Causes of Blue or Green Urine Explained

Find out if the causes of green or blue urine mean a serious illness.

Certain medications can cause blue urine," explains Dr. Courtenay Moore, MD, urologist in the Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute at Cleveland Clinic.

"For example, IV administration of methylene blue can cause both urine and feces to be discolored in this manner," continues Dr. Moore.  "Other medications that can result in blue urine include: Urised, amitriptyline, indomethacin (Indocin), cimetidine (Tagamet), and phenergan.” Another medication that can cause this effect is Trac Tabs.

Medications that turn urine blue don't end there; here are more:
-Medications with blue dyes
-Rinsapin (antibiotic). It can also turn excrement green.
Triamterene, a mild diuretic

Blue urine is also potentially caused by:
Food dyes (often found in candy and on decorative cakes), excessive B vitamin intake, multivitamins.

What about illnesses that can cause blue urine?
“A medical condition called familial hypercalcemia," begins Dr. Moore, "also known as blue diaper syndrome, because children with the disorder have blue urine, could also be the source of the discoloration.”

Indicanuria is another medical illness that can cause the problem. So can infection from pseudomonas, a bacterium.

What about green excrement?
“The likely source of green urine is a food source, such as asparagus,” says Dr. Moore.

An additional cause is the anesthetic propofol.

According to urinecolors.com, no known illness causes the green color. On the other hand, urology.stanford.edu reports that green urine can, indeed, be caused by a medical issue: “…caused by bile when there is a fistula between the urinary tract the intestines.” 

Blue or green urine is not caused by cancer.

Best way to keep track of excrement color:
Monitor the color by viewing what appears on tissue paper, as well as what you see entering the toilet bowl. Non-white tissue paper is not reliable. Make sure that you have adequate lighting when watching yourself void.

The toilet bowl should be clean with only clear water, rather than colored from a cleaning chemical. Try to void into a clear plastic/glass cup, then hold the cup up to good light for the best viewing.

If you have any concerns, see a urologist rather than a primary care doctor. Or ask your general physician for a referral to a urologist, who can give you specific tests to see if there are any medical issues involved with your situation.

Photo credit: Katarighe/Wikimedia Commons

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