What Is Cloudy Urine?
Normal urine has a characteristic straw yellow color and is usually clear. If not clear, then the color of urine is described to be Cloudy Urine, turbid or milky. Cloudy urine is disturbing occurrence but it does not always point to severe medical conditions. There are a variety of reasons as to why your urine may have suddenly become cloudy.
- Discharge from the vagina or sperm can mix with urine and give it a cloudy tint.
- A urinary tract infection (UTI) cloudy urine in addition to foul smelling urine, burning sensation and pain when urinating.
- Cystitis is a bladder infection that causes inflammation of the bladder and cloudy urine amongst other symptoms like: difficulty starting a urine stream, frequent urination and painful urination.
- Kidney stones can cause cloudy urine due to pus in the urine that gives it a milky appearance. Kidney stones also cause severe pain and may tear the urethra causing production of pus that clouds the urine.
- If the amount of blood in urine is microscopic, it won’t appear as dark or bright red but as cloudy urine. For microscopic blood in urine, it appears cloudy red or cloudy brown.
- Sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea can cause cloudy urine usually due to the vaginal discharge that mixes with the urine.
- For women pregnancy may cause cloudy urine due to many hormonal and physical changes in the body. There is an increase in vaginal discharges that mix with the urine and makes it cloudy or have a strong odor.
- In men inflammation or infection of the prostate gland can cause cloudy urine.
- In men some semen may remain in the urinary tract after ejaculation. During the next urination the semen mixes with the urine and is expelled out of the urethra. Semen appears milky and when it mixes with urine the result is cloudy yellow.
- Although rare the type of food consumed can effect a change in the color and consistency of your urine. Foods known to change the color and smell of urine include beer, coffee and garlic.
- Dehydration or heat exposure can cause cloudy urine. Usually the urine has a strong smell of ammonia.
There are a variety of symptoms that accompany cloudy urine depending on the underlying cause.
- Urinary tract infections cause cloudy urine alongside foul smelling urine, abnormal urine color, abdominal pain, bladder spasm, frequent or decrease in urination and urgent need to urinate.
- If cloudy urine is accompanied by symptoms like fever, high blood pressure, stiffness in joints, excessive hunger, nausea and unexpected weight loss or gain see your doctor for proper diagnosis.
When cloudy urine is caused by a serious medical condition, it always appears in company of other symptoms. Hence one needs to assess themselves for any other unusual signs and symptoms that they are suffering from.
The doctor helps the patient by asking questions like: When did you first notice the cloudy urine? Were there recurrences of the cloudy urine in subsequent bathroom visits? Is the cloudy urine accompanied by pain or burning sensation when urinating? Does the cloudy urine have any characteristic odor? Have you recently began taking any new medication? Had you changed your diet radically at around that time? Has your sexually pattern shifted within the past year?
Answers to these questions assist the urologist to better determine the cause of your cloudy urine. Generally cloudy urine is diagnosed as follows:
- If one has recently introduced some new items in their diet and the white-ish cloudy urine is not accompanied by any other symptoms like pain when urinating, then change in diet is regarded as the cause.
- When cloudy urine is accompanied by a burning or painful sensation when urinating and sometimes a foul odor, it is caused by a urinary tract infection
- If difficulty starting a urine stream, frequent and painful urination manifest along smelly cloudy urine then it is caused by cystitis or a bladder infection
- If cloudy urine occurs alongside severe pain the cause is determined to be kidney stones. The pain varies depending on the size of kidney stones passing through your urinary tract and the tears caused.
After proper diagnosis cloudy urine is treated depending on the cause
- When caused by change in diet, one is advised to remove some items from their diet and observe for any changes in the coming days.
- If caused by dehydration or heat exposure an increase in water consumption treats cloudy urine.
- Urinary tract infections are treated by prescription of antibiotics that alleviates the symptoms and cure the disease within a few weeks.
- Cystitis or bladder infection is treated using antibiotics that ease the symptoms cure the disease.
- In pregnancy, cloudy urine only becomes an issue if the urine contains high concentration of proteins that indicates preeclampsia caused by high blood pressure. Bed rest is usually prescribed along with some medication to lower blood pressure.
- Kidney stones are treated depending on their size. For smaller ones, the doctor prescribes painkillers and lets the patient pass them naturally. Larger kidney stones are broken down (using ultrasound or shock wave treatment) into smaller that can be passed naturally. In severe cases, when there are too many kidney stones, the doctor may insert a catheter in the urinary tract to remove them or prescribe surgical removal.
- Sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea can cured by a prescription of antibiotics.
Cloudy urine can be alleviated at home using the following methods:
- Hydrotherapy: Drinking a lot of water prevents dehydration one of the more common causes of cloudy urine.
- Baking soda: mixing a teaspoon of baking soda with water reduces inflammation and other symptoms that accompany urinary tract infections including cloudy urine. It’s alkaline nature reduces the acidity in urine and balances the pH of the urinary tract.
- Blueberry juice: Has many antioxidants and compounds that inhibit the bacteria that cause urinary tract infections.
- Parsley: is a natural diuretic that increases the frequency of urination hence sodium clearance from the kidneys thereby neutralizing the acidity of the urine and ridding it of the cloudy colour.
- Others foods that fight cloudy urine include pineapples, cranberry juice, coriander seeds and celery3,5
Cloudy urine can be prevented using the methods below:
- Drinking a lot of water.
- Healthy diet that contains a lot of fruits and few high sodium processed foods.
- Safe sex prevents sexually transmitted infections that can cause cloudy urine.
- Cloudy Urine: check your Symptoms and Signs. Retrieved from MedicineNet: https://medicinenet.com/scropt/main/mobileart.asp?articlekey=9986
- Discover the Causes of cloudy Urine. Retrieved from Cloudy Urine: https://urinecolours.com/urine-consistency/cloudy-urine
- Common Causes of Cloudy Urine and Treatment Tips. Retrieved from Bel Marra Health: https://belmarrahealth.com/cloudy-urine-causes-symptoms
- Cloudy Urine with Strong Odour: Common Related Symptoms and Medical Conditions. Retrieved from WebMD: https://symptomchecker.webmd.com/single-symptom?symptom=cloudy-urine-with-strong-odor&sy
- Cloudy Urine: Causes and Treatment. Retrieved from Bye Bye Doctor: https://byebyedoctor.com/cloudy-urine-causes-and-treatment/