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The quality of your urine can say a lot about your health, especially dark urine in men. This symptom can indicate a variety of problems, some of which are serious and some are not. Either way, it’s better to err on the side of caution. Men with dark urine should get symptoms checked out.
Various conditions, illnesses, and external factors can alter the color, odor and consistency of your urine. Urine that is darker than normal can be caused by the following:
Since this symptom can be caused by hepatitis B and hepatitis C, STD testing is highly recommended. Testing for hepatitis B is routinely recommended for anyone who has had unprotected sex in the past, espeically men who have sex with other men, and has not been vaccinated. Both hepatitis B and hepatitis C testing is recommended for those who may have been exposed to infected blood, specifically through IV drug use. Hepatitis testing is performed through a quick blood sample at a local lab, and results are available within a few short days.
If your hepatitis B testing and STD testing comes back negative, a doctor can help diagnose other possible conditions with further testing. Take note of any vitamins you are taking and how much fluids you drink since they may be affecting the color of your urine.
When dark urine in men is caused by hepatitis B or C, treatment depends on whether the infection is acute or chronic. An acute hepatitis B infection doesn’t require any specific treatment, while antiviral medication can help manage chronic infections. If you test negative for hepatitis B, be sure to follow up with the hepatitis B vaccine. A doctor can advise on hepatitis C treatment; acute cases may not require treatment, but most cases become chronic and require medication.
Treatment for gallstones depends on the severity of the condition. Some patients require surgery, but others may not require any medical treatment. Kidney stones have to pass with time, but fluids and pain medication can help. A doctor must treat and monitor cirrhosis.
If dehydration is causing dark urine in men, drinking more fluids can help. If vitamins or supplements are the cause, consult your doctor to see if your supplements are safe.
Hepatitis B is recommended as part of a routine STD test for those who have not been vaccinated for the virus. Currently, there is no vaccine for hepatitis C, so testing is recommended for those at risk.
The CDC advises that all baby boomers - the generation born between 1945 and 1964 - have a one-time hepatitis C test performed since this infection is most common among this age group. Baby boomers should test for hepatitis C even if no symptoms (such as dark urine) are present or even if they don't consider themselves at risk. Most people with hepatitis C do not know how they acquired the infection and never experience symptoms until the virus has progressed significantly.
Written and researched by Abby Morgan