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.

9 Potential Dark Brown Urine Causes

  1. 1.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
  2. 2.Uterine Fibroids

    Uterine fibroids are noncancerous tumors in the uterus. They are common in women of childbearing age.

    Treatment ranges from medication to surgical removal of the fibroid.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    vaginal bleeding, pelvis pain, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), painful periods, irregular period
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Acute Postinfectious Glomerulonephritis

    The kidneys are a pair of important organs that lie near the spine whose function is to filter blood. There are about 1 million glomeruli in each kidney, which are tiny balls of thin blood vessels where there filtration takes place. After an infection anywhere in the body, especially a streptococcal infection (strep throat), these glomeruli may become inflamed.

    Symptoms last 2 weeks or less.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    headache, nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, fatigue
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Malignant Hyperthermia

    Malignant hyperthermia is a rare life-threatening condition usually triggered by drugs like general anesthesia. In certain individuals, these drugs can cause a drastic increase in carbon dioxide, decrease in body temperature, muscle rigidity and ultimately death if not immediately treated.

    Treatment in the ICU lasts for at least 36 hours until you are stable

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    being severely ill, shortness of breath, dark brown urine, severe fever, muscle stiffness/rigidity
    Symptoms that always occur with malignant hyperthermia:
    being severely ill
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service

    Dark Brown Urine Checker

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

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  5. 5.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
  6. 6.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
  7. 7.Hepatitis b

    Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver by the hepatitis B virus (HBV) 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.

    Treatment with medicines is usually continued for many years. Depending on age and time of infection, a chronic hepatitis can develop.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea or vomiting, headache, loss of appetite
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.G6pd Deficiency

    G6PD deficiency is an inherited condition in which the body doesn't have enough of the enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) which helps red blood cells function normally.

    Genetic conditions of this kind are currently irreversible. However, symptoms can be effectively managed with treatment.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    abdominal pain (stomach ache), fatigue, spontaneous back pain, yellow skin (jaundice), dark brown urine
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  9. 9.Iga Nephropathy

    Nephropathy is damage, disease, or other problems with the kidney. IgA nephropathy, also known as Berger's disease, is a kidney disorder in which antibodies called IgA build up in kidney tissue. This results in local inflammation that may over time hinder the kidney's ability to filter out waste, excess water, and electrolytes (salts) from the blood.

    Chronic condition requiring lifelong management.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    side pain, moderate fever, groin pain, dark brown urine, pink/blood-tinged urine
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

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.Have you experienced any nausea?
  • Q.Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
  • Q.Do you feel pain when you urinate?

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:

    • 10% Bad Smelling Urine
    • 5% Abdominal Pain (Stomach Ache)
    • 4% Fatigue
  • People who have experienced dark brown urine were most often matched with:

    • 22% Chronic Hepatitis c
    • 3% Acute Postinfectious Glomerulonephritis
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

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