What color should your pee be ?

It was one of the first questions I was asked when I went into the hospital with liver failure. What color should your pee be?

I don’t know about you but many people find that question intrusive so we don’t really for all good reasons talk about our toilet habits. I am actually quite funny about frosted glass bathroom doors in hotels and don’t get me started on that!

It turns out I should have paid more attention to the pee color, along with my skin turning yellow. It can be a major factor of saying you have got issues with your liver. Don’t please shy away from the awkwardness of it.

By the time I had spent weeks in hospital I had been asked anything and everything, I just went into automatic mode and trust me they have heard it all before.

The range of the color of your pee in some detail

Now I am not a medical expert but went on to discuss my liver day in and out. I think you might find it amazing the chats you get into with your medical care team.

So I said I have to give you these samples ( urine) but what are the range of things you are looking forward to? She pulled up her chair ( I think it was how she enjoyed spending her break) and began.

So I write this specifically with liver disease and alcohol in mind but this is useful regardless especially if you like a good old chat about your pee 🙁

So the bottom line your pee should be yellow to deep amber. Anyone of the below colors could do with a bit of attention.

Number 1 – Zero color

No color at all. Now this seems a bit weird but apparently we could be drinking too much water. I know you can’t win sometimes. Maybe slow down if you need and to be honest I wish I had this problem.

You are likely to be drinking a lot of water and should probably cut down. Although for most people they need to drink more.

The NHS in the UK recommends we should drink about 1.2 litres every day to stop us getting dehydrated. When you think about it is not that much and yet you struggle!

Number Two – Very dark brown

Now this is a flag if you are consuming lots of alcohol that does not agree with you and could indicate severe dehydration or like me liver disease. Now important to say I was only a social drinker and went on to develop liver disease so before you dismiss it you just never know!

Please seek medical attention if drinking water does not solve the issue and with liver disease it is vital that you get firsthand help. Dehydration can be the result of excess alcohol so I know the 0.0% abv options are really useful both for cutting back the alcohol and keeping fluid in your body but do watch the sugar intake on some brands.

You can check out my favorite alcohol free beer review options here

Number Three Pink or reddish

Now I remember this well as my dad had grown some beetroot in the garden and I love them. I remember cringing in the toilet later that day shouting I am bleeding inside and I am dying. Of course the beetroot had made my pees turn pink.

I remember not eating it for years afterward and even then my mum asked what color should your pee be ? Then laughed.

I had early experience in this area. Now It is of course harmless even after checking the first time and freaking out.

Beetroot, blueberries and rhubarb can all have this effect so please don’t panic. Now if you are not eating them day in day out ( are you really ?) then get checked out as it is sometimes an indication of kidney disease, urinary tract infections, tumors or prostate problems.

Now before you go and say what color you should pee be doctor, bear in mind most of the time it’s harmless.

If however you believe it to be blood please get urgent medical help.

Number Four Bright Orange

Now when the nurse discussed this with me I had never honestly heard of it so it was a total new one on me. My learning curve was already on a massive trajectory so I have laid back and listened.

She said It could be down to food dye, or not drinking enough water. Food dye I remember my mum putting it in her cake but I guess lots food has it in.

Now it can be another sign of a liver or bile duct condition. So again please seek medical attention.

Number Five Blue or green

Again a new one on me but it can be linked to a rare genetic disease which they call familial hypercalcaemia and can affect the color of your pee. Bacteria or certain medicines can also be the cause.

Ask your pharmacist as they are good at this stuff and don’t care either what you say.

Of course the one I want to highlight is very dark brown or maybe it looks more like syrup on occasions as that can really be a sign of liver disease and as I have reduced my stress, with no alcohol what’s so ever my pee ranges from clear as I am obsessed with water to yellow to deep amber. That get a big tick!

Thank goodness. However, if the dark pee coincides with a yellowing of the skin and swelling in the stomach and ankles it is really best to see your doctor urgently. You can read about my liver disease symptoms here if you are interested.

My lesson in pee color

So it turns out that the question of what color your pee should be is rather useful. It was an insightful 20-minute chat with the nurse who was on her break after all. The thing is most of the time your pee color will be down to what we drink or not drinking enough liquids.

Now alcohol and dehydration can be major factors. Over and above it is best you cross-check as it could be a sign that something else is amiss.

What color should your pee be is a key question for your health and if you have experience with this topic please comment below. Keep it lighthearted if you want. I often find that humor in this situation is the best course of action. I reply to all comments and questions.

For more advice visit the British Liver Trust



4 thoughts on “What color should your pee be?”

  1. As a paramedic I am delighted about this post. If you asked our grandparents, you would be surprised how much more attention they pay to their pee (and poo!!). For centuries people really closely monitored those items, because frequency, colour and texture indicated overall health or sickness (did you know that initially diabetes was diagnosed by tasting urine? sweet taste indicated diabetes). At some point we stopped doing this and nowadays patients feel awkward and very uncomfortable discussing things like pee colour or smell. I am glad that you discuss this openly as it may help in early diagnosis of health issues.

    • Thanks so much and given your profession that means so much – total respect. I agree actually and I kind of new about the diabetes but it had escaped my mind so its brilliant you draw attention to it. You are so right people now feel shy about talking about it, I told a friend I was writing about this and they said “you can’t write about what color should your pee be”! It is a key indicator and actually easy to follow. I really appreciate you taking time out to comment as it helps raise awareness. All the best, Phil

  2. Funny enough is that most people do not actually know that the colour of our pee has a lot in relation to who we are and what is wrong with our overall health in general. Honestly, it is not an easy thing but generally, it is a noteworthy thing to read and actually be able to figure out in case we see changes in our urine. Thanks

    • I agree Sherry, I don’t think people actually think about it and they honestly don’t know what to look for, I really appreciate the comment, Thanks Phil


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