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6 Causes Of Brown Urine and What Can Be Done About It

About Brown Urine:

An abnormal and sudden change of color of urine can be quite alarming and create some anxious moments for people and physicians alike. A change in the color of urine generally indicates an underlying pathological condition. Some of the factors that change the color of urine include concentration of urine, the pH, food and drinks taken, and presence of any metabolic abnormalities. A detailed history of the patient focusing on any medication history, food intake, or presence of any metabolic abnormalities can indicate a cause for the change in color of the urine. A urinalysis can then confirm the presence of a medical condition for which treatment plan can be devised.[1,2]

Every abnormal color of urine will have a different set of differential diagnosis and the physicians can narrow down the search by examining the acidity or basicity of the urine. Further microscopic analysis can allow the physician to come to a diagnosis. Among the range of abnormal color that urine can have, brown is one color that can ring alarm bells in people. Dehydration and liver dysfunction are believed to be the primary causes of it.[1,2]

The treatments for brown urine depend on the underlying cause of it. Medically speaking, the urine is a collection of waste products filtered out by the kidneys from the bloodstream. It consists of products leftover after digestion and even hormones. The normal color of urine is yellow. A change in combination or concentration of urine can affect a change in its color.[1,2]

A slight change in the color of urine is not a cause of concern but generally dark colored urine or brown urine indicates something is just not right with the body, especially if there are other associated symptoms.[1,2] This article highlights some of the possible causes and treatment options for brown urine.

6 Causes Of Brown Urine and What Can Be Done About It?

The primary causes of Brown Urine includes:

  1. Dehydration: One of the primary symptoms of dehydration is brown urine. A person is said to be dehydrated when there is not enough fluids in the body to allow it to function normally. There can be various reasons for a person to become dehydrated to include excessive sweating and not drinking enough fluids on a hot humid weather. Treating dehydration can get rid of brown urine.[2]

    Replenishing electrolytes and fluids is the best way to treat dehydration. This seldom needs hospitalization and can be done at home. Mild cases of dehydration can be treated by just drinking enough water and resting in a cool area. However, in severe cases IV administration of electrolytes and fluids will have to be done. This will require hospitalization until the symptoms resolve. Once dehydration is treated the color of the urine comes back to normal.[2]

  2. Food and Medication: Brown Urine can also be caused due to certain medications or foods that one may have eaten. Some of the foods that cause brown urine include blackberry, beans, and beetroot. Medications that cause brown urine include laxatives, some antibiotics, medications to treat malaria, and some muscle relaxants. This change in urine color is temporary and is not a cause of concern. Change of food and medications is generally good enough to bring the color of the urine back to normal.[2]

  3. Liver Dysfunction: This is one of the more serious causes of brown urine. The most common liver condition to cause brown urine is hepatitis. It is a viral infection and frontline treatment for it is by way of antiviral medications. If hepatitis is left untreated it can lead to scarring and even permanent damage to the liver. Liver scarring or cirrhosis does not have a cure. Thus it is vital for viral hepatitis to get diagnosed and treated to prevent complications.[2]

  4. Hematuria: This is yet another medical condition that causes brown urine. Hematuria is a condition which indicates presence of blood in the urine. This causes the urine to become red, pink, or brown. This condition occurs when blood enters the urinary tract as a result of UTI, trauma, or exercising vigorously. Medical conditions like endometriosis, renal cancer, blotting disorders, and sickle cells disease can all cause hematuria. The treatment for brown urine caused due to the conditions mentioned above depends on what is actually causing dis coloured urine.[2]

  5. Rhabdomyolysis: Another cause of brown urine is rhabdomyolysis which is a severe muscle injury. It is a potentially serious medical condition. The injury causes the muscle fibers to get necrosed causing the cells to infiltrate the bloodstream. The muscle proteins from the necrosed muscles enter the kidneys and are eliminated out of the body through urine. This is the reason behind brown urine.[2]

    Rhabdomyolysis is a serious condition and requires immediate treatment as an inpatient. Treatment includes administration of an intravenous drip to remove fluids. Diuretics are also given for removing excess fluids in the body. Some people require dialysis to treat rhabdomyolysis. This condition can severely damage the kidneys with time and thus treatment is of vital importance.[2]

  6. Hemolytic Anemia: This is an autoimmune condition where the immune system of the body attacks the red blood cells. This breaks down the hemoglobin which enters the urinary tract and makes urine brown or red. Hemolytic anemia is serious and requires aggressive medical treatment.[2]

    Frontline treatment for hemolytic anemia includes corticosteroids and immune suppressing medications. Early detection and treatment improves the overall prognosis of a person with hemolytic anemia.[2]

In conclusion, there can be many reasons for a person to have brown urine. This includes certain medications, foods, and medical conditions that have been mentioned above. A slight change in the color of the urine is not a cause of concern but brown urine generally suggests something is not right in the body. Dehydration, hemolytic anemia, rhabdomyolysis are some of the more concerning causes of brown urine.[1,2]

The treatment for brown urine depends on the cause of it. Once the underlying cause is treated, the color of the urine in majority of the cases comes back to normal. Thus it is important for people with brown urine to consult with a physician and get an accurate diagnosis at the earliest and seek treatment for it.[1,2]


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 16, 2021

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