Green Urine: 4 Common Causes & What to Do

August 2022

Although green urine is not very common, it is generally not the sign of a serious health problem. It is usually the result of eating certain foods that are naturally green or that contain food coloring. It can also be caused by certain medications or after using contrast dye for kidney tests, like a CT scan. 

Nonetheless, in rarer cases, green urine may be caused by a UTI, particularly a Pseudomonas infection. Therefore, if your urine is green for over 2 days, or if it is accompanied by other symptoms like a fever, you should seek medical attention for diagnosis and treatment as necessary. 

If you think your green urine is caused by a UTI, check out our online UTI symptoms checker to evaluate your risk for an infection.

The most common causes of green urine are: 

1. Medication use

Medications are the most common reason for green urine, particularly those that are made with dyes or other artificial colors. The most common medications to cause green urine include amitriptyline, indomethacin and methocarbamol.

Green urine can also emerge following surgery, as some components of general anesthetic, like propofol, can alter urine color. 

What to do: No further treatment is necessary, as the urine color in this case will not affect overall body functioning. You should still notify your prescriber of the side effect, however, to see whether a dose change or alternative medication is needed. 

2. Eating asparagus or other foods 

Some foods can give urine a green color, particularly those with artificial coloring like cakes or gummy candy. Leafy green vegetables, like spinach or asparagus, have high levels of chlorophyll, which can also make urine green.

Urine color can vary from a light to a dark green, depending on the amount of food eaten. 

What to do: If you ate any of these foods and noticed a change to your urine color, you should not worry. Urine color will usually return to normal within a day. 

3. UTI

Although most UTIs do not cause any urine color changes, there are some bacteria that can make your urine appear green. Infections caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria, for example, are associated with green urine and are commonly found in patients admitted in a hospital.

In addition to green urine, infected patients may also notice other UTI symptoms, like fever and bladder heaviness. Read more about UTI symptoms to look out for, and complete out online symptom checker to assess your risk for a UTI.

What to do: If you suspect you have a UTI, you should see your doctor for a urine test and to assess the need to initiate antibiotic treatment. UTI treatment can vary depending on your symptoms and the underlying bacteria causing infection.

4. Image tests with contrast dye

Some medical tests that use contrast like blue methylene can turn change urine color and make it green. Depending on the type of contrast used, other colors may also be noticed, like blue, red or pink. 

What to do: Specific treatment is not necessary, however you should drink plenty of fluid to help eliminate any lingering contrast quickly. 

When to see a doctor

If your urine is green for over 2 days, you should seek medical attention for assessment, diagnosis and treatment as appropriate. You should take a list of your medications with you, so that the doctor can rule out whether the green urine is a result of a specific medication. 

Was this information helpful?

Edited by Tua Saude editing team in August 2022. Clinical review completed by Manuel Reis - Registered Nurse in August 2022.

References

  • HARVARD HEALTH. Red, brown, green: Urine colors and what they might mean. Available on: <https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/red-brown-green-urine-colors-and-what-they-might-mean>. Access in 20 Mar 2019
  • JOURNAL OF ANAESTHESIOLOGY, CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY. Green urine: A cause for concern?. 2017. Available on: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5374818/?report=reader>. Access in 20 Mar 2019
Clinical review:
Manuel Reis
Registered Nurse
Manuel graduated in 2013 and is licensed to practice under the Ordem dos Enfermeiros de Portugal, with license #79026. He specializes in Advanced Clinical Phytotherapy.