What is the Normal Urine Output & What is Not?

Urinating is a method by which the body removes the waste and toxins. The body releases urine every day and it is dependent on the quantity of liquid consumed by you. When your body releases either less or more urine than the normal then it indicates that you may be suffering from a medical condition that requires attention.

What is the Normal Urine Output?

The normal urine output is 800-2000 mL every day if you take 2 liters of water or fluid for the whole day. The normal values may differ in various laboratories. Some of the laboratories use different measurements or the test samples to make a conclusion. Either decreased or increased urine outputs are not normal. Let us now know the reasons that cause decreased and increased urine output.

What is Not a Normal Urine Output?

Any urine output below 400 mL and above 2.5 L per day is not a normal urine output. The condition where a person excretes less than 400 mL of urine a day is known as oliguria; whereas, when a person excretes more than 2.5 L of urine a day, it is known as polyuria.

Causes of Abnormal Urine Output

Oliguria, decreased urine output and polyuria, increased urine output can occur due to various reasons. The causes for both are as follows:

Oliguria: As discussed, decreased urine output is known as oliguria. It is an abnormal urine output but it is not similar to those medical conditions where people do not urinate at all or anuria, where people urinate less than 50 mL or even less. The causes of oliguria include:

  • Dehydration: In many cases, people produce less urine due to dehydration that is caused by illness such as diarrhea or fever. The body is not able to replace the fluids that go out of the body or cause the kidneys to retain fluid. For avoiding dehydration, take adequate quantity of fluid.
  • Infection: The body enters into a shocking state when there is a severe infection. This reduces the quantity of blood going to the organs. This medical condition is severe and needs immediate medical attention.
  • Obstruction in Urinary Tract: An obstruction or a blockage in urinary tract prevents urine to come out from the kidneys and this leads to a decrease in urine output. People who are suffering from a blockage experience vomiting, fever, nausea, swelling, and body pain.
  • Medications: Some medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or the medications prescribed for treating high blood pressure causes less urine production. When you observe this, consult a doctor and know whether you should go for a different dosage. Without consulting your doctor, do not alter the dosages.

Excessive Urine Output or Polyuria: Excessive urine output indicates you are producing 2.5 L or more urine every day, which is an abnormal urine output. Generally, it is normal for a person to urinate maximum 2000 mL each day but this varies a lot depending on age, gender, and many other factors. If the conditions persist for a long time period, you may have an issue that is affecting your health. The causes for polyuria could be:

  • Lifestyle Habits: In the majority of the cases, lifestyles or habits are the main reasons that cause increased urination. If you drink a lot of beverages or liquid, which has alcohol or caffeine, then it may cause more urination.
  • Health Conditions causing Polyuria: Excessive urination is a sign that tells you that you are experiencing medical conditions like kidney failure, psychogenic polydipsia, diabetes, or sickle cell anemia.
  • Medications: The medications such as diuretics can result in more urination. If you have begun taking a new medication recently or you have enhanced the dosage of your medication, then they may be causing this problem.
  • Medical Tests: If you have done a CT scan recently or any other test that includes injection of dye into the body, then you may experience excessive urination. This should be a matter of concern if it continues for a long duration.

When to Consult a Doctor for Abnormal Urine Output?

  • Oliguria: If Oliguria is caused due to any other medical condition, then consult a doctor definitely. You should be able to tell the doctor when you first noticed decreased urination. Mention if you face other symptoms like pain or fever. You may be advised to take a urine sample so analyze it for the infectious properties or go for blood tests, CT scans, renal scans, abdominal ultrasound for determining the cause of reduced urine production.
  • Polyuria: When you detect a medical condition that is causing too much urination above the normal output then you should look out for medical attention. Monitor your health condition for some days and if it does not improve then consult a doctor immediately.

Normal urine does not contain any fungi, bacteria, or viruses and it is completely sterile. Urine is a combination of chemicals, water, electrolytes, and protein. The electrolytes found in urine are sodium, urea, potassium, creatinine, and other chemical compounds. The doctor may advise for more tests if too little or too much of these chemicals are found in urine.


Producing urine more or less than the normal output may be an indication of some medical condition. If the problems continue for a prolonged period of time, then it is advisable to consult a doctor because both indicate some health issues.

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:July 28, 2018

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