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What causes urine to be a dark brown color?

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Dark brown urine can be caused by eating too much aloe or rhubarb or too many fava beans, according to the Mayo Clinic. It can also be caused by medications and certain diseases of the kidneys or liver. Urinary tract infections can also turn the urine dark brown.

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Blood in the urine can also cause dark brown urine, claims WebMD. Medications that are used to treat infections of the urinary tract, such as nitrofurantoin, can also cause the urine to turn dark brown, as can antimicrobial drugs such as metronidazole and high blood pressure drugs such as methyldopa. Levodopa, a drug used to treat Parkinson's disease, is also implicated in the production of dark brown urine.

Drugs that are used to combat malaria, such as primaquine and chloroquine, can also turn the urine dark brown, says the Mayo Clinic. The muscle relaxant methocarbamol can have the same effect, as can laxatives that have senna or cascara as an ingredient.

Urine that is clear but dark brown is a sign of hepatitis or cirrhosis, according to the National Institutes of Health. The color is a sign that the urine has too much bilirubin.

A doctor may use a liver function test, urinalysis, kidney ultrasound or other tests to diagnose the cause of dark urine.

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