You’ve probably noticed that the color (and smell) of your urine changes depending on your hydration level and the time since you last urinated. certain foods can also affect the appearance of urine. And if you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection (UTI), you’ve likely noticed a change in the color, smell, and appearance of your urine.
Green urine is not a common symptom, but it can cause alarm. here are 10 causes of green urine. spoiler alert: only two of them are really of concern (and they’re very rare).
10 causes of green urine
Medications can cause your urine to change color. there are seven medications that can turn urine green. the color change is due to a chemical reaction. a blue pigment in the medication mixes with the natural yellow color of urine and makes it appear green (or bluish-green).
In many cases, the cause of the color change is something called the “phenol group” in the chemical structure of the drug. when your body breaks it down, it produces blue pigments in your urine. after these mix with the yellow pigments (urochrome) in the urine, the end result is green urine.
drugs that can turn urine green
methazine (phenergan): an antihistamine that treats allergies and nausea
cimetidine (tagamet): an antacid that treats gerd and heartburn
metoclopramide (regulan): an anti-nausea drug
amitriptyline (amitrile): an antidepressant that treats fibromyalgia and depression
indomethacin (indocine): a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)
propofol (diprivan): an anesthetic used in surgery
methylene blue: a water-based dye used in examinations, surgery, and in the treatment of methemoglobinemia (a rare blood disorder)
other causes of green urine
Medications aren’t the only thing that can turn urine green. Other causes of green urine include:
food colouring: artificial green or blue colouring
utis: when the cause is the bacterium pseudomonas aeruginosa
liver problems: sometimes cause a buildup of bilirubin in the body
should i be worried?
When the cause of green urine is a medication, there is usually nothing to worry about. the color should go away in a few hours or when you stop taking the medicine.
There are only two causes of green urine that are serious, and both are very rare.
Although very rare, a urinary tract infection with the bacteria pseudomonas aeruginosa can cause a bluish-green tint. This happens because the bacteria produce pyocyanin, a blue pigment.
The other serious cause of green urine is jaundice. This condition can occur if you have severe problems with your liver, pancreas, or gallbladder. Jaundice is a buildup of bile (bilirubin) in the blood that causes a yellowish, and sometimes greenish, discoloration of the skin, eyes, and urine.
green urine myths
Some people report that asparagus adds a greenish tint to urine, but there is no strong scientific evidence to support this. Most commonly, people notice a typical asparagus odor in their urine. but that’s a topic for another day.
some people also cite vitamin b complex as a cause of green urine. Riboflavin (vitamin B2) has a greenish-yellow fluorescent pigment, but this makes urine a brighter yellow, not green.
what color urine can tell you about your health?
Healthy urine should be a light, pale yellow color. When you are dehydrated, your urine may darken and have a stronger odor. that’s your body doing its job to prevent fluid waste.
But if you notice that your urine is consistently dark yellow, orange, brown, red, or blood-tinged, then that may be a sign that something else is going on.
In addition to color, other things to pay attention to are:
how often you need to urinate
how much urine you produce
the appearance of your urine (for example, is it cloudy or foamy)
changes in smell (strong, unpleasant, sweet)
If you notice a noticeable or consistent change in any of these features, it’s best to see a health care provider. Often a simple urine test can tell if something is wrong.
green pee in st. patrick’s day
Preschool teachers and parents alike enjoy adding green food coloring to toilet water at st. Saint Patrick’s day. this surprises children with “leprechaun pee”.
but are there other causes of green urine on vacation?
every year in st. On St. Patrick’s Day, restaurants, bars, and pubs across the country offer green beers, hamburgers, shamrock shakes, and other foods and beverages colored with green food dyes.
So, can consuming a day’s worth of green alcohol cause green urine? the answer is yes, possibly. Green urine can continue for about 12 hours after you finish eating or drinking things that contain artificial green food coloring. But if your urine stays green for more than 24 hours, there may be something else going on.
And if artificial green food colors aren’t your thing, go for naturally green foods. Or you could “go green” and avoid meat and animal products altogether.