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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


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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.