Black urine can be, in a word,... terrifying. We are used to seeing many different shades of yellow, but once you notice urine that is much, much darker than you expect, it is hard not to worry. As with all urine colors, there are a variety of causes of black urine, some harmless, and some much more worrisome. Black urine causes can mainly be broken down into 3 major categories: Food Causes, Medicinal Causes, and Health Causes. After we discuss the basics of these 3 categories, we will group the causes of black urine by sections of ‘Not So Dangerous’, ‘Possibly Dangerous’, and ‘Very Dangerous’.
Food-related changes to your urine color are typically nothing to worry about... unless you are eating something you should not be ingesting. To create black urine through foods, you have usually consumed a fair amount of some type of food that either contains natural or artificial dyes, or a food that causes a chemical reaction with your urine creating a dark brown or black urine color.
When your black urine is not caused by the food you have eaten nor a medical condition, it usually comes down to medicine you are taking or chemicals you are using. These medicinal causes of black urine typically range from Not So Dangerous to Possibly Dangerous. Any of these could be Very Dangerous just because overdose and prolonged exposure always create great risk. The medicinal causes list can be quite long. If you can’t remember if you are taking any of these medications, then... you may just be taking too many medications. Or you’re buying your meds in unmarked plastic bags... we’d definitely have to recommend against doing that.
When food causes black urine, you can remove it from your diet. When medicine or chemicals cause your black urine, many times you can switch medications or change your exposure to those chemicals to control any risk. When your black urine is caused by a health issue, you need to do one thing... see a doctor. It could be stated that health issues don’t so much cause your urine to turn black as your black urine is a symptom of those health issues. It’s a warning sign. It lets you know something is just not quite right. In the case of black urine, it lets you know that perhaps something is very, very wrong. That being said, there are some health issues that are minor or even insignificant. And others...well, you know.