If Your Pee Is This Color, You Might Have Prostate Problems

Our body can sometimes take us by surprise — like when we look down at our urine stream only to realize it's not the color it should be. You expect to see a healthy light shade of yellow, but instead, your pee has taken on a pinkish tint. On the one hand, maybe you just ate a large helping of beets or rhubarb, whose deep red coloring can cause our urine to look a little on the rosier side. In some cases, however, pink pee may be tied to a deeper problem going on in the prostate.

Medically referred to as "hematuria," the presence of blood in one's urine can make our pee appear pink, explain experts at Urology Associates. This can occur for a number of different reasons, including in response to irritation within the urinary tract. Sometimes, this irritation is caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), otherwise known as "enlarged prostate." This noncancerous condition is extremely common, with Mount Sinai noting that essentially all men who live into old age can expect to develop an enlarged prostate. As the gland grows, it exerts pressure on the urethra (the tube that dispels urine from the body), which can irritate the bladder and result in bleeding.

Pink pee may be a sign of prostate cancer

Bloody urine may alternatively be a symptom of prostate cancer, notes Urology Associates. Researchers from a 2013 study published in ISRN Surgery analyzed how many patients diagnosed with carcinoma of the prostate (CAP) were hospitalized for hematuria between 1991 to 2011. The researchers determined that the cause of patients' bloody urine was linked with the kind of primary cancer treatment they received. For CAP patients who underwent surgery, hematuria was primarily related to bladder cancer or a urinary infection. For patients who received nonsurgical cancer treatments, however, it was prostate cancer itself that was found to cause bloody urine in the majority of these patients.

While exact prevalence rates of hematuria in patients with prostate cancer have not been determined, researchers from a 2022 systematic review published in BJU International set out to determine if the relationship between hematuria and prostate cancer was strong enough to warrant prostate cancer examinations as a standard healthcare practice for patients seeking medical care for bloody urine. Prevalence rates of prostate cancer stood at just under 6% in men with macroscopic hematuria, or blood that can be seen by the naked eye in the form of pink-tinted urine. Since it proved to be a statistically significant relationship, the researchers suggested that medical professionals issue prostate examinations for men experiencing blood in their urine.

What is pink urine syndrome?

As we've learned, there are cases in which pink urine may be linked to prostate problems. However, there have been documented cases of a medical condition known as "pink urine syndrome," according to 2019 research published in Kidney International Reports. Characterized by pee that is pink in color, or urine containing pink-colored sediment, the condition is often seen in connection with the use of the medication propofol — an anesthetic administered intravenously to induce sedation in surgical patients. These urinary color changes are attributed to increases in uric acid levels that occur in response to the drug. While a number of risk factors are thought to contribute to the development of pink urine syndrome, such as obesity or insulin resistance, cases related to propofol use are generally harmless. However, intravenous fluids should be administered to protect against potential complications (via Frontiers in Pharmacology).

Generally speaking, we want our urine to appear pale yellow, plentiful, and free of any odor. Pee that appears a darker shade of yellow is a sign of dehydration. Therefore, you'll want to make sure you're drinking plenty of water to keep your prostate healthy as well as to protect your overall health.