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What Does Cloudy Urine Mean?

Updated on January 30, 2014

The elimination of cloudy urine can indicate underlying occurrence of different kinds of diseases and/or infections. The color of urine can vary widely, from being flawlessly clear like water, to being dark reddish. The color of urine is usually determined by the levels of water and fluids in the body as well as the ammonia content. Cloudy or whitish urine by itself is not a disease, but a symptom of some other underlying illness.

Alterations in the color or clarity of urine may also be accompanied by distress and another anomalies. This is more prominent if cloudy urine occurs along with other signs of urinary irregularities like pain or burning sensations during urination, or an elevated desire to eliminate urine on a frequent basis.

People may typically notice cloudy urine in the morning after getting up from sleep. This is due to a decrease in the overall water levels in the body during the course of night, which in turn causes the urine to turn increasingly concentrated.

Cloudy Urine Causes

There are many causes of cloudy urine. Some of common ones are discussed below:

  • UTIs or Urinary tract infections: It is one of the major causes of cloudy urine. One type of UTI called pyelonephritis leads to passing of puss in urine along with cloudy urine. This disease affects more men than women. Other symptoms associated with pyelonephritis include burning sensations while urinating, fever, increased urge to urinate frequently, and flank pain.
  • Elevated levels of phosphate crystals: Abnormal levels of phosphate crystals in urine can also result in evacuation of cloudy urine along with a foul odor. The condition is harmless and often resultsfrom excessive intake of beet or asparagus in a meal. It can also occur after intake of milk that has high levels of phosphate. The milky or cloudy appearance of urine is caused due to precipitation of phosphate crystals.
  • Abnormal discharge from vagina:Women may eliminate cloudy urine when they experience some kind of vaginal discharge. This discharge can be caused due to a variety of reasons, which be normal or anomalous.
  • Dehydration: Excessive loss of fluids from the body can be caused due to many different disorders. Some of the common reasons for depletion of liquids and water levels in the body include vigorous exercising or physical activities, decreased intake of water, excessive sweating, etc. The resultant dehydration can then cause elimination of cloudy urine.
  • Use of vitamin supplements: Different water soluble vitamins such as vitamin B, vitamin C, etc., generally do not stay in the body. Only small quantities of vitamins get stored. The excess vitamins are removed via urine. Hence, increased intake of vitamin supplements can cause the urine to appear cloudy.
  • Cystitis and other types of bladder infections: The presence of cystitis and other infections of the bladder can result in occurrence of white blood cells in urine. This in turn can cause cloudy urine as well as changes in its color. Additional symptoms of cystitis are acute pain or burning sensations when passing urine, fever, chills, and increased urination frequency.
  • Gonorrhea:It is an STD which causes increased bacterial presence in urine. Both men and women affected by gonorrhea may experience changes in urine color as well as cloudy urine.
  • Proteinuria: This condition is characterized by occurrence of elevated protein concentration in urine and is another cause of cloudy urine. Women may experience proteinuria during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. If proteinuria-associated cloudy urine occurs along with hypertension during pregnancy, then affected women must immediately consult a doctor.
  • Other causes: Kidney stones, prostatitis, bilharzia, etc. are some of the other known causes of cloudy urine. Occasionally, occurrence of mucus in urine can also give it a cloudy appearance.

Treatment of cloudy urine

Most individuals suffering from cloudy urine often do not seek medical care as the symptom disappears on its own. However, it is necessary to consult a doctor when cloudy urine is chronic.

Treatment of cloudy urine involves diagnosis of the underlying causal disease and use of varied medications and therapies to cure/control/manage the diagnosed illness.

  • Infections, pain, and discomfort that accompany cloudy urine can be alleviated with antibiotics and diuretics.
  • Patients also need to maintain good personal hygiene and intake lots of water and fluids.

Mild cases of cloudy urine can be treated via the below listed home remedies:

  • Cranberry juice is considered as one of the best home treatments for cloudy urine.
  • Apple cider vinegar can be used to treat urinary tract infections. Patients however need to note that this home remedy is not a substitute for proper treatment by a doctor.
  • Cloudy urine and its associated symptoms can also be reduced via intake of coriander seeds solution. The solution can be prepared by boiling the seeds in water. Strain it and allow it to cool down. Drink the solution twice per day.

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