Clear Urine: What Does It Mean and Is It a Reason for Concern?

Clear Urine: What Does It Mean and Is It a Reason for Concern?

Clear urine with a tint of yellow color is usually a sign of healthy urine and that you are well-hydrated. Most people would assume that urine that is completely clear with no color at all would be a good thing. So, you might be surprised to learn that clear, colorless urine can sometimes be a symptom of certain health issues. In fact, completely clear urine could indicate that your body is missing important electrolytes.

Urine can be any color from a very pale light color to dark yellow that has a distinct smell. In most cases, drinking more fluids helps to make your pee a lighter, straw-like shade of yellow. However, if your pee has no color at all and is clear or transparent, it could be a sign that you are drinking too much water. If your body is lacking water or you have a urinary infection, you will notice that your pee is a darker color. Of course, some foods can also change the color of your urine.

In this article, you will find out what it means if you pass completely clear urine. I will also answer many questions related to the color of your urine and when to see a doctor. For example, what does it mean if your urine is not clear but foamy? What could be the reasons for a strong smell from your pee?

Clear Urine vs. Yellow Urine: What does it Mean?

There is a lot that the color of your urine can tell about your health. According to doctors from the Mayo Clinic, urochrome is a pigment that is responsible for making your pee a yellow color. The amount of fluid you drink will usually determine the concentration of urochrome in your pee. This turns normal urine any shade of color from clear pale yellow to dark amber.1

Chief urologist at the Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute Dr. Bradley Gill says that urochrome (or urobilin) is metabolized from bile. This is filtered through the kidneys and then excreted from the body when you urinate. Factors like drinking lots of water, using diuretics, diabetes, or consuming certain foods and multivitamins that are pigmented, can cause urine to turn from a clear pale color to a darker amber color.2

The European Journal of Nutrition reports that checking the color of an individual’s urine is a way to analyze the amount of their fluid intake. Usually, the clearer a person’s urine then the more volume of fluids they are drinking.3

Reasons Why Your Urine is Clear

What does it mean if your urine is clear or transparent? Before looking at the various reasons for clear pee, it’s important to realize that normal urine should be a light pale yellow color.

According to Dr. Janine Cook from the University of Maryland, normal urine should have a yellowish tinge to it. Therefore, healthy urine from a person who is well-hydrated should be straw-colored. Urine that is diluted too much has a water-like appearance. Dr. Cook says that urine should not be colorless.4

Over hydration

Transparent clear urine could be a sign of over hydration.21 It is important to drink enough fluids to flush toxins from your kidneys and keep your body healthy. In fact, there are many health problems associated with dehydration and a lack of fluids.

However, drinking too much water is also dangerous for your health. According to Dr. James Lewis, over-hydration can cause an imbalance of electrolytes in your body. This can result in fatigue, nausea and vomiting. Sometimes, athletes are at risk from over-hydration if they drink excessive water without balancing electrolytes.7

Doctors from the Mayo Clinic report on the dangers of drinking too much water. They say that excessive water intake results in hyponatremia which is when you have abnormally low sodium levels. One of the causes of hyponatremia is drinking too much water and losing fluid through sweat at the same time.8

Drinking coconut water is a great way to rehydrate yourself and keep your electrolyte balance in check.

Clear urine as an indication of diabetes

Passing a large amount of clear urine could be a symptom of a type of diabetes called diabetes insipidus.

Diabetes insipidus is different from diabetes mellitus which can be type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that one of the common symptoms of diabetes insipidus is frequently passing clear urine in excessive amounts. A person with diabetes insipidus will also suffer from a chronic thirst which causes them to drink more and thus dilute urine, making it appear watery.5

The lack of color in the urine indicates a low level of electrolytes like sodium and potassium. This can lead to muscle cramps, fatigue, or loss of appetite. Dehydration is also another serious complication of diabetes insipidus.

According to the Victoria State Government, drinking plenty of fluids and switching to a low-salt diet are some ways to manage diabetes insipidus. Doctors also regularly check electrolyte levels to make sure that the body doesn’t become mineral deficient.

Diuretic medication

Taking diuretic medication can cause urine to become diluted and clear, making your urine look like water.

Diuretic medications are often prescribed to help regulate high blood pressure and to get rid of excess fluid from your body. Because your body excretes more fluids when taking diuretics, your urine can become very pale and almost clear.

Clear vs. cloudy urine in urinary tract infection

In some cases, a urinary tract infection can still be present even though your pee is totally clear. In this case the term clarity doesn’t indicate color, but the lack of cloudiness.

Although the typical signs of a urinary tract infection (UTI) can make your urine appear dark and cloudy with a bad smell, your pee can sometimes appear clear even though you may have a UTI.

The journal Pediatrics reports that clear urine can also be an indicator of a UTI. The report found that 18% of patients whose urine sample was clear had an infection in their urinary tract. The report recommended that doctors check for bacterial urinary infections if a patient shows UTI signs even if they have a clear urine sample.6

It’s important to treat the first signs of a urinary tract infection if you think you have one. Some of the other signs of a UTI include a burning sensation when you pee, pelvic discomfort and pain, and a constant urge to urinate.

You can check these natural remedies for urinary tract infection, for example drinking baking soda water can help to neutralize the acid in your urine. This can reduce the discomfort that a UTI causes and help to get rid of the infection quicker. If your urine is dark, you should increase your fluid intake to help make your pee lighter and clearer.

What the Urine Color Can Tell About Your Health

Apart from passing clear colorless urine, there is a lot that the color of your pee can tell about your health.

Let’s look at what it means when your pee is anything but a pale clear yellow color.

Milky white urine

Urine that is milky white could be a sign that you have a urinary tract infection (UTI). The Postgraduate Medical Journal reported that the milky color in urine might be due to conditions such as UTI, presence of lipids in the urine (lipiduria), chyluria which is a rare condition in which lymphatic fluid is present in urine, and excretion of uric acid in urine.9

Urine that is pink or reddish

Urine that appears pink to reddish color may or may not be a symptom of something serious in your urinary tract. For example, the pink or red tinge to urine may be due to blood in your urinary system. This could be due to bleeding because of an issue with your kidneys or urethra. Or, it could be menstrual blood that is combined with urine.9

However, doctors from Harvard Medical School report that eating beets will also turn your urine a pinkish color. This, of course, is nothing to worry about and will pass in a day or two.10

Brown colored urine

There are a number of reasons why you could notice that your urine isn’t pale clear but is dark brown. For example, dehydration, hypothyroidism, diabetes, or blood could cause brown-colored urine.

Dr. Mellissa Conrad Stöppler on MedicineNet says that darkened urine could also be the result of liver issues or obstructions in your urinary tract system.11

Blue urine

Urine that looks bluish could be caused by certain medications. The Mayo Clinic says that some medications like amitriptyline, indomethacin, or Propofol can turn urine from yellow to have a hint of blue in it.1

Green-colored urine

Depending on the concentration of blue pigment in your urine, your urine may look greenish. The Postgraduate Medical Journal reported that blue pigments and yellow urine mix together to turn pee green.9

Pee that looks bright green could also be a sign of a urinary tract infection. The Journal of Anaesthesiology Clinical Pharmacology reported that UTIs caused by Pseudomonas bacteria strains can turn urine green.12

Bright yellow urine

If you take a B complex supplement you’ll notice that your urine has a fluorescent yellow-green color.22 Riboflavin (B-2) which is part of the B complex supplement is known for causing brightly colored urine.

Black pee

In rare occasions, some people pass grey-black pee. According to some doctors, this dark-colored urine is caused by a metabolism issue in the body where the urine becomes too alkaline.9

Frequently Asked Questions About Urine That Isn’t Clear

If you usually pass pale to light yellow urine that is clear without any cloudiness, then this is usually a sign that your kidneys are working properly and you are drinking enough water.

However, other abnormalities in your urine could be a sign of other health issues. Here are the answers to many questions about what urine can tell about your health.

What does it mean if my urine isn’t clear but foamy?

Passing foamy urine usually means that your bladder is full and the urine hits the water at a rapid pace. This causes bubbles to temporary appear in the water when you pee.

According to Dr. Erik Castle from the Mayo Clinic, having bubbles in your urine every so often is nothing to worry about. However, if you frequently have foamy urine, it could mean that you have a kidney problem and too much protein is being excreted in your urine.13

Why do I have an ammonia smell from my urine?

Some of the reasons why your urine could smell of ammonia could be due to foods you have eaten or an infection in your urinary system.

For example, the Cleveland Clinic reports that asparagus can make your urine have a whiff of ammonia. Also, foods containing vitamin B6 can give urine a strange ammonia-like smell.14

However, sometimes pee that smells of ammonia could be a sign of kidney disease or liver disease. According to information published by PubHealth, if your liver is functioning properly, ammonia is converted into urea. If there is a dysfunction with the liver, ammonia will be detected in the blood and urine.15

If you have a persistent smell of ammonia from your urine, you should visit your doctor to arrange a urine specimen test.

What causes my urine to smell off?

Your urine might give off a strange smell due to consuming other foods or beverages. For example, many coffee drinkers say that their pee smells of coffee after a few cups of coffee. Other foods that can affect the smell of your pee are garlic, fenugreek, alcohol, and salmon.

Should I be worried if I notice white particles in urine?

Noticing white particles, sediment and bits in your urine from time to time is usually nothing to worry about. Sometimes, white stuff in your urine can turn pee from a clear pale appearance to a cloudy and murky liquid.

In some cases, white particles in your urine could be a symptom of a UTI, cystitis, a yeast infection, or a problem with your kidneys. For example, doctors from Harvard Medical Schools say that infections of the bladder or urinary tract can turn your urine cloudy and give off a strong odor.16

Also, the Australian organization Women’s Health reports that bacterial vaginosis (BV) or a vaginal yeast infection can cause a white or grey vaginal discharge. You will also have a burning sensation when using the bathroom.17

If you have a bacterial infection in your vagina, you can try some of my great natural remedies for BV. You can also find natural ways to treat a vaginal yeast infection in my article entitled home remedies for candidiasis.

My urine test shows crystals in urine – should I be worried?

Dehydration, a change in your urine’s pH levels, kidney stones, or a urinary tract infection could also cause crystals to form in your urine.

If your urine sample shows that you have too many crystals in your urine, your doctor will run more tests to find the underlying reason. Usually, drinking plenty of water is the best way to flush your kidneys and prevent abnormalities in your urine.

According to doctors from the Mayo Clinic, gout is one symptom of having too many urate crystals in your urine because of uric acid in your blood. Again, drinking plenty of fluids is one way to help prevent toxins and other substances in your urine becoming too concentrated.18 This can be one way to prevent gout recurring.

My doctor says that there are leukocytes in my urine – what does that mean?

Leukocytes are white blood cells that will show up in a urine test and usually means that your body is fighting an infection.

Some reasons for the presence of white blood cells in urine are infections, an inflammation, kidney stones, or an enlarged prostate.

For example, the journal Therapeutic Advances in Urology reports that very often leukocytes show up in urine in cases of bladder inflammation (cystitis).19 Also, the Mayo Clinic says that urinary tract infections often result in nitrites or white blood cells in urine samples.20

What color should my urine be?

Urologist Dr. Bradley Gill on Medscape says that urine should be a light yellow to golden color. Also, urine should be clear, not hazy or cloudy and any changes in your urine should only be temporary.2

If you notice persistent foamy urine, have pain when you pee, or notice that your urine has turned from a clear pale yellow color to a dark and/or cloudy color, you should visit your doctor.

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Medical References

  1. MayoClinic. Urine color.
  2. Medscape. Discoloration, urine.
  3. Eur J Nutr. 2016; 55: 1943–1949.
  4. J Analyt Toxic. 2000 Oct;24: 579-588.
  5. MayoClinic. Diabetes insipidus.
  6. Pediatrics. 2000 Nov;106:e60.
  7. MSDManuals. Overhydration.
  8. MayoClinic. Hyponatremia.
  9. Postgrad Med J. 2006 Feb; 82(964): 126–129.
  10. HealthHarvard. Urine color and color changes.
  11. MedicineNet. Dark urine.
  12. J Anaesthesiol Clin Pharmacol. 2017 Jan-Mar; 33(1): 128–130.
  13. MayoClinic. Foamy urine: what does it mean?
  14. ClevelandClinic. Urine changes.
  15. NCBI. How does the liver work?
  16. DrugsCom. Urinary tract infection in women.
  17. WomensHealth. Thrush and other vaginal infections fact sheet.
  18. MayoClinic. Gout.
  19. Ther Adv Urol. 2011 Feb; 3(1): 19–33.
  20. MayoClinic. Urinalysis.
  21. UC San Diego Health. 10 Colors That Suggest Urine Trouble
  22. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Riboflavin

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