Why is my urine dark

Although not exactly common, people sometimes do exhibit dark urine and based on the reason behind it, this could be too ordinary to concern yourself with, or could be a serious cause for alarm. Usually, human urine is light-yellow in color, but slight changes in the intensity of the yellowish color should not be a cause for concern if it’s temporary. The possible reasons for dark urine are listed below along with the other necessary details one might need to know before deciding which ones apply to them and which ones could be dangerous if not treated in time. However, before reading the causes, it should be kept in mind that the term “dark” urine is vague. Since “dark” does not specify any colors in particular, it could be dark yellow, dark green, dark brown, black or of any other color for that matter. It is due to this that the article is focused on all reasons accountable for dark urine, rather than focusing on any one type.

General reasons

1. Food –- The most harmless and common reason for dark urine is foods like rhubarb, beans, aloe, carotene, beet, blackberry and other vegetables with dark pigmentations. Artificial color in beverages, ice creams, candies and such can also turn ones urine darker. The pigments, be it natural or artificial, will mostly be excreted out of the system while the person urinates and defecates; thus giving the urine (as well as the feces at times) a darker color than otherwise.

2. Medicines –- Vitamin B complex capsules, laxatives and a host of other medicines are also known to affect the color of the urine and are generally not causes for concern. On the other hand, if it is a medicine that you take regularly, it is best to check with your doctor, even if it is just to keep him informed.

Medical conditions

1. Diseases/disorders of the urinary system –- A multitude of diseases related directly to the urinary system are often responsible for the appearance of dark colored urine. While some of these are very harmful and can also be life threatening, some can be cured easily with proper treatment. Cystitis, glomerulonephritis, urinary tract infection, stones in the urinary tract (urolithiasis), renal failure (acute tubular necrosis), kidney stones, kidney failure, kidney cancer, Wilms’ tumor and kidney infection (pyelonephritis) are some of the prominent diseases that affect the urinary system and dark colored urine can appear as a symptom of these diseases. Apart from the ailments that affect the urinary system, an external trauma via an accident can also cause the kidney to bleed, turning the color of urine dark.

2. Non-urinary diseases/disorders –- Although the urinary diseases are usually the more common causes of dark urine, there are other disorders as well, of which dark urinal discharge is a sign, though they do not affect the urinary system directly. Among them, pancreatic cancers, prostate cancers, bladder cancers, certain types of hepatitis, cirrhosis of liver and other such serious ailments are often fatal for the patient. On the other hand, dehydration, rhabdomyolysis, hemolytic anemia, prostatitis and certain less formidable types of hepatitis are curable and controllable in most cases through treatment and care.

While this more or less sums up the possible reasons behind the occurrence of dark urine, it should be noted that dark urine is not a disease in itself, rather it is a symptom for whatever it is that is causing it. It often appears when a person eats too much colored food (artificial or natural) as the pigments must be expelled from one’s body, but could just as well be the result of massive internal bleeding or dissolution of muscle tissues. While it is certainly difficult to properly diagnose the exact reason for the appearance of dark urine based only on the fact that it is dark, the exact color and conditions prior and contemporary to its appearance can help one determine the cause.

Accompanying symptoms

Other symptoms may often accompany dark urine if the cause behind it is an underlying disease; while it is certainly not desirable for the patient to experience them, but it actually helps in determining the diseases by differentiating it from other diseases that cause dark urine.

1. Urinary symptoms -– Symptoms such as dysuria or difficult urination, foul smell, frequent urination, cloudy texture and dark red or pink (bloody) urine are often the urinary complaints and signs that accompany dark urine. Keeping a note of all the accompanying symptoms will also help the doctor diagnose the original source of the problems faster.

2. Non-urinary symptoms -– As mentioned earlier, there are diseases that may cause dark urine in spite of not affecting the urinary system directly. Similarly, there are also other symptoms that do not originate at the urinary system, but are accompanying signs of dark urine nonetheless. Visible internal bruising, diarrhea, malaise (general discomfort), nausea, rapid weight loss, severe pain near the abdomen or the lower back, frequent fevers, yellowish tint in the eye and over all skin, discolored feces, excessive bleeding, scratchiness, anorexia (loss of appetite) and vomiting tendency are signs which may accompany dark colored urination and may indicate the underlying disease.

Treatment options

Since dark urine is just a symptom, not a disease, it is inappropriate to seek treatment for it. If it is not caused by any ingested food or medicine, but a symptom of an underlying disease; the first course of action would be to go to a medical expert and take the necessary tests in order to determine the root cause. Once the cause is diagnosed, treatment specific to the disease, disorder or dysfunction will follow. For example, if the reason is a kind of cancer, then action will be taken after determining on which stage it is at. Depending on the progression, size, location, effects, conditions of the patient and other medical factors, experts will advise on what is the most logical course of action; chemotherapy, incision or both. Similarly, in case of stones, surgeons may try to remove those; in case of infections, antibiotics and other meds might be administered to eradicate the germs responsible. In other words, treating the underlying disease successfully will in most cases ensure that the patient’s urine goes back to its natural color.