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October 10th, 2011
08:55 AM ET

Why is my urine red?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Mondays, it's pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Shu.

Question asked by asked by Cassandra of Hamden, Connecticut:

I notice the color of my urine has gone from looking like champagne to looking like cranberry juice in three days. Should I be concerned? I am not on any medications.

Expert answer:

Thanks for your question. There are many things that can turn a person's urine red, pink or any number of different colors.

Having red urine may mean that blood is present, such as from a woman's menstrual cycle. Strenuous exercise may also cause red blood cells to show up in the urine.

In addition, red urine may be a sign of kidney stones, urinary tract infections, injuries, liver disease, a blood clotting disorder or multiple other medical conditions.

Beets, berries and rhubarb have been known to make a person's urine turn red. Red dyes such as those found in candy or sugary cereals may do the same thing.

Ask our doctors a question

If this is the cause of the redness, avoiding these foods should end the color in the urine.

Certain antibiotics, blood thinners and laxatives may turn urine red or pink, too. Keep in mind that even if you are not taking any medications, supplements or home remedies could possibly be the culprit.

Red urine that happens rarely and briefly in a person who is healthy is usually not a cause for concern. If the red color persists, however, or if there are other symptoms, it's important to be seen by your doctor, who may test the urine for signs of blood, infection or other problems.

Good luck.

Follow Dr. Jennifer Shu on Twitter


soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. edjube

    Red urine that happens rarely and briefly in a person who is healthy is usually not a cause for concern
    I'm healthy as a horse and had red urine. And it turned out to be Bladder cancer. Removed my bladder, prostate and colon.
    Don't blow it off, see a doctor.

    October 10, 2011 at 10:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • teresa

      ADULT STEM CELLS CURE'S AIDS / HIV and A NUMBER OF OTHER THINGS BUT WHY????? IS AMERICA BEING HELD BACK FROM THE MAJOR LEAP IN MEDICINE DOES AMERICA WANT TOO KILL YOU ??????? OTHER COUNTRIES MAKING MAJOR LEAPS INTO MEDICINE BUT AMERICA IS STILL IN THE STONE AGE WHY????? WHO BENEFITS THE FDA BIG CORPORATIONS .......???

      October 17, 2011 at 22:38 | Report abuse |
    • skidude2000

      @teresa
      go away. I have seen this post on 10 articles

      November 30, 2011 at 09:30 | Report abuse |
    • justcallmemom

      I had the same experience and was diagnosed with bladder cancer. I will have my bladder removed in one week. Red or pink urine should not be ignored.

      December 31, 2011 at 09:42 | Report abuse |
    • glj

      Myself, it was kidney cancer.

      November 16, 2012 at 10:30 | Report abuse |
  2. Momma Zonie

    Also wanted to alert to possible Bladder Cancer. Mine was pre-cancerous but it scared the hell out of me. See a UROLOGIST – now !

    October 10, 2011 at 11:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Pat

    I've noticed my urine has recently started tasting more bitter, after being slightly sweet for many years. Should I be concerned?

    October 10, 2011 at 12:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Grover

      Only about your proclivity for imbibing your own urine, Pat. Other than that, I doubt you need to worry.

      October 10, 2011 at 12:49 | Report abuse |
    • dfgag

      Funny.

      October 10, 2011 at 13:52 | Report abuse |
    • keith

      how many times do people have to tell you that the glass does not have APPLE JUICE in it

      October 10, 2011 at 16:42 | Report abuse |
  4. dfgag

    Yeah... if you're peeing blood (if it's that color, you're peeing blood) then you either have a really bad infection or you've got cancer. Either way, it's going to suck.

    October 10, 2011 at 13:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. apsumar

    "Red urine that happens rarely and briefly in a person who is healthy is usually not a cause for concern."

    As a urologist, I can tell you that this is very concerning. Dr Shu is correct about the above mentioned souces of red urine, however she has failed to mention that the presence of blood in your urine could be a symptom of cancer involving the urinary tract. I would recommend that you see your primary care physician as soon as possible for urinalysis.
    30% of those with visible blood in their urine that is not associated with pain are found to have urothelial cancer.

    October 10, 2011 at 14:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • keith

      as a patient I think all you doctors are nuts....there IS a reason why your office is called a "PRACTICE"

      October 10, 2011 at 16:41 | Report abuse |
  6. Mike Breen

    Red urine ?...Discuss it with your primary care physician...if he/she doesn't refer you to a urologist, get a new primary care physician...

    October 10, 2011 at 15:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. John

    Funny that this was a link on CNN today. Just a couple days ago, I was outside riding my motorcycle and when I got home, I had to pee right away, still a bit cold down there. When I peed, it was a bit painful and it was pink. I was alarmed but I peed throughout the day with normal color. The pink or red urine hasn't happened before that or since. Still alarming, and I'm still check every time I pee.

    October 10, 2011 at 15:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. keith

    shouldn't have done what you did last night......then it wouldn't have been red!

    October 10, 2011 at 16:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. margit

    When my husband started seeing blood in his urine, it turned out to be kidney cancer. DO NOT WAIT – See your doctor immediately!

    October 10, 2011 at 17:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Shelia

    What would a brown color be every now & then?

    October 10, 2011 at 17:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Angela

      I had brown urine caused by a massive tumor on head of my pancreas that was closing off the bile ducts, later followed by jaundice. Had a stent put in and that was followed by Whipple Surgery, the tumor was cancerous. The sooner the doctors can confirm this the better chance you have for survival before it spreads to other organs.

      October 19, 2011 at 20:31 | Report abuse |
  11. bt

    My brother kicked me in the nuts when i was a kid and I wound up having blood in my urine. A few days in the hospital and I was good as new.

    October 10, 2011 at 20:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. blsecoy

    You need to have your Dr do a PNH blood test....especially if the urine shows red in the morning then lightens throughout the day.

    October 11, 2011 at 13:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. benny

    If you're the kool-aid man, then yes,, yes its fine. just a little artifical flavor, no biggie

    October 17, 2011 at 22:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. teresa

    ADULT STEM CELLS CURE'S AIDS / HIV and A NUMBER OF OTHER THINGS BUT WHY????? IS AMERICA BEING HELD BACK FROM THE MAJOR LEAP IN MEDICINE DOES AMERICA WANT TOO KILL YOU ??????? OTHER COUNTRIES MAKING MAJOR LEAPS INTO MEDICINE BUT AMERICA IS STILL IN THE STONE AGE WHY????? WHO BENEFITS THE FDA BIG CORPORATIONS .......?

    October 17, 2011 at 22:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Sandra

    Red urine can also be a symptom of a rare disease called pophyria. Usually there are other symptoms such as abdominal pain, fatigue, etc. This genetic disease can remain dormant and can be triggered by various factors. Only a few labs in the country can properly do the tests for porphyria.

    December 17, 2011 at 09:00 | Report abuse | Reply
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    June 4, 2012 at 22:44 | Report abuse | Reply
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    September 6, 2012 at 18:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Carl Jones

    http://pee-check.blogspot.com/

    I also have plenty of interesting bits of information about urine and what determines your health through the appearance of your pee. If you'd like, you may also take a short quiz to help educate yourself on urine and what you can do to prevent serious injury and disease.

    September 11, 2012 at 11:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Dr Jones

    Dr Shu is speaking as a pediatrician. The differential diagnosis of red urine in children is much, much different than from adults. Pediatricians see thousands of kids every year with red urine. Guess how many of them have bladder or kidney cancer? Less than 1%. Bladder cancer is an ADULT DISEASE that almost NEVER occurs in children.

    Red urine most likely causes in kids are: 1) kidney stones; 2) hemoglobinuria; 3) myoglobinuria; 4) glomerulonephritis; 5) prescription drug induced. Kidney tumors account for a very small percentage of the remaining cases.

    I've seen hundreds of kids with red urine, and only 1 of them had a serious kidney condition. The rest of it was due to the other causes I listed above.

    Persistent red urine in an adult is FAR MORE LIKELY to be cancer compared to a child.

    November 4, 2012 at 20:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Post-GastricTotal Hys w/Red tintUrine

    I've recently been in pain, especially when trying to pass a bowel movement. I'm in my mid 30's, and about 3 yrs ago had a total hysterectomy due to fibroid cysts in my uterus & Fallopian tubes (removed), but I was able to retain both ovaries after the surgical procedure. I also had gastric bypass surgery, and lost 115lbs, which occurred about 5yrs ago. Lately, I've been experiencing a severe stabbing and sharp shooting sensation when trying to urinate or pass a bowel movement. A lot of times it is a struggle to urinate. It almost seems as if I'm constipated, but I know that Im not, and I have to really push to go, or I will use conventional medicine to assist me with urinating or passing bowel movements. The pain has progressed where Im back to feeling it, even when standing in upright positions, and not even trying to go to the restroom. For the past few days I notice a reddish tint to my urine, that has become more prevalent in the past few days. I can now see it when I wipe (Sorry to be so graphic) but Im a bit afraid, and I don't have health insurance to just go to the Dr as most would. I don't want to go into a panic, and my anxiety is somewhat taking a hold of me. Any ideas of what it could be?

    May 28, 2013 at 18:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. calistus peter

    hey bro u got gonorrea

    June 21, 2013 at 05:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Revathi

    Two days red urine coming.... tell me why its coming red urine... i cn't consolt any doctor..

    December 15, 2013 at 23:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Revathi

      pls reply me

      December 15, 2013 at 23:58 | Report abuse |
  27. George mogareys

    Been seeing red urine for the past one week.no pain on penis at all.again i had some back ache a forthnight ago but got a two days massage and recovered. however the back ach is back mildly esp.daytime.my wife hasnt complained of anypain.could i be suffering an ailment?

    December 17, 2013 at 09:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. George mogareys

    can continous use of whisky/spirits cause red urine?

    December 17, 2013 at 09:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. dinesh

    i did strenuous exercise after a very long time..suddenly a day after i noticed my urine in red color..do i have any serious problem? should i concern a doctor?

    February 8, 2014 at 13:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Biswajit Roy

    sir, I have seen that my blood urine in 2 or 3 days, and i have also kidney stone, then what shoul i do ?

    February 28, 2014 at 13:32 | Report abuse | Reply

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