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Cloudy Urine

Symptoms, Causes, Related Conditions, Questions & Related Topics

Top 3 Causes of Cloudy Urine

1. Dehydration

Often, cloudy urine is caused by a simple case of dehydration.[1] While this can be a scary symptom, it happens to many people, especially those who live in hotter climates. It can be a sign that you need to drink more water, especially the symptom has only recently appeared.

2. Infection

Infection is another common cause of milky or cloudy urine. It’s one way our body tells us that something is wrong in a way we will notice. Usually, if this is the case, your urine will also have an especially unpleasant odor.

3. Foreign Deposits

Foreign items in your urine can cause milky urine. Having too much of something in your body (or having it in the wrong place). For example, if you have mucus, crystals, bacteria, blood cells, or fat in your urine, this could cause it to look milky.[2]

Possible Health Conditions Related to Cloudy Urine

1. UTI

A urinary tract infection, or UTI, can be a cause of cloudy or milky urine. Milky, foul-smelling urine is a strong sign of a urinary tract infection. It occurs when bacteria enter the urinary tract. Women are generally more likely to experience a UTI than men.[3] Other signs of a UTI are painful or burning urination, a low-grade fever, cramps, and a persistent feeling of the need to urinate. In most cases, antibiotics obtained from your doctor can treat a urinary tract infection.

2. Kidney Infection

Sometimes, an infection can go deeper and involve the kidneys. Kidney infection is also called pyelonephritis, and it often starts out as a UTI that worsens over time.[4] Some of the signs of a kidney infection are fever, chills, nausea and vomiting, cramps, and a burning sensation that occurs during urination. This requires immediate treatment as, without it, permanent damage to the kidneys can occur. It’s best to see a doctor as quickly as possible if you think there’s a chance that an infection has reached your kidneys.

3. Kidney Stones

As previously stated, strange substances in your urine can make it cloudy, and kidney stones are caused by just this.[5] Sometimes, your milky urine could be a sign of a kidney stone, usually if its accompanied by an extreme pain in your side or back. The pain usually won’t subside, and it could also occur with vomiting, fever, and chills. Kidney stones are extremely painful, and when a person needs to pass one or more stones, it is usually best to do so in a hospital with round-the-clock medical treatment and medications that can minimize the pain.

4. Diabetes

While cloudy urine can be caused by a simple case of dehydration, it can also be a sign of diabetes. If you are experiencing a frequent desire and need to urinate, accompanied by prolonged and intense thirst, you may be having symptoms of diabetes. Weight loss and fatigue are also strong signs of diabetes. In addition, when someone has diabetes, the body tries to remove the excess sugar it can’t process, and it sometimes shows up in the urine, making it cloudy.[2]

5. An STI

In some cases, milky urine can be a telltale sign of an STI, such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. The syndromes themselves have few signs, but the white blood cells that attempt to fight the infection might start to show up in the urine, causing it to look cloudy.[1] Other signs of an STI are pain during sex, general pain around the genitals, pain or burning sensation during urination, and itchiness.

6. Prostatitis

Cloudy urine is also a symptom of prostatitis.[6] It is usually accompanied by painful ejaculation, pain or burning during urination, a frequent need to urinate, blood in the urine, and abdominal pain. The bacteria in your urine can cause it to turn cloudy, notifying you that something is wrong. Diagnosis and treatment can usually be found at a doctor’s office, and most cases of prostatitis, if they are caused by bacteria, can be treated with antibiotics.

6. Vulvovaginitis

The vulva and the vagina can become infected, potentially leading to cloudy urine, among other symptoms such as itchiness, vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor, pain during urination, inflammation of the labia, and general irritation around the genital area.[7] The diagnosis requires a trip to the doctor and a pelvic exam, and treatment for the condition depends strongly on the cause of the infection and whether it was yeast, a virus, an STI, or something else. Treatments include prescription medications such as antibiotics and plenty of at-home remedies.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Your Cloudy Urine

  • How long has your urine been cloudy? When did you first notice it?
  • Do you have any other symptoms, such as painful or frequent urination?
  • Do certain things, such as specific foods, make your urine cloudier?
  • What color is your urine, and does it have a bad smell?
  • Have you ever seen blood in your urine?
  • Have you ever had a urinary tract infection or another similar type of infection?

Cloudy Urine May Also be Known as

  • Cloudy pee
  • Milky urine


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