What Your Urine May Be Telling You

What Your Urine May Be Telling You

It is easy to take your body for granted. It is an amazing natural machine that is constantly trying to create homeostasis (stable equilibrium). Yet, your body is also, constantly, giving you subtle clues as to what may be happening internally in the hopes that you will notice and assist its quest toward optimal health. Sometimes these subtle hints are hard to see until more prominent symptoms begin to occur and you visit a western doctor for help. 

Fortunately there are naturopathic, holistic, and other alternative health practitioners that are trained to look for systemic clues and be able to address the root cause before it blossoms out of control. One easy way to assess your health is to pay attention to your urine. Various colors and even smells can mean various things which could determine what your urine may be telling you.

Dark Yellow, Amber, Honey Color

During a very busy day or if you are distracted for hours at a time you may not realize that you haven’t had any adequate hydration. Don’t worry, your urine will tell you. It turns out that in many instances, if you are lacking hydration your body will excrete darker colored urine in the hue of dark yellow, amber, or honey. Sometimes even a light orange. It is not recommended to assess your hydration by the color of your urine, however if it is unusually dark yellow once in a while this could be a clue. Try hydrating with clean, filtered, plain water. 

If your urine is continually dark you may want to check with your doctor. Other more serious indications of dark color urine (that may also be associated with dehydration) include:

  • Decline in kidney function 
  • Kidney stones recurrence
  • Development of hyperglycemia (excessive glucose in blood)
  • Prevalence of some components of the metabolic syndrome

Sometimes, if it is dark orange or brown it may also be linked to: 

  • Jaundice (bile duct obstruction)
  • Rhabdomyolysis (destruction of muscle cells)
  • Gilbert’s syndrome (a mild liver disorder)


Your urine may sometimes emit an odor. It is often associated with something you have eaten such as the dank smell that comes from eating asparagus, however there are some odors that may cause concern.

According to Medical News Today these are some of the smells and causes of urine exuding a particular odor:

  • Dehydration – Ammonia smell
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI) – Putrid/rotting smell 
  • Diabetes – Sweet smell
  • Organ failure – Fish smell
  • Bacterial vaginosis (vagina infection) – Fish smell


Clear or light yellow urine is considered the best color for normal hydration and metabolic function. When urine is cloudy, meaning that it looks like it is yellow with a whitish tint, it could indicate a urinary tract infection (UTI). 

A study published in The Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine found that,

“Overall, “cloudy urine” had the highest accuracy (83.1%), and “leukocytes in the urine” had the highest sensitivity (82.8%). The highest specificity was for “fever” (99.0%); however, it had a very low sensitivity (6.9%). Subjects were able to predict their own UTI with an accuracy of 66.2%, The UTI signs and symptoms can predict a UTI more accurately than individual subjects can by using subjective impressions of their own signs and symptoms.”

Other indications of cloudy or milky white urine may include:

  • Overabundance of minerals such as calcium or phosphate
  • Excessive proteins
  • Sexually transmitted disease (STI)
  • Inflammation of the vagina
  • Prostatitis

Dark Red, or Other Weird Colors

If you eat certain foods (like beets), take certain medications or consume high amounts of vitamins your urine can present as deep red, dark orange or even dark blue. Fava beans and rhubarb have been known to cause urine to turn dark brown or even black while blackberries can actually turn urine pink. 

Before you panic it is important to assess if you have taken any of these things. If not, you will want to inspect your urine and if it continues to show different colors it may be something serous, particularly red which may indicate blood in your urine.

Overall, it is important to remain aware of the clues your body may be sending through the color of your urine. There should be no concern if there is an occasional change in color however if any color change remains chronic (continual) what your urine may be telling you is to visit your doctor.