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Causes of Orange Urine: Can One Be Cancer?

Orange urine can signal a serious medical problem. “Medications (e.g., Pyridium) may cause the urine to appear orange," explains Dr. Andrew Stephenson, MD, urologist in the Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute at Cleveland Clinic. “Bilirubin is the byproduct of red blood cell metabolism.” 

The normal color of excrement is varying degrees of yellow. Dehydration makes urine dark yellow, not orange. Bilirubin, says Dr. Stephenson, “is normally metabolized by the liver and excreted into the bowel via the bile duct (this is why the stool appears brown).”

When liver disease is present, the liver cannot effectively metabolize bilirubin. This causes bilirubin to build up in the blood, and then it goes out with the urine, making it orange.

Thus, this symptom can be a sign of liver disease. The color is more of a tea kind of orange, rather than a carrot hue. A more carrot hue may be caused by eating whole or juiced carrots, blackberries, winter squash and even beets.

Other causes of orange urine: betacarotene and vitamin B and C supplements, orange dye, and herbs. Additional medicinal culprits are coumadin (Warfarin), rifampin, and some laxatives and chemotherapy drugs.

A urinary tract infection can cause urine to be orange. So can cancer of the liver, pancreas, kidney and bladder.

If after stopping consumption of suspected foods or supplements for a few days, your urine continues to be orange, consult with a urologist for an exam.

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