Brown Urine – What Does This Indicate?

I haven’t been feeling very well the past few days and it’s not the normal ME/CFS stuff.  The problem is I can’t tell if some of my symptoms are my Interstitial Cystitis acting up, or if there is something going on with my kidneys.  I called the doctor’s office but they were no help and told me if I didn’t feel any better to go to the ER.  I only go to the ER when things are REALLY bad because I hate sitting there for hours for them to just tell me it’s my IC Disease.

The other night I was downstairs putting laundry in the washer and I got this really urgent need to go urinate.  That happens a lot with IC but I have never had the urgency be this bad.  At the same time the urgency hit, a sharp pain hit me in my lower abdomen and in my pelvic area.  When I went to the bathroom and urinated, I got this really bad pain that took my breath away and the first thing I thought was great – I think I have a bladder infection.  When I stood up to flush the toilet, I noticed that my urine was brown.  That scared me and I couldn’t figure out what it was coming from.  I have never had brown urine before. 

Then I started having a lot of flank pain (left & right side) and pain in my abdomen.  The pressure and the pain in my lower abdomen and pelvic region continued but I didn’t have any more episodes of brown urine.  I did, however, spend all night making several trips to the bathroom and now it’s Saturday and I am still having a lot of pain and the frequency has continued.  I called the doctor’s office yesterday and they said they couldn’t really tell me anything without testing my urine but if I didn’t feel any better over the weekend to go to the hospital.  They felt that just one instance of brown urine wasn’t anything to worry about.  I didn’t actually get to talk to the doctor – I had to talk to a nurse so that wasn’t very reassuring.

In some ways it feels like my Interstitial Cystitis but in other ways it is different.  I haven’t had anymore burning or pain when I urinate so that doesn’t sound like a UTI or bladder infection.  Any thoughts?

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  1. My husband had brown urine once, like the color of Coca-cola, when he called the hospital they told him to come right in as it could indicate your kidney’s shutting down. He ended up having some sort of creatin overload and had to get fluids. His kidneys were starting to fail and had he left it longer it could have been bad. He is a firefighter/EMT and hates going to the hospital unless absolutely necessary. Please take care of yourself.

  2. Cheryl Lipinski says:

    Take it seriously, even though your doctors’ office does not. As a fellow ICer with non-stop infections as well, I find that we are brushed off as complainers. At the very LEAST – have your urine tested!You must advocate for yourself and let them know that something is not right within your body.


  3. Sounds like a kindey stone to me, I pass them on a weekly/monthly if I’m lucky basis. The really bad ones I get brown urine, and usually have an infection too. Either way, I would definately go to the ER and have a scan done to see if it is a stone, if it’s blocking anything, or you can pass it on your own. Also, try to strain your urine in case you pass a stone, you can take it to a urologist and have it tested. Feel better soon!

  4. Sandy,

    I would seek medical attention as soon as possible. What you’ve described is concerning.

    While I won’t speculate on what I think it might be for you specifically because I really think you need to demand answers from your doctors on that, I will say this…

    I have IC and know many others who have it and I have never heard or read of it being associated with brown urine…

    As far as the flank pain, that could certainly be associated with kidney stones, as could the sudden intense pain you described. While kidney stones could cause blood, I would not jump to any conclusions that this was necessarily a kidney stone and that it has passed and that everything will be OK now that your urine isn’t brown anymore. Even if it was a stone, there could be more. I’ve had 11 stones and mine tend to show up in bunches. So even if you were sure it had been passing a kidney stone, you should follow up with your doctor ASAP.

    As Lynn mentioned, straining your urine looking for stones is a good idea… as is getting the ER to check you out rather than waiting to get into your doctor and a radiology group. (Who knows how long the latter could take?)

    The part in what your first commenter wrote… that it could be a sign of something more serious… is worth noting.

    Regardless of what the nurse at your doctor’s office told you, this definitely sounds to me like something requiring follow up with your doctor, in the very least.

    The ER isn’t a fun place but there are times it’s appropriate. I realize by the time I am seeing this message that it’s already Sunday and you may be planning to call your doctor first thing Monday morning rather than go to the ER. All I can say is I understand why the ER was put out there as a possibility and I wouldn’t rule it out.

    The two tests urologists generally have ordered for me when looking for kidney stones are a KUB (ultrasound) or an IVP (radiology done with an IV dye).

    If it was a stone, there could be more of them. If you’re like me, some may be too large to pass. If they find you have any stones that are large like that, they will likely perform an ESWL (lithotripsy), which breaks up the stones. I had 2 lithotripsies. One was with a general anesthesia and one with a spinal. (They used to have to do surgery to remove large stones before ESWL was invented).

    Again, I don’t want to speculate on what is happening with you because you really need to see your own doctor (or ER… or both) for that. However, hopefully this gives you some information to go in knowing what to ask or expect.

    Drink lots of water to help your body get through whatever the heck is going on.

    Keep me posted on how you’re doing and what they figure out.


  5. Oh, how I know about IC. I had it as a child and continued to suffer until my 40’s. I had a period where I did not have any problems at all, then all of the sudden, it started again…followed by Fibromyalgia and CFS. This was all new to me. I did not realize that these conditions were all sort of related. My sympathy goes out to you. I haven’t had brown urine except when I had a urinary tract infection and it was old blood.


  6. Hello,
    I’m not sure that my question even applies after reading your conversation but if anyone can help I would appreciate the advice. I have FMS, CFS, RA, nerve pain and recently found that I’m diabetic. The same day I found out about the diabetes I also was told I had a urinary infection which I already suspected. My urine was brown and had a yeast smell and was given cipro for 2 weeks which didn’t help. Then he gave me the single pill and the women will know what I’m talking about because I can’t remember the brand name of this drug. It didn’t really help…maybe just a little.
    Today, at the neurologist. I gave another urine sample and it was brown but no longer had the smell of yeast although I still burn and hurt but not only at the time of urination. I didn’t see my doctor today as today was just a nurse visit but just before I walked out the door, the nurse caught me to say that I had a vitamin D deficiency and the doctor was calling in a script to treat it. It must be strong because I only take one weekly.
    Now, my question is, can vitamin D deficiency cause my urine to be brown, can it have anything to do with yeast infections? I found this conversation because it was the second site I was brought to while hunting info on the deficiency. The first site named FMS, CFS, RA and a few other health problems I deal with daily. Since a special test is called for to find this deficiency I am wondering how long I’ve had it and just how much it has to do with all the daily pain I go through. It can also cause depression…wonder why anyone would be
    Anyway, if any of you have a suggestion or info that might stir me in the right direction I would appreciate it. I’m sorry I told my life story but thought you needed to know it all…well, most of it.
    I hope that any medical problems ya’ll are having find a “well” ending.


  7. I have fibromyalgia but I do not think brown urine is part of this illness.
    I would like to know what is causing my brown urine, I have had it happen
    several times and can not pin point what may be causing the dark urine. I
    have read here that it is dark old blood?
    I have also had news symptoms like dropping things in my hands and needing to
    physically lift my right leg with my hands also extreme pain when in bed and
    needing to lift my right leg to turn over. It affects my intire thigh of my
    right leg on the top only.
    can anyone help with my symptoms?

  8. I am 18 years old and for the last 3 days my urine has beel brownish-yellow with lower back pain also with pain about 4 fingers down from my belly button. I am busy with my end exams and do not want to waste time bothering my mom with this and do not have time to go to the docter. Can i do something to be better and is there something wrong with me at all?

  9. Trevor Gilmour says:

    Sandy go to your doctor now, make sure its not bad or doesnt get worse, ive read if your urine is brown it can be a sign of liver damage, which will lead to jaundice (your liver does 500 functions for your body). It also runs your kidneys.

  10. Shannon Macri - Meriden,Ct says:

    Dark urine is a sigh of dehydration,infection,blood in urine,bladder or kidney infections. Take your temperature and drink plenty of water. Go to a doctor if you can afford to because letting an infection get out of hand is no fun.
    Many reasons why urine can become dark. Dark urine each day is a bad sign. Once in a while is not a big deal. Most people walk around with a kidney infection and never show any symptoms.

  11. Well I have been having sharp pain on my lower left side of my abdomen and my urine smells bad and has a brownish fuzzy color. I really have a busy day and I don’t want to go to the hospital so they can just say nothing’s wrong its normal 🙁

  12. I have had brown urine for the last three days . Was taking a lot of antibiotics due to infection in lungs, and caught a bug from hospital. My urine turned brown after that , i do have some discomforted still in abdominal area which goes to back on both sides. Chills and sweats are frequent for me since all of this has been happening. have been on Prednisone since the Sept 2 for Respirtory copd. Should I be concern with the brown urine, it isn’t all the time I go but at least twice a day.

  13. My urine has been a real dark brown for about 2 weeks now. My
    lower back on my left side hurts and my lower abdomin hurts also. I went to
    the er and waited for an hour but then my pain went away.
    I am still peeing brown. The pain in my abdomin and back comes
    and goes. Should I be worried? Because honestly I am.

  14. Anna zeigler says:

    For the past week I’ve been having brownish yellow urine, and would like to know why I haven’t been hurt no where.. I’m 5 months pregnant and I’m worried it might have something to do with the baby.. I really don’t like going to the hospital cause me being pregnant they can’t do much… What is wrong can someone please help me out..

  15. I had have a urinary trac infection for the last three weeks , on the third day of my infection I started to bleed and my pee started to smell, I couldn’t leave the toilet any more because of the urge to pee was really bad an painful, well I went to see my doctor and he prescribe me antibiotics .I’m not bleeding any more but I still have the urge to pee , burning and pain in my lower abdomen. Should I seek for a second opinion?

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