBG was off the charts high in a recent blood test. I do believe there is a correlation between the pregnenolone and the darker urine. I do know the difference between the vitamin B yellow urine and the reddish urine from eating beets. The darker color I am seeing is almost orange.


I would like your opinion on urine therapy. I've read the books and am still unsure as what to believe.
   I have not studied urine therapy in any detail and do not know the benefits of harm in this kind of treatment. My guess is that whatever benefits urine therapy may offer for a particular medical condition, there probably are other natural treatment methods that are easier to "swallow."


Since starting pregnenolone hormone 50mg, my urine is dark in color and has an oder. Is this normal. I'm also on DHEA hormone supplement.
    This is the first I have heard of pregnenolone or DHEA hormones associated with change in urine color or odor. There are many foods and supplements that can change urine odor and color. For instance B vitamins can cause urine color to become more yellow. Beets can turn urine color reddish.


Do you have any opinions or articles on Urine Therapy.
   I have not studied the topic of urine therapy enough to have a solid opinion but I doubt if it provides any serious benefits that are not more palatably obtained from other forms of treatment.