red urine

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Causes include:

  • haematuria
  • foods - such as beetroot
  • drugs:
    • phenolphthalein
    • rifampicin
  • disease processes:
    • myoglobinuria
    • haemoglobinuria
    • porphyria


  • urine may be apparently red as result of blood from other sources - menstrual blood or perianal blood
  • red in acid urine only - beetroot, blackberries
  • red in alkaline urine only - anthraquinone laxatives, rhubarb, santonin; eosin produces green fluorescence
  • porphyrins - urine darkens on standing
  • urine turns red on contact with hypochlorite bleach (toilet bowl cleaner) - aminosalicylic acid

Last reviewed 01/2018