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The meaning behind dark urine

Urine is usually clear, yellow, or any shade in between, but can become darker under certain conditions.

What causes it?

In the majority of cases, dark urine is caused by dehydration. If you’re not getting enough water, urine can become dark yellow (think amber or butterscotch) in color. Certain medications, foods, or dyes in food can change the color of urine, too.

Dark colors to look out for include red, pink, or brown, because these might indicate a condition like blood in the urine, a urinary tract infection, or a liver or kidney disorder.


If your urine is dark yellow, make sure you drink some water right away, and keep yourself hydrated. If you notice red or brown urine, review the medications you’re taking as well as food you’ve eaten recently, and call your provider if you notice other physical symptoms or if you can’t think of a reason why your urine would change color.

  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Urine color.” MayoClinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, March 2015. Web.
  • “What The Color of Your Urine Says About You (Infographic).” ClevelandClinic. Cleveland Clinic, Oct 2013. Web.

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