What Dark Urine Means, and 13 Other Things Your Pee's Color and Smell Is Trying To Tell You

How can I get you interested in reading an article encouraging you to look at your own pee? Let's try this: the average person pees up to eight times a day, emptying a cumulative 6.5 cups of urine out of your bladder. I bet you had no idea, right?

But besides eating up a considerable amount of your time, the fact that you have to pee so often means you should probably start speaking your bladder's language. After all, pee can tell you if you're well-hydrated, if you're dehydrated, if you are developing certain types of illnesses, or if you are eating a ton of asparagus. It can help you catch health problems, like UTIs, before they get crazy-bad, and it can help you make better decisions about your life (like committing to drink more water each day, or committing to writing yourself a note every time you have beets for lunch, so that you don't think you're dying when you pee three hours later).

Ready to investigate the colors and smells that give you a little peek at the inner workings of your body, every time you sit down to pay the water bill? Then come along with me on a wild adventure to your bladder (come on, it'll only take two minutes, and it's not that gross).

Colors

Totally Clear Pee

Well, aren't you well-hydrated. I bet you drink a bottle of water every morning right when you wake up, just like Cameron Diaz told you to. But do exercise care — it is actually possible to drink too much water.

Pale Yellow

The most classic pee shade around, the LBD of pee colors.You're well-hydrated, but not so well-hydrated that it's weird, like Madam Clear Pee above. Good for you! If nothing else, at least you have this going for you.

Bright Yellow

You just took a multi-vitamin, right? But the nearly neon urine is not a sign of your new vitamin-related superpowers; bright yellow pee is just a side effect of B2, which is included in most multi-vitamins. Did you know that B2 is the same as riboflavin? Well, now you do.

Dark Yellow/ Amber

You're dehydrated, possibly because of excess caffeine consumption, too much exercise, or being overheated. Drink some water now, friendo.

Orange

Sometimes, pee can turn orange after you eat foods with orange coloring in them, or take certain medications. But orange pee can also be a sign of dehydration, as well as a liver condition. Drink some water, and talk to your doctor if you keep seeing carrot-colored wee in the bowl.

Brown

Brown pee could mean that you have a liver or kidney problem, a UTI, or that you've taken certain antibiotics or a laxative that contains the ingredient senna. It could mean that you are wildly, crazily dehydrated. It could even mean that you've just eaten an excess of fava beans, Dr. Lechter. Drink some water, and keep an eye on your pee — if the color persists, talk to your doctor.

Pink/Red

You may have recently eaten rhubarbs, blackberries, or those dreaded tricksters, beets (which can also make your poop turn disturbing shades of red). But if you haven't, pink pee can also be caused by certain antibiotics used to treat tuberculosis, or taking Ex-Lax or Thorazine. If none of the above apply to you, get thee to a doctor's appointment — you may have blood in your urine, and blood in urine can signify an intense UTI, kidney stones, mercury poisoning, and other bad stuff.

Green-ish

Asparagus! The culprit behind greenish pee is almost always asparagus. Green-ish asparagus pee is also usually accompanied by the infamous "asparagus stank" scent, which will let you definitively know. But if you're getting the green pee without the stank (or, you know, without eating asparagus), it could be a sign of a bacterial UTI.

Cloudy

If your pee is a normal color but cloudy, like a pond that you can't see to the bottom of, it could be an indicator of a UTI, kidney stones, or other health issues. Time to take that pee and put it in a cup at a doctor's office, where it belongs!

Smells

Strong

Pee that smells the same way your pee normally does, only stronger, can mean that you're dehydrated. You should probably be drinking a whole bottle of water every morning, like Cameron Diaz said. God, we probably all should. Fine, Diaz! You win this one!

Sweet

A sweet smell wafting off your pee seems like it would be pleasant, but can actually be a sign of unchecked diabetes. So please call a doctor if it starts smelling like spun sugar every time that you go tinkle.

Musty

Musty-smelling pee can be a sign of a liver problem, so if your pee smells like a leather jacket that's been sitting in an attic for the past decade, please, talk to your doctor.

Extremely Stanky

Listen, you know if you just ate asparagus. So, if you didn't, and your pee smells so funky, you could swear it came from the cabinet of Dr. Funkenstein, and not your delicate little lady-flower, it could be a sign that you have a bacterial infection. Check in with your gyno before things get any worse (or stankier).

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