Why is my urine dark after exercise?

Exercise can cause hematuria (red blood cells in the urine).  Red-brown urine can be seen after:

  • Contact sports:  Football and boxing  (from suffering injury to the kidneys/bladder)
  • Noncontact sports:  Long-distance running, spinning, swimming
  • March hemoglobinuria – resulting from trauma to red cells as you move your feet
  • Rhabdomyolysis (Breakdown of muscle fibers) – leaking myoglobin into urine;  Myoglobin is a protein in muscles. With exercise, your muscles use up oxygen. Myoglobin has oxygen attached to it, which gives the muscle more oxygen to maintain activity.  When muscle is damaged, myoglobin is released into the blood and then removed in the urine.  In some cases, over-exerting your muscles while weight-lifting can injur muscles.

In all of these cases, the red-brown urine gets better with rest, and isn’t a concern.  If one week of rest doesn’t show resolution of urine symptoms, further testing is needed.


About cschaffer78

I'm a family practice physician in Evansville, IN. My practice is described as "full-spectrum" family practice, meaning I see patients "from cradle to grave". I care for men and women of all ages, I deliver babies, and even follow my patients when they are hospitalized. Medical Disclaimer The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider
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