Are you drinking a lot of water—tons, at least eight glasses a day—and still keep producing dark yellow or bright yellow urine?

Or is the urine sometimes a strong yellow-orange color?

There are several factors that can influence the varying shades of yellow in one’s excrement.

If you are well-hydrated, your urine should appear light or pale yellow, or like ginger ale.

But what if it’s not, and yet you’re positive you’re well-hydrated?

First off, is it possible that you’ve been sweating off all the water you’ve been drinking?

Do you work in a hot environment?

Do you live in a warm home lacking ventilation and A/C?

“Yes” to any of those questions could be why your urine is dark yellow despite lots of water intake.

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Next, are you even sure you drink “tons” of water in the first place?

If you keep filling a thermos with water and ice throughout the day, keep in mind that the illusion of high water consumption is being created.

First, the ice reduces water volume. Second, a thermos can hold much less fluid than appears, due to its thick insulation.

Other Causes of Dark Yellow Urine in the Presence of High Water Intake

“Gauging how much water a person needs is based on many factors including weight and exercise level,” says Dana Rice, MD, a board certified urologist and creator of the UTI Tracker mobile app, which helps patients catalogue daily urinary tract symptoms, medication and behavioral patterns, and offers personalized tips for UTI prevention.

Do you engage in strenuous exercise and perhaps you’re just not keeping up with your body’s hydration requirements — even though you may not be thirsty?

Fitness experts often urge people to sip water pre-emptively every 15 minutes during a workout, meaning, even if you’re not the least bit thirsty.

Every morning pour eight glasses (64 ounces) of water into a pitcher, and pour your water from that pitcher into a glass throughout the day.

If you need to fill a thermos, fill it from the pitcher. This way you’ll truly know if you’re getting in the eight glasses a day. At least aim for a minimum of six glasses.

Dr. Rice also says, “If you are adequately hydrated and your urine is still dark yellow, you may want to look at your medication and vitamin list. B vitamins in particular are known for changing the color of urine to bright yellow.”

Urinary Tract Infections

A urinary tract infection does not make urine darker or brighter.

Classic symptoms include the sensation of a full bladder despite having voided; a burning sensation while voiding; and a cloudy appearance to one’s urine. For more information on the UTI Tracker, go to

Dr. Rice is with Inova Medical Group in Fairfax, VA, and her clinical interests include bladder, kidney and prostate cancer, minimally invasive surgery and robotic surgery.
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.  




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