The color of your urine might not be something you concern yourself with often, but perhaps you should. Though slightly unpleasant, glancing into the toilet to see what color your urine is can be a good way to assess your health and clue you in to potential health problems. If you notice that your urine is dark, there could be several causes, including the vegetables you eat. If you regularly notice that your urine is dark, speak with your doctor to determine the cause and find an appropriate treatment.
Pale yellow to amber-colored urine is normal. Urine is waste that filters through your kidneys, and most people produce about 6 1/2 cups a day, according to Harvard Medical School. The normal yellow color is because of urochrome, a substance that is produced as hemoglobin breaks down. Many different things can change the color of your urine, but in most cases it's harmless and will go away on its own.
Vegetables and Urine Color
Eating large amounts of certain kinds of vegetables can alter the hue of your urine, making it darker than usual. Beets can turn your urine a dark red or pink color, while asparagus can tint your urine a green color. Eating fava beans can turn your urine a dark brown color, according to MayoClinic.com.
Medications can cause your urine to darken. Certain chemotherapy drugs and laxatives can turn your urine a dark orange color, while other medications, such as amitriptyline, indomethacin and propofol can color your urine green or blue. Dehydration can cause your urine to become dark yellow or orange, but increasing your intake of fluids will help it return to normal. Dark purple urine might indicate porphyria, which is a red blood cell disorder.
If you notice your urine frequently taking on a darker color, call your doctor. In the majority of cases, a change in urine color is due to diet, medication use or not drinking enough fluids, but it's important to let your physician know so he can monitor your health. If you have visible blood in your urine, call your doctor right away because it could indicate a urinary tract infection or kidney stones. Dark brown urine also warrants a call to your doctor because it can signal a liver disorder, especially when accompanied by pale stools and yellow skin.
Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.