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7 causes of dark urine and what to do

Dark urine is usually a sign that the person is not drinking enough water during the day, which makes the urine more concentrated and therefore darker. In this case, the only recommendation is to increase water consumption, as this way it is possible to increase the body's hydration level.

However, other more serious conditions that need treatment can cause dark urine, such as urinary infections, the presence of kidney stones and liver problems for example. Thus, when symptoms other than dark urine appear, such as pain and burning when urinating, lower back pain, fever and white stools, for example, it is important to consult a urologist so that the diagnosis can be made and the most appropriate treatment started.

The main causes of dark urine are:

1. Drink little water

Drinking little water during the day is the main cause of dark urine, because when less water is consumed there is a greater concentration of substances that are eliminated in the urine. Also, it is possible that urine has a stronger smell.

What to do: It is important to consume plenty of fluids during the day, whether water, teas, natural juices or foods rich in water, as this way, in addition to clearing the urine, which is a sign of hydration, it is possible to improve the functioning of the body. 

2. Hold the pee

Holding the pee for a long time can also make the urine darker, as substances that are normally excreted in the urine build up, changing the color of the urine. Also, by holding the pee for a long time, there is a greater risk of complications such as infections, urinary incontinence and kidney stones.

What to do: To avoid complications related to holding your pee for a long time, it is recommended to go to the bathroom whenever you feel like urinating, even if your bladder is not completely full. Thus, it is possible to eliminate substances that may be in excess in the body, in addition to preventing the loss of bladder elasticity.

3. Urinary Infection

Urinary tract infection is also a frequent condition that can cause the urine to turn dark, especially in cases where the infection is chronic. This is because in these cases the kidneys can be compromised, resulting in a greater concentration of urine and there may also be a release of blood in the urine.

In addition to dark urine, it is important that the person be aware of other symptoms that may appear, such as fever, pain and burning when urinating, and a feeling of heaviness and discomfort in the bladder, for example, as they are also common in the case of urinary tract infections.

What to do: In the presence of symptoms indicative of urinary tract infection, it is important to consult a urologist or gynecologist so that an assessment can be made and the most appropriate treatment indicated, which usually involves the use of antibiotics to fight the infection. In addition, it is recommended that the person drink plenty of water and eat healthy to speed recovery.

4. Kidney Stone

Kidney stone can also make the urine darker, as it is common for this situation to be favored by the decrease in the amount of water consumed during the day, which makes the urine more concentrated, and it is also common for there to be blood loss by urine, which makes the urine darker.

In addition to dark urine, the presence of kidney stones also causes severe pain in the lower back and pain when urinating, which is quite uncomfortable.

What to do: It is important to consult the urologist so that an imaging exam can be performed to identify the location of the stone in the urinary system, as well as its size and quantity. 

From there, the doctor can indicate the most appropriate treatment, which may involve the use of anti-inflammatory drugs to alleviate the symptoms and drugs that help to dissolve the stone and encourage its exit through the pee. 

In more severe cases, where there are several stones or when the stone is very large, it may be necessary to perform a minor surgery to remove the stone. 

5. Liver problems

Some changes in the liver, such as cirrhosis and hepatitis, for example, can compromise the function of this organ and cause darkening of the urine. This is because, as a consequence of inflammation and loss of liver function, there is no correct degradation of bilirubin, which is a pigment obtained from the degradation of hemoglobin, which is eliminated in high concentrations in the urine.

In addition, it is common that, in addition to dark urine, feces are also whiter, which happens not only because of changes in the metabolism of bilirubin but also because the digestion of fats is impaired. 

What to do: In the presence of signs and symptoms indicative of liver problems, it is important that the general practitioner or hepatologist be consulted, as this way it is possible to carry out tests to identify the cause of dark urine and, thus, be indicated for treatment more suitable, which may involve the use of medicine or a change in diet, for example.

6. Kidney changes

Some situations can compromise the functioning of the kidneys so that the filtration and absorption process can be impaired, which can make the urine more concentrated and, consequently, darker.

The main situations that can cause kidney overload are a diet rich in protein and calcium and the use of supplementation, chronic infection, the presence of kidney stones and high blood pressure.

What to do: It is important that the cause of the change in the kidney is identified and treated according to the urologist's guidance, as this way it is possible to prevent the kidney function from being increasingly compromised and the development of renal failure.

Thus, depending on the cause associated with dark urine, the doctor may indicate the use of anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics or diuretics, surgery or a change in eating habits.

7. Blood in urine

Another cause that can darken the urine is the presence of blood, which can happen due to several factors, such as urinary infections that affect the bladder or kidneys, use of some medications such as warfarin, aspirin or phenazopyridine, or cancer and kidney , bladder or prostate, for example.

In addition, another situation in which the presence of blood in the urine is verified is in the first days of menstruation and this is due to the mixing of vaginal blood with urine, without being blood in the urine itself.

What to do: It is important that if blood is checked in the urine, the doctor is consulted for a physical assessment and the necessary tests to identify the cause of blood in the urine and thus recommend the most appropriate treatment.

In the case of menstruation, it is important to pay attention to the presence of other symptoms such as fever, burning or pain during urination, as this may indicate a urinary infection, which should be treated according to the doctor's advice.

(Reference - https://www.medicinenet.com/dark_urine/symptoms.htm, https://www.healthline.com/health/dark-urine)

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