Normal urine is clear and has a straw-yellow color. The color of the urine, however, can vary when foods of certain types are consumed or when certain medications are taken. Some substances that can change the color of the urine and potentially lead to darker urine are carotene, food colorings, beets, blackberries, laxatives, B complex vitamins, and drugs such as Pyridium. The urine may also appear darker when there is bleeding into the urine, and the numerous causes of bloody urine (for example, infections, stones, cancer, trauma, kidney diseases) can all contribute to a darker appearance of the urine. In the presence of a urinary tract infection, the urine can also be cloudy and may appear darker. Jaundice, which is characterized by abnormally high levels of bilirubin in the bloodstream, is caused by diseases of the liver or obstructions to the flow of bile pigment (by diseases of the head of the pancreas, diseases of the bile ducts, or the presence of stones in the bile duct) and can also be associated with darkening of the urine. It is wise to consult a health care practitioner about any change in urine appearance that is not related to diet and/or medications.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
Causes of Dark Urine
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Gallstones (Pain, Symptoms, Causes, Diet, and Treatment)
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Hemochromatosis (Iron Overload)
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Henoch-Schonlein purpura (HSP or anaphylactoid purpura), a type of blood vessel inflammation, results in rash, arthritis, and...
Hepatitis (Viral Hepatitis, A, B, C, D, E, G)
Hepatitis is most often viral, due to infection with one of the hepatitis viruses (A, B, C, D, E, F (not confirmed), and G) or...
Hepatitis A (HAV, Hep A)
Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis A (HAV, Hep A) is one type of liver disease caused by a virus. Since...
Hepatitis B (HBV, Hep B)
The hepatitis B virus (HBV, hep B) is a unique, coated DNA virus belonging to the Hepadnaviridae family of viruses. The course of...
Hepatitis C (HCV, Hep C)
Hepatitis C is an inflammation of the liver due to the hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is usually spread by blood transfusion,...
Jaundice (Hyperbilirubinemia in Adults)
Jaundice (hyperbilirubinemia) in adults may be caused by a variety of medical diseases or conditions. Some cases of jaundice can...
There are several types of kidney cancer, including renal cell cancer (renal adenocarcinoma or hypernephroma), transitional cell...
Kidney Infection (Pyelonephritis) Symptoms, Signs, Causes, Treatment
Kidney infection (pyelonephritis) usually is caused from bacteria that have spread from the bladder from a UTI (urinary tract...
Kidney Stones (nephrolithiasis)
Kidney stones are solid masses of crystalline material that form in the kidneys. Symptoms of kidney stones can include pain,...
Pancreatic cancer is a malignant tumor of the pancreas. Pancreatic cancer has been called a "silent" disease because early...
Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)
Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is characterized by numerous cysts in the kidneys. Polycystic kidney disease is a genetic...
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Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the bladder, kidneys, ureters, or urethra. E. coli, a type of bacteria that...
Vasculitis (Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Types)
Vasculitis (arteritis, angiitis) is a general term for a group of uncommon diseases which feature inflammation of the blood...
Other Causes of Dark Urine
Examples of Medications for Dark Urine
- Harvoni (ledipasvir and sofosbuvir)