Since the dawn of medicine, urine has been an important diagnostic tool. It can tell you a lot about what’s going on in your body, from how hydrated you are to whether you have a urinary tract infection.
Here’s what urologist Petar Bajic, MD, has to say.
What color should urine be?
Your urine is a mixture of water, electrolytes, and waste products that your kidneys filter from your blood.
When healthy and hydrated, your urine should be colorless and pale straw or honey in color. If you don’t drink enough fluids, your urine will become more concentrated and dark yellow or yellow.
“It’s perfectly normal for the color of urine to change slightly from day to day,” says Dr. Bajic. “But it has to be yellow.”
But what happens when the color changes and the crayons move to other parts of the box? Relax first: A simple explanation, perhaps. Certain foods, antibiotics, laxatives, and dyes can temporarily change the color of urine.
Of course, this eye-catching color can be a symptom of a bigger problem: “If you see something really unusual, don’t just ignore it,” says Dr. Bajic.
So let’s find out what is normal and what needs more attention.
Clear urine sends a clear message: You may be drinking too much water.
Now, it’s true that your body needs water to stay hydrated and function properly. A rule of thumb is to aim for 64 ounces of fluid per day to keep your system running at peak efficiency.
Above this amount, your urine starts to look like water. (Plus, you’ll be going to the bathroom more often as your body works to get rid of all that extra fluid.)
An occasional open pee is not a big deal. But the ongoing problem is that it can drop salt and electrolyte levels below what your body needs.
What if your urine is clear and the cup does not clink after drinking a glass of water? This could indicate an underlying kidney problem or diabetes. In this case, it is better to consult a doctor for an answer.