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:
- Abdominal or pelvic pain
- Bloody or pink-colored urine (hematuria)
- Cloudy urine
- Difficulty urinating (dysuria) and urinary retention
- Foul-smelling urine
- Frequent urination that often produces only a small amount of urine
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:
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)
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?
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