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Can odd coloration of urine be due to food coloring?

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There is an odd coloration of my urine in toilet bowl.
It recently looked like something green on the surface of the toilet water. I might compare it to maybe food coloring for descriptive purpose. In the past there has been a sort of purple/orange color. A good way compare this is if you have ever seen what happens to gasoline when it comes into contact with rain on a road surface. Even motor oil has a tendency to react this way.

Category: Family Physician-GP

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Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
 26 Doctors Online

Thank you for your query at
The green color on the surface of your toilet water as well as the purple/ orange colors are all due to a thin oil film over the water surface. A thin film of oil over water surface produces a physical phenomenon called "thin-film interference" which occurs due to interaction of light waves reflecting off from the top and the bottom layer of this oil film. This produces different colors depending on the amplitude of the resulting light waves. This is commonly seen in the other situations you have described.
Now, coming back to your toilet water, it could be due to accumulation of oil in your toilet bowl from a greasy stool. Another possibility is if you apply any creams or ointments locally, after washing, their oily component in the toilet water can form an oil film.
If the above two scenarios are not likely in your case, then the other possibility is ketones in urine which can be present due to a stringent diet change, starving for a long period or excess alcohol intake. You will need to get your urine analysed in this case.
I hope this was helpful.
Feel free to ask queries.
Thank you.

Patient replied :

Well there is not any dietary indications as you suggest but I was wondering if beverages such as coffee ,soda , and teas could cause this? Many years ago a certain soda I used to drink seemed to have this thin film interference in it. In the 2 liter bottles you could see it while tilting the bottle side ways. I have not noticed this any time recently and I do not think I drink excessive amounts of any of these beverages. The other concern is I drink quite a bit of water at work because of the heat during the summer. They have a cooler that filters the water and have noticed there is what looks like lime scale around the spout for the water .Could there be a contaminant in the water causing my issue if maybe the filter is not working correctly? the water company here is using chloramine to treat the water.

No. Any beverage you drink will not cause an oily urine.
Drinking good amount of water is actually good for health. Lime scale around the spout indicates that the water is being filtered is hard water. Contaminants in water too do not cause your issue. Unless the water or any beverage you are drinking is clearly oily, you will not have such an issue. And this too would lead to greasy stools and not urine. Chloramine is an aqueous solution and is not oily and will not result in an oily urine even in ingested in excess amounts.
Like I had suggested earlier, if your stool is not greasy, and you are not using any creams or ointments around your bottom, you need to get your urine tested for ketones. Apart from Diabetes, long periods of starvation can also result in ketones in urine which in turn could produce the thin film interference in your toilet water, causing reflections of multiple colors.
I hope this helps.
Thank you.

Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy
Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
MBBS from Sri Ramachandra University in December 2011
M.Med (Family Medicine) - TNMGR University, Chennai
MBA-MPH in Public Health in March 2016, SRM University
Finished AFIH in March 2016, SRM University
MRCP ( UK ), Internal Medicine, Royal College of Physicians, June 2016
Fellowship in Diabetology from Martin Luther University in January 2017

Currently Resident Physician, in MD Radiodiagnosis - Kamakshi Memorial Hospital, Chennai
Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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