What Causes Green Urine, and When Should I See a Doctor?

Medically Reviewed By Angelica Balingit, MD
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Various factors can cause green urine, including some medications, certain foods, and urinary tract infections. It is important to be aware of any change in the color of your urine, as this could indicate a health issue. Urine is typically pale yellow because it contains the pigment urochrome. However, green urine can sometimes occur, which may vary in hue or strength. For example, eating asparagus can cause a pale green urine.

Green urine with a blue tint may be a sign of a urinary tract infection (UTI). Having pure green urine is rare.

This article provides more detail about what can cause green urine. It also discusses when to contact a doctor, related symptoms, and more.

Green urine meaning

Green urine can occur as a result of an underlying health condition, such as a urinary tract infection. Your urine may also have a green hue after you have ingested certain foods or medications.

It is important to contact a doctor if you experience persistently green urine that you cannot explain or if you notice any other changes in your urine.

What causes green urine?

There is green liquid against a pink background.
Haus Klaus/Stocksy United

There are numerous possible causes of green urine. Depending on the cause of the color change, you may experience:

  • light green urine
  • green-tinted urine
  • yellow-green urine
  • bluish-green urine

The hue or intensity of the green color in your urine may help a doctor identify the cause.

Medications

Medications that contain phenol can cause green urine. These include

  • promethazine
  • cimetidine
  • propofol

Other medications that can cause green urine include:

  • metoclopramide
  • amitriptyline
  • indomethacin

Conditions

Certain health conditions can also cause the urine to turn green. These include:

  • UTI: When a UTI occurs as a result of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the pyocyanin and pyoverdin pigments that these bacteria produce can cause green urine.
  • Jaundice: The bilirubin product biliverdin can cause urine to have a green hue.
  • Hartnup disease: In people with this condition, the body cannot absorb certain amino acids properly. The resulting high levels in the urine can cause it to appear green.
  • Blue diaper syndrome: This rare metabolic condition can cause blue or bluish-green urine.

Learn how to distinguish between UTIs and conditions with similar symptoms.

Other causes

Other possible causes of green urine include:

  • food coloring
  • eating certain green foods, such as asparagus
  • Clorets breath fresheners
  • water-soluble artificial dyes, such as methylene blue, which can mix with the yellow urochrome in urine to cause a green color

Doctors may use methylene blue as a dye in some medical procedures. This may temporarily cause your urine to appear blue.

Learn more about urine color changes.

What symptoms are related to green urine?

Depending on the cause of green urine, you may experience other symptoms.

Examples of symptoms to look out for include:

  • dysuria, which is a painful or burning sensation when urinating
  • nocturia, which is an increased need to urinate during the night
  • cloudy or dark urine
  • urine that has a strong smell
  • a more frequent or urgent need to urinate
  • blood in your urine

It is important to contact a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms or notice other changes in your urine.

Learn more about urinary symptoms.

When should I contact a doctor?

Contact a doctor as soon as you have concerns about changes in your urine. They may request a urine sample so that they can carry out tests to assist with the diagnosis.

Learn more about when to contact a doctor for a UTI.

How do doctors diagnose the cause of green urine?

Doctors may begin the diagnostic process by taking a full medical history and carrying out a physical examination.

They may also use urinalysis, testing your urine for infections or other medical conditions.

Learn more about what to expect from urinalysis.

Questions the doctor might ask

The doctor may ask you a range of questions to get a better understanding of your symptoms. Examples include:

  • When did you first notice green urine?
  • Are you urinating more or less frequently than usual?
  • Is your urine always this color?
  • Does your urine have an odor?
  • What medications are you taking?
  • Have you had any recent surgical or diagnostic procedures?
  • Is there blood in your urine?
  • Do you have any other symptoms?

What are the treatments for green urine?

Depending on the cause, you may not require any treatment for green urine.

However, if your urine is green due to an infection, the doctor may prescribe a short course of antibiotics.

Other steps that can help reduce the symptoms of a UTI include:

  • making sure you drink enough fluids
  • taking pain relief medication, such as acetaminophen
  • avoiding having sex

The doctor will be able to advise on any treatments they recommend. It is important to ask any questions you may have before beginning treatment.

Learn more about treatments for UTIs.

What are the complications of green urine?

Green urine may directly affect urine test results. It can interfere with chemical reagent strip tests for glucose and protein.

You may also experience complications from the underlying cause of green urine. It is important to contact a doctor as soon as you have concerns about changes in your urine so that they can reach an accurate diagnosis. This can help reduce the risk of complications.

What do other urine colors mean?

Due to the presence of urochrome, urine is typically pale yellow. If your urine changes color, it may be a sign of an underlying condition.

It is important to contact a doctor if you notice changes in your urine. You can also find out more about what different urine colors may mean here:

Learn more

Visit the articles below to learn more.

Summary

Green urine can occur as a result of an underlying condition, such as a UTI. It can also happen after ingesting certain medications or dyes.

In some cases, you may not require treatment for green urine. However, if it occurs as a result of an infection, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics.

Contact a doctor if you have green urine that you cannot explain or if you notice other changes in your urine. They may request a urine sample and carry out tests to reach an accurate diagnosis.

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Medical Reviewer: Angelica Balingit, MD
Last Review Date: 2022 Aug 30
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