Your Usual Urine Color

What Causes Light Or Dark Urine?

Light or dark urine can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'needs attention' to 'very serious'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose light or dark urine, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "light or dark urine" as a symptom.  Here are seven possibilities:
  • Gallbladder Disease
  • Chronic Fatigue-Fibromyalgia
  • Ochronosis / Alkaptonuria
  • Porphyria
  • Hepatitis
  • Dehydration
  • Hemolytic Anemia

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
possibly jaundiced skin
high caffeinated soda consumption
moderate periumbilical pain
moderate unexplained fevers
adverse reaction to delayed meals
poor balance
severe flatulence
having non-problematic gallstones
weak appetite
strong-smelling urine
unsound sleep
moderate alcohol consumption
... and more than 120 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of light or dark urine:
Cause Probability Status
Hemolytic Anemia 91% Confirm
Ochronosis / Alkaptonuria 24% Unlikely
Chronic Fatigue-Fibromyalgia 15% Unlikely
Porphyria 0% Ruled out
Hepatitis 0% Ruled out
Dehydration 0% Ruled out
Gallbladder Disease 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

In the Urinary Symptoms section of the questionnaire, The Analyst™ will ask the following question about your usual urine color:
What is the usual color of your urine, ignoring supplement (B-vitamin) yellowing, medications you are taking or other obvious factors?
Possible responses:
→ Don't know
→ Colorless
→ Light Yellow
→ Dark Yellow
→ Very dark or black
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate clear urine color, light urine color or dark urine color, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:

When dehydrated, the body tries to conserve as much fluid as possible by reducing the amount of water the kidneys extract from the blood.  At the same time, the kidneys are still removing toxins and waste, increasing their concentration in the urine and giving it a noticeably darker color.

Gallbladder Disease

Gallstones block the bile duct, causing an excess build-up of bile in the gallbladder, which then accumulates in the blood and is removed by the kidneys.  The presence of bile salts in the urine gives it a darker color.


Dark urine color can be caused by abnormally high levels of bilirubin (bile pigment) in the bloodstream that is excreted through the kidneys.  High levels of bilirubin may result from inflammation of liver cells due to Hepatitis.

Ochronosis / Alkaptonuria

Although a very rare disease, the main outward symptom of ochronosis is black urine.

Concerned or curious about your health?  Try The Analyst™
Symptom Entry
Symptom Entry
Full Explanations
Optional Doctor Review
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