During the course of my day-to-day consultations with various patients, I’ve had reasons to hear phrases like “Dr my urine is very yellow, I think I have malaria”, I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve heard that statement; it makes me wonder, who on earth is responsible for spreading such abominable rumours and why they would think that urine being yellow is a criteria for diagnosis of malaria.
Yellow is not an abnormal colour for urine, the colour of urine usually ranges from pale yellow to deep amber; your urine only starts to look darker when it becomes more concentrated, this means you’re not drinking enough water.
My usual response to patients that can almost swear on their lives that they have malaria because their urine is very yellow is, “your urine will be very yellow for as long as you don’t drink enough water, drink enough water and the colour of your urine won’t be so yellow.”
I decided to write an article to explain the various abnormal colours of urine and what they suggest about your health just incase there are some of our viewers who are also of the opinion that very yellow urine = Malaria.
Urine is a clear, liquid waste product of the kidneys, which is excreted from the body via the urethra. It varies in colour from pale yellow to deep amber, depending on your amount of water intake. Changes in urine colour may be an indication of certain health problems, although pigments, drugs and certain types of foods could also cause changes in urine colour.
Here are some abnormal urine colours and what they suggest about your health:
DARK BROWN OR COKE-COLOURED URINE: May be as a result of certain liver or kidney disorders or urinary tract infections, muscle injury from extreme exercise, taking certain drugs .eg. chloroquine or flagyl or eating certain foods like fava beans.
RED OR PINK URINE: Your urine may appear to be this colour as a result of blood; blood in the urine may be caused by urinary tract infections, kidney/ bladder stones, bladder cancer or monthly periods in women. Red/pink coloured urine may also be as a result of taking certain drugs.eg. Rifampicin(an antibiotic used in the treatment of tuberculosis) or certain foods such as blackberries.
BLUE OR GREEN URINE: Green urine may be due to urinary tract infections caused by pseudomonas bacteria or a rare disorder in children called familial benign hypercalcemia. Certain drugs also cause it.eg. amitryptyline (an antidepressant).
CLOUDY URINE: May be a sign of urinary tract infections.
If you notice any of these abnormal colour changes in your urine, go to a standard hospital to see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.