Urine Output: What's Normal and What's Not?

If you are not urinating at a normal level, it can be a sign that there may be a medical issue that requires treatment, so pay attention to it.

Urinating is a way for the body to remove toxins and waste from the body. Your body is expected to release a certain amount of urine each day based on the amount of liquid you take in. If your body is releasing more or less urine than it should, this can be a sign that you are suffering from a medical condition that will require attention.

Normal Urine Output

Normal urination is 800-2000 mm each day if you take in around 2 liters of fluid throughout the day. However, normal values can vary in different laboratories. Some testing facilities will use different test samples or measurements to reach their conclusions. Get a urine output test and your doctor will be able to explain the meaning of your results once they arrive.

Decreased Urine Output

Decreased urine output or oliguria is a condition that causes the body to produce less than 400 millimeters of urine a day. As one of the abnormal urine output, this is not to be confused with conditions where people fail to urinate at all, or conditions like anuria when you produce 50 mm of urine or less.


  • Dehydration. In most cases, people are producing less urine because of dehydration, which can be caused by illnesses like fever or diarrhea, making the body unable to replace the fluids being drawn out of the body or causing kidneys to retain fluid. Take in an appropriate amount of fluid to avoid dehydration.
  • InfectionSevere infections may cause the body to enter a shock state that can reduce the amount of blood going to your organs. This condition is quite severe and will require immediate medical attention.
  • Urinary Tract Obstruction. A blockage or obstruction prevents urine from leaving the kidneys, leading to a decrease in your urine output. Those suffering from a blockage may also experience fever, vomiting, swelling, nausea or body pain.
  • Medications. Certain medications such as NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, gentamicin or medications for high blood pressure can cause you to produce less urine. If you notice this, consult your doctor to determine if you should take a different dose. Do not alter your doses of any medications without speaking to your doctor first.

When to See a Doctor

Oliguria is typically caused by another medical condition, so see a doctor for sure. You should know when you started noticing a decrease in urination, particularly if it began suddenly or is getting worse. Also be sure to mention any other symptoms such as fever or pain. You may need to attempt to provide a urine sample so the urine can be analyzed for infectious properties or take blood tests, an abdominal ultrasound, CT or renal scans to determine what is causing your decreased urine production.

Excessive Urine Output

Excessive urine output means that you are producing more than 2.5 liters of urine each day, which is also abnormal urine output. In general, it is considered normal to urinate around 2 liters of liquid every day, but this will vary based on your gender, age and other factors. If this condition appears to continue for a long period of time, you might have an underlying issue that is affecting your overall health.


  • Lifestyle Habits. In most cases, your lifestyle is responsible for causing an increase in your urination. Drinking a lot of liquid or drinking beverages that contain caffeine or alcohol can create more urine.
  • Health Conditions. Excessive urination can be a sign that you are experiencing a condition such as psychogenic polydipsia, kidney failure, sickle cell anemia or diabetes.
  • Medications. Medications like diuretics can cause you to produce more urine. If you have recently started taking a new medication or increased your medication dosage, it may be causing your symptoms.
  • Medical Test. If you have just completed a CT scan or other test that involves having dye injected into your body, you may have an excessive amount of urine afterward. This should only be a concern if it continues for a long period of time.

When to See a Doctor

If you suspect a medical condition is causing your excessive abnormal urine output, you should seek medical attention. Monitor your condition for a few days, and contact your doctor if your condition does not appear to be subsiding.



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