In addition to taking a thorough medical history and performing a physical exam, your doctor might recommend certain diagnostic tests, including:
- Urinalysis. Your doctor uses urine tests to look for red blood cells, high levels of protein, and excreted minerals in the urine that may indicate kidney or urinary tract problems. A sample of your urine is also likely to be checked for bacteria that cause infection.
- Blood tests. Certain blood tests measure the level of creatinine and blood urea nitrogen — waste products that build up in your bloodstream when your kidneys are damaged and not filtering properly. Your doctor might also check a sample of your blood for elevated levels of liver enzymes, and for conditions such as diabetes.
Treatment, if needed, will depend on the condition that causes the change in urine color.
Lifestyle and home remedies
When you're dehydrated, your urine becomes more concentrated and darker in color. If this happens, it might mean you need more fluids. Make sure you drink enough fluids daily to stay hydrated and keep yourself healthy.
Preparing for your appointment
You'll likely start by seeing your primary care provider. In some cases, you might be referred to a doctor who specializes in urinary tract disorders (urologist).
Here's some information to help you prepare for your appointment.
What you can do
When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance to prepare for common diagnostic tests. Make a list of:
- Your symptoms and when they began
- Key medical information, including other conditions for which you're being treated, and family history of bladder or kidney diseases
- All medications, vitamins and other supplements you take, including doses
- Questions to ask your doctor
For urine color, questions to ask include:
- What might be causing my symptoms?
- What tests do I need?
- Will I need treatment?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you questions, such as:
- What color is your urine?
- Do you see blood or blood clots in your urine?
- Does it happen all the time or only sometimes?
- Do you notice an unusual odor to your urine?
- Are you urinating more or less frequently than usual?
- Do you have pain while urinating?
- Has your appetite changed?
- Do you seem to be more or less thirsty than usual?
- Have you had previous urinary problems?
- Do you have allergies?
Oct. 24, 2020
- Wein AJ, et al., eds. Evaluation of the urologic patient: History, physical examination, and urinalysis. In: Campbell-Walsh Urology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2016. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 21, 2017.
- Kurtz M, et al. Etiology and evaluation of hematuria in adults. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed June 13, 2017.
- Buttaravoli P, et al. Colorful urine. In: Minor Emergencies. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 21, 2017.
- What the color of your urine means. The National Kidney Foundation. https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/what-color-your-urine-means. Accessed June 21, 2017.
- Aycock RD, et al. Abnormal urine color. Southern Medical Journal. 2012;105:43.
- Cholestasis. Merck Manual Consumer Edition. https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/liver-and-gallbladder-disorders/manifestations-of-liver-disease/cholestasis. Accessed June 21, 2017.
- Ferri FF. Brown urine. In: Ferri's Differential Diagnosis: A Practical Guide to the Differential Diagnosis of Symptoms, Signs and Clinical Disorders. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2011. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 21, 2017.
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