Read below about dark brown urine, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your dark brown urine from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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Dark Brown Urine Symptoms

The body eliminates excess water and waste through urine. Urine is typically yellow in color and depending on the amount of water in the urine, this yellow color can range from pale (diluted), to deep gold or amber (concentrated).

Even with this broad range of normal colors, many different processes can change the color of urine from yellow to dark brown or even pink or maroon. Most of these processes are benign, but processes that produce dark brown urine are usually a sign of an underlying problem and should always be followed up with your doctor.

If you notice dark brown urine, take note of other symptoms you may be experiencing, such as:

Make an appointment with your doctor as soon as you notice any of these dark brown urine symptoms to get appropriate care.

Dark Brown Urine Causes Overview

The process of urination requires multiple parts of the body – the kidneys filter the urine, the ureters carry urine from the kidney to the bladder where urine is stored, and finally the urethra takes urine from the bladder and expels it from the body. All of these are parts of the urinary tract.

Anything that your kidney filters and excretes via the urinary tract can affect the color of the urine. Urine can change color depending on the amount of water your body excretes, pigments present in food, and systemic processes that cause bodily breakdown.

Medical conditions

  • Infection: Many types of outside bacteria can easily enter the body via the urinary tract, including sexually transmitted bacteria such as gonorrhea and chlamydia. Urinary tract infections often cause dark brown urine symptoms in addition to pain.

  • Blood disorders: Conditions that cause breakdown and destruction of blood cells can turn urine dark brown. Any blood disorder that involves breakdown of hemoglobin – a component of red blood cells – will be excreted by the kidneys turning the urine dark brown.

  • Systemic disease: Diseases that affect the kidney and liver can seriously affect the processes that filter and excrete urine. Such conditions can include cancer, hepatitis, and cirrhosis.

Medication

  • Antibiotics: Certain antibiotics such as metronidazole often turn the urine dark brown. The change in color is usually benign and due to pigment in the medications that are filtered out into the urine.
  • Antimalarial: Drugs such as chloroquine and primaquine can also turn urine dark brown.

Environmental causes

  • Diet: Eating large amounts of fava beans, rhubarb, and or aloe can cause dark brown urine. The mechanisms are not clearly known. Furthermore, severe dehydration and insufficient water intake can also turn urine dark brown.
  • Exercise: Overly strenuous exercise can cause serious breakdown and damage of muscle cells. This breakdown of muscle releases toxic products (myoglobin) into the bloodstream that are filtered and excreted by the kidneys. These breakdown products turn the urine dark brown and injure the kidneys. This is a serious illness needing immediate medical attention.

A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Dark Brown Urine

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced dark brown urine. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Dehydration

    Dehydration occurs when the body does not have fluid to function properly, because of decreased intake or increased losses like vomiting and diarrhea. Symptoms of dehydration include extreme thirst, dark urine, fatigue, and dizziness.

    With rehydration, symptoms resolve completely.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, dizziness, vomiting or diarrhea, racing heart beat, being severely ill
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  2. 2.Non - Specific Change in Urine

    Urine is the product of the kidneys filtering the blood from waste products and excess water. Depending on what you eat, the color and odor of your urine can change. Beets are known to turn urine pink or red, which can be mistaken for blood. Asparagus sometimes gives a distinctive smell. Medication can also change smell and color of your urine.

    If due to diet, your urine will go back to normal color within days, if due to medication it will last as long as the course of the medication.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    a change in either color of odor of urine, frequent urination
    Symptoms that always occur with non-specific change in urine:
    a change in either color of odor of urine
    Symptoms that never occur with non-specific change in urine:
    painful urination, bright red (bloody) urine, fever, frequent urination
    Urgency:
    Wait and watch
  3. 3.Chronic Hepatitis c

    Hepatitis C is an infection of the liver by the hepatitis C virus (HCV) that is carried in human blood. It spreads through contact with infected blood, such as through infected needles, toothbrushes, or razors, through unprotected sex with an infected person, and from mother to baby during childbirth.

    Hepatitis C is a chronic infection and without treatment the effect on life expectancy is difficult to predict.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, nausea, muscle aches, loss of appetite, joint pain
    Symptoms that never occur with chronic hepatitis c:
    pain in the lower right abdomen, pain in the lower left abdomen, pain in the upper left abdomen, pain around the belly button
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Chronic Kidney Disease

    Chronic kidney disease, also known as chronic renal failure, is a disorder caused by gradual loss of kidney function. It is most common in elderly individuals.

    This condition cannot be reversed; however, treatment can delay or stop the disease from worsening.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, decreased sex drive, dry skin
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Acute Kidney Injury

    Acute kidney injury is a sudden episode of damage or failure to the kidney. It is common in older adults as well as patients in hospital.

    Treatment depends on the underlying cause of kidney failure.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea or vomiting, urinary changes, shortness of breath, fatigue
    Symptoms that always occur with acute kidney injury:
    urinary changes
    Symptoms that never occur with acute kidney injury:
    vaginal bleeding
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room

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  6. 6.Urinary Tract Infection

    In women, the opening to the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body) is very close to the anus, and bacteria from the anus can easily escape and travel up the urethra. These bacteria can infect the bladder, and cause what is known as a urinary tract infection (UTI).

    Symptoms most often go away within 24 to 48 hours after treatment begins.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), pelvis pain, sudden urgency to urinate, signs of urinary tract inflammation, urinary changes
    Symptoms that always occur with urinary tract infection:
    signs of urinary tract inflammation
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  7. 7.Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia

    Anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells. In some cases, this can be caused by an attack of the immune system on the body's own red blood cells.

    Chronic, but curable with relapses and remissions

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, abdominal pain (stomach ache), fever, racing heart beat, joint pain
    Symptoms that never occur with autoimmune hemolytic anemia:
    painful urination
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Urethritis

    Urethritis is an inflammation of the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine away from the bladder.

    Within a day or two of antibiotic treatment, symptoms usually resolve.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    painful urination, penis pain, fluid leaking, pink/blood-tinged urine, cloudy urine
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  9. 9.Gall Bladder Infection (Cholecystitis)

    Cholecystitis is the inflammation of the gallbladder. The gallbladder holds bile (a digestive juice). Gallstones can form when the bile gets thick, and these stones can block up the gallbladder and cause inflammation.

    Indefinite without surgery

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea, constipation
    Symptoms that always occur with gall bladder infection (cholecystitis):
    abdominal pain (stomach ache)
    Symptoms that never occur with gall bladder infection (cholecystitis):
    pain in the upper left abdomen, pain in the lower left abdomen
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  10. 10.Rhabdomyolysis

    Rhabdomyolysis is a syndrome most commonly resulting from muscle injury following extreme exertion such as endurance exercise or weight lifting or following a severe accident. Sometimes rhabdomyolysis may result from medications - most commonly medications to treat elevated cholesterol such as statins. Severity can range from mild to life threatening kidney disease from muscle enzymes entering the circulation.

    Most patients recover in a few days but occasionally will need prolonged hospital care if the kidneys are injured.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, nausea, muscle aches, being severely ill, change in urine color
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service

Dark Brown Urine Treatments and Relief

Many causes of dark brown urine can be stopped or prevented with simple lifestyle changes.

  • Take note of your medications: If your dark brown urine is the result of medications you are taking, talk to your doctor about your options. Your doctor may discontinue your medication or suggest a similar alternative.
  • Notice your diet and the foods you consume: Very specific foods such as fava beans, rhubarb, and aloe cause dark brown urine. Cutting back on intake of these foods should resolve your changes in urine color.
  • Insufficient fluid intake can cause dark brown urine in severe cases: Drinking more water daily is a simple way to combat this symptom. Buy a large bottle of water to drink throughout the day or try to drink extra cups of water at mealtimes.

If these home remedies and lifestyle changes do not help to improve your dark brown urine symptoms, make an appointment to see your doctor.

Your doctor will perform the following diagnostic tests in order to make the proper diagnosis. ### Dark brown urine treatment will be diagnosis dependent and your doctor will discuss all of the appropriate options. ###

  • Urinalysis: Your doctor will take a urine sample in order to look for red blood cells, levels of protein, and excreted minerals and pigments in the urine that may indicate underlying kidney or urinary tract problems. Your doctor may also check for bacteria.
  • Blood tests: Certain blood tests can measure the level of waste products that build up in your bloodstream when your kidneys are damaged and not filtering properly. Your doctor may also check for elevated levels of liver enzymes that indicate liver damage.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Dark Brown Urine

  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Do you feel pain when you urinate?
  • Q.Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
  • Q.Is your mouth very dry?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our dark brown urine symptom checker to find out more.

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Dark Brown Urine Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced dark brown urine have also experienced:

    • 11% Bad Smelling Urine
    • 5% Abdominal Pain (Stomach Ache)
    • 4% Fatigue
  • People who have experienced dark brown urine were most often matched with:

    • 66% Dehydration
    • 33% Chronic Hepatitis c
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

A.I. Health Assistant

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having dark brown urine

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