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General Medical Questions
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Question : At times, my urine is dark and smells. Should I worry?
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The Trusted Source
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Howard LeWine, M.D.

Howard LeWine, M.D., is chief editor of Internet Publishing, Harvard Health Publications. He is a clinical instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. LeWine has been a primary care internist and teacher of internal medicine since 1978.

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April 08, 2014
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Given this only happens to you at certain times, it probably is not something to worry about. But before reassuring you, I would need answers to some questions: 

  • By dark, do you mean dark yellow? Or is your urine brown or red?
  • What medical conditions or problems do you have, if any?
  • Are you having any other symptoms, such as back or pelvic pain, weakness, fatigue, or fever?
  • Does this happen only when you don’t drink enough fluids?

If your urine is just a dark yellow color at times, especially when you don’t drink enough fluids, then it likely is normal. Your kidneys are working properly to conserve body water. Dark yellow urine is one of the signs of dehydration.

Certain foods and medicine can change urine color and make it smell. Eating asparagus is a good example.

You would definitely need to see your doctor.

  • If your urine is red or brown at times. This could be a sign of a bladder, kidney, blood or liver problem.
  • If you have any other symptoms, such as pain, fatigue, or fever.

Here’s a simple way to be certain:  Collect a fresh urine sample when you have the dark urine. If possible, use a sterile container. Your doctor can quickly and easily test the sample to be sure everything is okay.

 

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