Browse services
your locationFind care near me

Find Urgent Care today

Find and book appointments for:

Cloudy Urine

Symptoms, Causes, Related Conditions, Questions & Related Topics

Key Points

  • The article identifies dehydration, infection, and foreign deposits as the top three causes of cloudy urine.
  • It elaborates on several health conditions that may cause cloudy urine, including urinary tract infections, kidney infections, kidney stones, diabetes, STIs, prostatitis, and vulvovaginitis.
  • Each condition is discussed in detail, with information on symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options.
  • The article also provides a list of questions that a doctor may ask if you have cloudy urine.
  • It stresses the importance of seeking medical advice if you have persistent or concerning symptoms.

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

Frequently asked questions

  • What are the top causes of cloudy urine?

    The top three causes of cloudy urine are dehydration, infection, and the presence of foreign materials like mucus, crystals, bacteria, blood cells, or fat.
  • What health conditions can cause cloudy urine?

    Health conditions that may cause cloudy urine include urinary tract infections, kidney infections, kidney stones, diabetes, sexually transmitted infections, prostatitis, and vulvovaginitis.
  • What symptoms should I look out for if I have cloudy urine?

    Symptoms vary depending on the underlying condition. They may include pain or discomfort during urination, frequent urination, blood in urine, or fever.
  • How are these conditions diagnosed?

    Diagnosis usually involves a physical examination and urine tests. Additional tests may be required depending on the suspected condition.
  • What are the treatment options for these conditions?

    Treatment options depend on the specific condition. They may include antibiotics for infections, lifestyle changes for diabetes, or surgery for kidney stones.
  • What questions might a doctor ask if I have cloudy urine?

    A doctor might ask how long your urine has been cloudy, if you have other symptoms, and if certain foods make your urine cloudier.
  • How long should I wait before seeking medical advice for cloudy urine?

    You should seek medical advice if your symptoms persist or are concerning. It's always better to be safe and consult a healthcare professional.
  • Does cloudy urine always indicate a health problem?

    Not always. Cloudy urine can be caused by dehydration or certain foods. However, if it persists or is accompanied by other symptoms, it could indicate a health problem.

Solv has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.

Related Health Concerns

Athlete's Foot

Cataract Surgery



Genital Herpes




Human Papillomavirus (HPV)


Lab Test


STD Test

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Spider Veins


Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Urine Culture

Solv App

Quality healthcare is just a
click away with the Solv App

Book same-day care for you and your family

Find top providers near you
Choose in-person or video visits
Manage visits on-the-go
Get the FREE App

This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By using Solv, you accept our use of cookies.