Green Urine

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What is green urine?

Green urine is urine that is green in color, though it also may be greenish-brown or greenish-yellow, and it may be cloudy or clear. A change in urine color may be temporary, or it may be persistent. The duration and course of green urine can vary widely, depending on the cause.

There are several possible causes of green urine. Urinary tract infection is the most common, and the urine may appear darkened or cloudy. It may not appear green or may take on a greenish tinge. True green urine is rare and most commonly results from dyes or food colorings or from certain medications. Conditions that result in bleeding into the urinary tract would be unlikely to cause green urine.

Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for serious symptoms, such as high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit), yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice), or severe abdominal pain. Seek prompt medical care if you experience abdominal swelling and nausea with or without vomiting or if you are being treated for green urine but mild symptoms recur or are persistent.

What other symptoms might occur with green urine?

Green urine may accompany other symptoms, which will vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms that frequently affect the urinary tract may also involve other body systems.

Urinary symptoms that may occur along with green urine

Green urine may accompany other symptoms affecting the urinary system including:

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

In rare cases, green urine may accompany a serious or life-threatening condition that should be immediately evaluated in an emergency setting. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these life-threatening symptoms:

  • High fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)

What causes green urine?

Causes of true green urine are uncommon. Food dyes and additives are the most common cause. With certain infections, the urine may acquire a cloudy, greenish tint, or pus that has a greenish color may be present in the urine.

Causes of green urine

Green urine may be caused by conditions including:

  • Certain medications, including amitriptyline (Elavil, Endep), doxorubicin (cancer chemotherapeutic drug), propofol, methylene blue, fluorescein, or indomethacin (Indocin)

  • Cystitis (bladder infection)

  • Diagnostic media (fluorescein)

  • Food dye that is blue or green color or artificial coloring in medications

  • Foods, such as asparagus, with green pigments

  • Prostatitis (prostate infection)

  • Pyelonephritis (kidney infection)

Questions for diagnosing the cause of green urine

To diagnose your condition, your doctor or licensed health care practitioner will ask you several questions related to your green urine including:

  • When did you first notice green urine?

  • Are you urinating more or less frequently?

  • Does your urine have an odor?

  • Do you have any other symptoms?

  • Have you had any recent surgical or diagnostic procedures?

  • Is there blood in your urine?

  • Is your urine always this color?

  • What medications are you taking?

What are the potential complications of green urine?

Because green urine can be due to serious diseases, failure to seek treatment can result in serious complications that may cause permanent damage or may even be life threatening. Once the underlying cause is diagnosed, it is important for you to follow the treatment plan that you and your health care professional design specifically for you to reduce the risk of potential complications including:

  • Kidney damage
  • Sepsis (life-threatening bacterial blood infection)
  • Spread of infection
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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2021 Jan 7
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
  1. Urine - abnormal color. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  2. Bladder Infection (Urinary Tract Infection-UTI) in Adults. NIH of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
  3. Leclercq P, et al. Green urine. Lancet 2009; 373:1462.