Why is my urine cloudy?

Having cloudy urine could mean a number of things. Urine is typically clear with a yellowish tinge. If it takes on a murky, foamy or turbid appearance it is described as cloudy. There are plenty of reasons for having murky urine, from a mild case of dehydration to a severe disease. In general, there is no need to fret if the cloudy appearance is temporary and goes away on its own and no other symptoms are present. On the other hand, if the urine is always turbid or has been for quite some time, a consultation with a doctor may be necessary. 

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What is the cause cloudy urine? 

If the urine is turbid, a wide assortment of reasons is possible. Some of the notable causes include:

  • Dehydration

This is the most frequent cause of cloudy urine. The insufficient supply of water in the body causes the urine to become murky and take on a darker shade of yellow since it is not diluted with water. Mild dehydration usually causes temporary turbidity which resolves on its own.

  • Food

Certain foods and even drinks can alter the color of the urine. Depending on the color that gets mixed with the urine, it may take on a murky appearance. This, however, is not very common.

  • Vitamins and medications

Certain water soluble vitamin supplements cause cloudy urine; some examples are vitamins B and C. Furthermore, some drugs have side effects that include cloudiness in the urine.

  • Urinary tract infections (UTI)

Infections affecting the urinary tract can result in bacteria (pus) and blood to seep in the urine. This will render the urine a murky appearance. If UTI is the cause, cloudy urine is typically accompanied by burning sensation during urination and extreme pain.

  • Cystitis

Cystitis is an infection of the bladder that may cause urine turbidity. In addition to having murky urine, this bladder inflammation is also characterized by increased frequency in urination, difficult as well as painful urination.

  • Gonorrhea

The vaginal discharge that comes along with gonorrhea could mix with the urine during urination thus giving it a cloudy appearance.

  • Vaginal discharge

Any kind of discharges that originate from the vagina could blend in with the urine making it turbid.

  • Blood in urine

Blood will not necessarily appear bright red when mixed with urine especially when it is in minute amounts. Microscopic blood cells will make the urine cloudy, sometimes taking on a brownish or slightly reddish hue.

  • Diabetes

A number of diabetic individuals have murky urine. This is usually attributed to kidney infections or urinary tract infections that diabetics experience frequently.

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  • Pregnancy

Many pregnant women will notice that their urine is cloudy. This is due to the hormonal changes as well as the increase in vaginal discharge during pregnancy. If the turbidity is pregnancy-related, it will return to normal after childbirth.

  • Chemical exposure

Some chemicals used in the industrial setting or at home can cause cloudy urine. Prolonged and frequent exposure to these chemicals should be avoided.

  • Kidney problems

The presence of kidney stones may result in urine turbidity since they release minerals into the urine. Also, kidney damage and diseases prevent the kidneys from functioning properly; hence, particulates are not effectively filtered resulting in murky urine. 

What are the symptoms that accompany cloudy urine? 

Cloudy urine is not a disease; rather, it is a sign of a condition which may manifest other symptoms as well. Not all cases of murky urine are presented with other symptoms. Such as in the case of mild dehydration, aside from the urine being murky, other signs may be absent. However, if cloudy urine is due to certain diseases or health conditions, symptoms like the following may be noticeable too.

  • Pain

Pain, together with having turbid urine, is typically a sign of problems involving the urinary tract and kidneys. UTI can cause painful urination which goes away after urinating. In contrast, pain attributed to kidney stones is present even when not urinating. Until the kidney stones are eliminated, the pain will not disappear.

  • Foul smell

Cloudy urine that is accompanied by a bad smell could spell UTI because of the presence of bacteria.

When should it become a cause of concern? 

Cloudy urine could be a sign of a serious health condition. Some of the health issues that may cause murky urine and need to be treated accordingly include diabetes, urinary tract infections, urinary stones, kidney stones and other kidney diseases, prostate hyperplasia in men, hepatitis C, tuberculosis, proteinuria, gonorrhea, cystitis, and nephritis. 

The treatment of cloudy urine largely varies and is based on the root cause. Whether it is food, vitamin or disease that brought forth the turbidity in the urine, the underlying cause must be determined first and be addressed appropriately. 

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