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Why Is Your Urine Cloudy?

Reviewed on 9/17/2020

What Causes Cloudy Urine?

Changes in urine color and transparency may be caused by a number of health conditions, including kidney problems, urinary tract infections, STDs and others.
Changes in urine color and transparency may be caused by a number of health conditions, including kidney problems, urinary tract infections, STDs and others.

Changes in color and transparency of urine can be an indicator of possible health problems. There are numerous causes for cloudy urine, such as:

What Symptoms Can Accompany Cloudy Urine?

Symptoms that may accompany a cloudy appearance of urine depend on the cause, and may include: 

  • Dehydration
    • Dizziness or lightheadedness
    • Confusion
    • Fast heartbeat
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
    • Burning or pain on urination
    • Urinary frequency
    • Urinary incontinence
    • Blood in the urine
    • Foul odor
    • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Kidney stones
    • Pain on urination
    • Pain on the side or lower back
    • Bloody urine
    • Foul odor
    • Changes in color of urine
    • Fever and chills
    • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sediment from a distended bladder
    • Painful or burning urination
    • Urinary urgency/frequency
    • Foamy, frothy urine
    • Pink, reddish, or brownish urine
    • Pain in the lower back (uncommon)
  • Blood in the urine
    • Changes in urine color: red, pink, or brown
    • Pain
    • Fever
  • Enterovesicular fistula
    • Symptoms similar to UTI
    • Bubbles in the urine
    • Brownish color to the urine
    • Painful or burning sensation on urination
    • Blood in urine
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as gonorrhea and chlamydia
    • Discharge from the penis or vagina: milky, green, yellow, or bloody
    • Itching around the penis or vagina
    • Pain or burning on urination
    • Pain or burning during intercourse 
  • Schistosomiasis, a disease caused by parasitic worms
    • Rash or itchy skin
    • Fever and chills
    • Cough
    • Muscle aches 
  • Prostate problems
    • Pain or burning on urination
    • Urinary frequency or urgency
    • Blood in the urine
    • Difficulty starting urination
    • Pain on ejaculation
    • Fever and chills
  • Vaginal discharge, if due to an infection:
    • Discharge may be white, cottage-cheese-like, gray, yellowish, watery, or greenish
    • Swelling, pain, and/or redness around the vulva or vagina
    • Intense itching or burning
    • Painful sexual intercourse
    • Fishy or unpleasant odor 
    • Pain on urination
  • Retrograde ejaculation
    • Very little or no semen with ejaculation (dry orgasms)
    • Male infertility
  • Excess phosphorus in urine (phosphaturia)

SLIDESHOW

Kidney Stones: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment See Slideshow

What Is the Treatment for Cloudy Urine?

Treatment for cloudy urine depends on the cause, and may include: 

  • Dehydration
    • Drink more water
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Kidney stones
    • Drink a lot of water to help the stone pass on its own
    • Medications (alpha blockers) to help pass the stone
    • Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) to break up stones
    • Surgery
      • Ureteroscopy: an endoscope is inserted through the ureter to remove or destroy stones
      • Percutaneous nephrolithotomy/nephrolithotripsy for large stones
  • Sediment from a distended bladder
    • May be a sign of liver diseases, diabetes, urinary tract infection (UTI) or other conditions affecting the urinary tract, bladder stones, or red blood cells in urine
    • Treatment depends on the cause
    • Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and drinking plenty of water can often help prevent sediment in urine
  • Blood in the urine
    • May be a sign of a urinary tract infection (UTI), kidney stones, an enlarged prostate, or urinary tract cancer (rare)
    • Treatment depends on the cause
  • Enterovesicular fistula
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as gonorrhea and chlamydia
    • Antibiotics 
  • Schistosomiasis
  • Prostate problems
    • Treatment depends on the cause and may include antibiotics to treat infection medications to shrink a swollen prostate
    • Lifestyle changes
    • Catheter
    • Surgery
  • Vaginal discharge, if due to an infection
  • Retrograde ejaculation
    • No treatment is needed unless you are trying to get your partner pregnant, in which case medications to keep the bladder closed during intercourse may be prescribed
  • Excess phosphorus in urine (phosphaturia)
    • Often caused by kidney problems and the underlying cause must be treated

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Reviewed on 9/17/2020
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