A proven way to tell the difference between orange urine, yellow-orange and dark yellow.

If you’ve read somewhere that orange urine can be a sign of disease and are wondering if what you’re seeing as orange is actually a dark yellow color, here are tips to better identify the actual color.

You’ll need a clear plastic cup (8-10 ounce) with about a 3.5 inch diameter.

This way, a woman can securely place the rim against her urethral/vaginal area to catch the stream of urine without it splattering anywhere.

While holding the cup firmly in place, relieve yourself. A man, of course, should use this same type of cup to empty his excrement.

Make sure you’ve allowed a good amount of urine to build before excreting it.

This is because only a few ounces of urine may appear darker, or even lighter, than it actually is.

The cup should be at least half full whenever you check the color of your urine; ideally, two-thirds to three-fourths.

Set cup on counter and clean yourself so that you’re not distracted by that aspect. Now, inspect the cup’s contents; here’s how:

Hold it up and look at it. If the urine is an obvious shade of yellow, then it is. You’re done with the test.

However, sometimes it’s hard to tell if what you’re viewing is orange urine, yellowish-orange, light orange, golden-dark yellow or dark yellow.

If you set the cup on the counter — at least if the counter is white, like mine — it will distort the color by making it a darker yellow.

Or, if the actual color of the urine is medium/dark to dark yellow, then the distortion will make it appear yellowish-orange or even deep orange, respectively. Do not be alarmed by this “refraction effect.”

This distortion is very evident with an aerial view of the cup when it’s on the counter.

Do NOT view the color when the cup is on a surface; you must hold it by your fingertips above the rim. Hold it up against a white wall or white door.

Orange vs. Dark Yellow Urine 

Document the colors you see. In my case, I noted the following colors:

– Pale-clear

-Pale yellow

-Light yellow

-Medium yellow

-Dark yellow



-Light orange


Shutterstock/gritsalak karalak

These colors were noted when I was holding the cup in the air and against a white wall. At the beginning of this experiment, I didn’t like seeing orange urine.

Perhaps you’ve read that a “dark” or “deep” yellow urine indicates dehydration.

However, dehydration, indeed, can cause urine to appear orange. So how can you tell if orange urine is benign or caused by a disease?

I’m not going to tell you that the following technique eliminates the possibility of disease.

What I WILL tell you is that it can reveal a PATTERN — a predictable pattern of varying degrees of color on the pale-clear to orange continuum of urine.

And sometimes, predictable patterns can be very reassuring.

Checking for Patterns

The technique is to track your water intake and exercise times.

If you just sweated up on the treadmill, your urine output after that may be orange from the water loss (dehydration).

A woman who’s having hot flashes especially, while doing cardio, may have orange urine due to the loss of water through perspiration.

After awakening in the morning, you’ll note that urine tends to be dark yellow or maybe even some degree of orange, due to an overnight dehydration process.

If you guzzle a lot of water and soon after urinate, the output likely will NOT reflect the rehydration.

It may take two hours after guzzling water for it to lighten the urine.

So don’t panic if, 90 minutes after drinking two giant glasses of water in 10 minutes, your urine is still orange.

Wait a short while for your bladder to become full again, and chances are, it will be yellow or pale.

For me, 20 ounces of water did the trick every single time.

What seemed like the output for that 20 ounces (not long after drinking it) was actually an output that was already building up in my bladder, from previous dehydration.

I’d simply wait for my next need to relieve myself, and sure enough, the urine was flaxen, a nice pale yellow.

Dark yellow urine is also likely to occur right before bedtime, unless you’ve been drinking up the water all evening.

Note how much water you’ve been drinking, and when you relieve yourself.

For me, one hatch mark indicated one cup of water. If I urinated right after that, I put the color down right below the hatch mark(s).

If I urinated, say, at least an hour later, I skipped a space and put down the color.

So when I reviewed the record, I knew that the skipped space meant that the urination wasn’t immediately after the water intake, but sometime after.

I quickly saw a pattern develop, and was soon able to easily predict the color of my urine.

Juicing fruits and vegetables may not do a good job of rehydrating you — or, at least —will not lighten urine much. Neither will milk.

I found that only WATER does this. Not once did I continue to yield orange urine despite drinking a lot of water. This is always very reassuring.

And by the way, the more dehydrated you are, the stronger your urine’s odor will be due to its concentration.

The concentration is what makes it a dark yellow, or orange.

Is your urine sometimes the color of the sunset below even though you’ve had plenty of water?

Do you occasionally see ssalmon-colored stains on the toilet paper after you wipe?

Here is a likely explanation if a deep amber color is scaring you.

Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  
Top image: Shutterstock/Igor Nikushin
Source: mayoclinic.com/health/urine-color/DS01026/DSECTION=causes

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