What Causes Dark Urine? When Should You Worry?

Dark urine can be the sign of a number of different things going on in your body.

Dark urine isn’t normal, so if you notice it on a consistent basis make sure you get checked out by a doctor.

This article will discuss possible dark urine causes and steps that you should take.  You can find out what different urine colors mean here.

By dark urine, we are referring to urine that is a dark yellow or brown color.  This color urine can be harmless or the sign of something serious, so it’s important to take dark urine seriously.

If you have murky urine, jaundice (yellowing of the eyes) and feel extremely fatigued in combination with protein in your urine, you need to seek medical help immediately as these can be signs of organ failure.

Here are some common causes:


Certain medications are known for changing the appearance of your urine due to their contents. Certain antibiotics, laxatives and muscle relaxers are known for causing dark urine.  Double check and see if you’ve started any new medications before you noticed a change in your urine.  You can ask your doctor for an alternative medication if you find it to be the cause.


Believe it or not, certain foods can cause dark urine.  Beans, aloe and rhubarb are known for the darkening affect they have on your urine color.  If you’ve consumed a lot of any of these foods then you probably don’t need to worry about a change in your urine.  Read our full article on foods that change urine color here.

what causes dark urineDehydration

The most common, and least serious cause of dark urine is dehydration. As soon as you notice your urine change color, increase your water intake.  Dehydration isn’t usually serious unless you’re in an extreme case with no access to fluids.  If you’re slightly dehydrated, your murky urine will go away with a few glasses of water.

Medical condition

As said before, murky urine can be a symptom of something more serious.  Liver and kidney disorders can cause dark urine due to decreased kidney and liver function, which leaves more toxins in your body.

Darker urine can also be the sign of a urinary tract infection or even kidney stones.  If you notice murky urine persisting, make sure you contact your doctor.


In very rare and extreme cases, heavy exercise can cause Rhabdomyolysis (rhabdo). Rhabdomyolysis causes your muscles to break down and eventually pieces of your muscle tissue leak into your urine, causing it to become dark.

If you experience extreme muscle pain and soreness, swelling, difficulty moving and dark brown urine, you need to immediately find an emergency room.  Rhabdomyolysis is extremely rare, but it can be fatal.

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