Possible causes of dark urine

Dark urine is characterized by deep-colored urine that is usually straw or yellowish in color. The dark urine can have varying colors but usually deep yellow, brown or maroon.

The urine is generated in the kidneys. When an individual takes in food or fluid, it passes from the digestive tract into the circulatory system and into the kidneys where it is being filtered. The kidneys work by eliminating the waste products and surplus fluid via the urine.

Generally, the urine is pale yellow in color which indicates that the body is properly hydrated. Urine naturally contains yellow pigments called urochrome or urobilin. If the urine is darker, it becomes more concentrated.

Remember that dark urine is typically due to dehydration. Nevertheless, it might also be an indication that irregular, excess or potentially dangerous waste products are circulating in the body.

What are the conditions linked with dark urine?

  • Trauma
  • Hepatitis
  • Dehydration
  • Cirrhosis
  • Rhabdomyolysis
  • Glomerulonephritis
  • Gallstones
  • Biliary obstruction
    Dark urine

    The dark urine that is triggered by dehydration is usually honey-colored or amber.

  • Jaundice
  • Bladder stones
  • Liver disease
  • Bladder cancer
  • Malaria
  • Kidney cancer
  • Thalassemia
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Kidney or bladder stones
  • Side effects of blood-thinning medications
  • Porphyrias

Dark urine due to dehydration

The dark urine that is triggered by dehydration is usually honey-colored or amber. If an individual is dehydrated, there are other symptoms aside from dark urine such as the following:

  • Dry mouth
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Thirst
  • Dry skin
  • Constipation
  • Headache

If the individual ingested more water and the urine becomes lighter in appearance, it simply indicates that dehydration is the cause of the dark urine.

When to consult a doctor

It is vital to seek medical care if there is blood in the urine or there is dark urine that persists even after drinking water. It is vital to determine the exact cause of the symptoms.

In case the dark urine occurs along with intense pain, particularly in the back, it indicates a urinary tract infection or kidney stones.


If an individual experiences dark urine that is not due to dehydration or a side effect of certain medications, further assessment by a doctor is needed. A detailed medical history is taken and a physical exam and urinalysis is carried out.

The urinalysis involves taking a sample of at least 2-ounce of urine. The sample is analyzed for the presence of factors that might indicate an underlying medical condition.

The suitable treatment depends on the medical history, symptoms and the result of any laboratory and other diagnostic tests.


If the dark urine is caused by poor intake of fluid, it is recommended to drink more fluids. Generally, one should produce up to 6.5 cups of urine in a day and void between 4-8 times.


One Response to “Possible causes of dark urine”

  1. urine color September 16, 2016 at 11:08 am #

    Thanks for this article but now im freaked. will fentanyl use contribute to dark urine?

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