DOCTORS have found a rare condition which could turn your urine purple – if you have a UTI.

Medics in Kentucky examined an elderly lady whose bladder infection complications turned her urine a deep shade of purple.

The 76-year-old patient was hospitalized and hooked up to a catheter to drain away her urine after suffering from health issues.

She also had a history of kidney disease and bladder cancer and came to hospital with shortness of breath from congestive heart failure.

Upon further investigation, it was revealed she had an acute kidney injury and other health complications.

Based upon the patient’s history and the microbiology results, a diagnosis of PUBS was made.

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Purple urine bag syndrome (PUBS) is a rare side effect in a patient with urinary tract infection where urine in the catheter bags and tubing turn purple, the medics explained.

A UTI caused a biochemical reaction which resulted in the oddly-coloured urine.

Doctors issued the rare diagnosis of purple urine bag syndrome (PUBS).

It occurs in as many as 42 per cent of patients who have been hooked up to catheters for prolonged periods of time. 

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A chemical reaction in the liver produces an indigo pigment and indirubin, a red pigment. They are then combined and oxidized to turn purple.

Doctors from the University of Pikeville in Kentucky shared the case in the Oxford Medical Case Reports. 

In the report, they said: "PUBS can be associated with many different types of bacteria in the urinary tract.

"The urine in PUBS gets its color from the combination of two pigments, indirubin and indigo, which are breakdown products of tryptophan."

PUBS was first described clinically in 1978, the Daily Mail reported.

The condition is not usually dangerous, but it can be alarming to patients and their loved ones. 


According to Urology News, PUBS is an uncommon phenomenon where the tubing and urinary catheter bag turns a purple colour.

This has been linked with urinary tract infections (UTI), chronic debilitated states and prolonged catheterisation.

Medics say the purple tinge of urine is prompted by a series of chemical reactions in the body.

Doctors at the King George's Medical University in Lucknow, India, wrote in the British Medical Journal Case Reports last year: "The combination of indigo and indirubin gives a purple hue to the urine collection bag."

It is usually benign though – but doctors may be interested in finding the root causes of PUBS.

Primary risk factors may include age, gender, and in kidney failure, having alkaline urine and constipation.

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