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What does it mean when your urine is very dark?

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Urine is formed by excess water and waste products from the blood. The kidney then will filter urine from the blood and send it for excretion from our body. The normal colour for urine ranges from pale yellow to dark amber. Normally, any changes in urine colour is not harmful to the body. However, there are some situations where a very dark urine might indicate some serious problem. In this article, we will look at 6 common reasons for a very dark urine colour.

1) Dehydration

Dehydration is the most common cause of dark urine and it occurs when there is not enough water in your body. This can happen through many reasons such as excessive sweating, not drinking enough water or frequent urination. Symptoms of dehydration include thirst, dry mouth, dry lips, dizziness and fatigue. For mild to moderate cases, drinking more water plus oral rehydration solution if needed can correct this condition. This can easily be done at home. In severe cases, patients will usually feel very lethargic, have very dry mouth and lips, very weak pulse and very low blood pressure. This patient needs to be treated at a hospital with the use of intravenous drip (IV fluid) in order to replace lost fluids.

2) Food

Another reason that can turn the urine colour to dark urine is food. Some foods are known to have strong natural colouring. These include blackberries, fava beans, rhubarb, beets and also aloe. All of these foods will usually turn the urine to dark brown, dark red or tea-like colour if taken a lot in a short period of time. Normally, these foods are harmless and will not pose any risk to your health. With time, the colouring will be excreted from the body and the urine colour will return back to normal.

3) Medication

Another substance that can turn the urine colour when taken into the body is medications. Prescribed drugs such as antibiotics, laxatives, anti-malarial drugs and muscle relaxants can give a very dark urine colour. Bear in mind that this is just a harmful side effect from these medications and treatment is usually not needed. For your confirmation, feel free to ask your doctor about any possible side effects.

4) Hematuria

Hematuria is a term that is used by doctors to describe blood in urine. In some cases, bloody urine can make urine look very dark. There are several causes that are responsible for this. These include urinary tract infections, internal injury, bladder or kidney cancer, urinary tract infection or even as simple as menstruation. Treatments will vary depending on the cause.

5) Liver disease

Several liver diseases can change the urine colour. Hepatitis, which means liver inflammation can cause urine to appear dark brown in colour. It is usually caused by a viral infection and needs anti-viral medication to treat it. If it is not treated, hepatitis can cause scarring and permanent liver damage. This condition is called cirrhosis, another cause for dark coloured urine. Cirrhosis is a serious condition without a known cure.

6) Kidney disease

Infected kidneys might be a reason why your urine appears very dark in colour. A kidney infection called Post-Streptococcal Glomerulonephritis (PSGN) can turn your urine into reddish-brown colour. Patients with this infection might have swollen faces, hands and feet, tiredness and infrequent urination. Although this infection usually affects the children, it is reported that some adults also can be infected.

While some of the causes mentioned above are harmless and need no treatment, some of it requires special attention. If you think that your dark coloured urine is caused by a serious condition, quickly go and meet your doctor. If you prefer an online appointment, you can do so on doctoroncall’s website.

Clare Louise

The author Clare Louise