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When Your Kidneys Are Failing, What Colour Is Your Urine?

Clues about your kidney health might be visible during your next trip to the bathroom. An increase in proteins, sugars, and blood cells can change the color of your urine or darken it. Sometimes, this color change may mean your kidneys aren’t functioning as well as they should.

But your urine can change color for many reasons, including dehydration, food or beverages you’ve recently consumed, or other reasons.

Read on for more information about your urine color when you have kidney failure and the other symptoms to look for.

Learn more about kidney failure.

What color is urine when your kidneys are failing?
If your urine is a dark amber color, red, or brownTrusted Source, it may show that your kidneys are failing.

However, not all darker urine is a symptom of a kidney health condition. Darker yellow urine may also mean that you’re dehydrated. For some people, urine can turn red after eating beets or foods with some dyes, and urine may also change color due to medications you take.

What causes urine to change colors when your kidneys are failing?
The kidneys usually remove liquid waste from your body and keep minerals, salts, and water in balance.

If your kidneys are failing, they may retain fluids, and harmful waste can build up in your body. If this happens, your urine may include excess protein, toxins, and blood. This can cause your urine to change color, becoming a darker tan, brown, or even slightly red.

What color is urine when your kidneys are healthy?
Generally, if your urine is clear or pale yellowTrusted Source, it means that you’re well hydrated and your kidneys work well, but your urine can be various colors. Here are other colors your urine may be and what they may mean for your health:

Dark yellow: This urine color may show you’re dehydrated and need to drink more water.
Pink to reddish: This color of urine may occur from something you ate, or you may have blood in your urine. You may need to contact your healthcare professional for tests if you think you have blood in your urine.
Blue: Your urine may turn blue if you’ve consumed something with food dyes that haven’t dissolved during digestion.
Foamy or fizzy: If your urine is so foamy that you need to flush it several times, you may have protein in your urine. Having protein in your urine can be a symptom of kidney failure. Talk with your healthcare professional if the foamy urine persists.
Learn more about what the color of your urine may mean.

What are other symptoms of kidney failure?
Many people don’t have symptoms of kidney disease at first. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 9 in 10Trusted Source people with kidney disease don’t even know they have it. And in the early stages of kidney failure, there are few, if any, symptoms.

As kidney disease progresses, in addition to visible changes in the color of your urine, there may be other symptoms of kidney failure, including:

less urine when you pee
fluid retention that causes your legs, ankles, and feet to swell
difficulty sleeping
muscle cramps, especially at night
severe fatigue or drowsiness
frequent, lasting nausea
shortness of breath
chest pain or pressure
What’s the treatment for kidney failure?
The exact treatment for kidney failure depends on the specific cause and severity of the failure. Treatment options include:

Lifestyle changes
These lifestyle habits may help you manage your kidney health and related health conditions:

eat a well-balanced, healthy diet
keep your salt intake low (less than 6000mg per day – 1 teaspoon)
try to exercise at least 150 minutes a week
quit or avoid smoking
avoid over-the-counter NSAIDs like acetaminophen and ibuprofen unless your healthcare professional has approved it – they may harm your kidneys
minimizing your alcohol consumption
reduce the amount of protein you eat
These medications may be used to treat kidney failure and the conditions that affect your kidneys:

calcium and vitamin D supplements
medications to lower your blood pressure, like angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)
You may need dialysis or a kidney transplant to help remove toxins from your body if your kidney failure becomes severe.

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