Why Is My Pee Cloudy

In most cases, cloudy urine is harmless due to natural changes that your body goes through. Normally, it goes away quickly when you stay hydrated and incorporate a healthy diet into your daily routine. Reach out to your healthcare provider if you notice the cloudiness of your urine is not clearing up after a few days.

Why Is Your Urine Cloudy?

If you notice that your urine looks cloudy instead of its usual clear, yellowish color, it could be due to infections, kidney stones, or other changes in your health. Sometimes pain or other symptoms go along with it. The sooner you learn the cause, the quicker you can get the treatment you need.

Urinary Tract Infection

A urinary tract infection (UTI) happens when bacteria get into your bladder, kidneys, or urethra. That’s where urine comes out. Along with cloudy urine, you’ll notice symptoms like:

  • Burning or pain when you pee
  • A need to go more often than usual
  • Leaking urine
  • Smelly or bloody urine
  • Pain in your lower belly

Your doctor will likely suggest antibiotics to clear up the infection. Finish all the pills that they prescribe to make sure all the bacteria get killed.

Call your doctor if you:

  • Get a fever higher than 100.5 F
  • Have chills
  • Feel pain in your lower belly or flank
  • Are nauseated or throw up

Dehydration

Your urine can turn cloudy when you don’t drink enough. A lack of fluid makes urine more concentrated. It will also turn a darker color.

You can solve this problem by drinking more water every day. When you get enough fluids, your urine will be clear and light yellow in color.

Call your doctor if you:

  • Feel dizzy or faint
  • Get confused
  • Have a fast heartbeat
  • Are breathing hard

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are crystals that form in your kidneys out of minerals and salts in your urine. Large stones can make urine back up in your bladder or another part of your urinary tract. They can cause pain, sometimes severe. You might hurt on your side and lower back, or when you pee.

Your urine could get cloudy or have blood in it. It could also be smelly or look red, pink, or brown.

Some other symptoms you might have are:

  • Fever and chills
  • Nausea and vomiting

Some kidney stones come out on their own in your urine. Doctors can do a noninvasive procedure to break up stones that are too big to pass through urine. Sometimes, people need surgery to remove stones.

Call your doctor if you:

  • Have severe pain in your back or side
  • Feel nauseated or throw up
  • Have to go all the time
  • Have a burning sensation when you pee
  • Notice urine that is pink or red

Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)

STIs are viral or bacterial infections you catch from a partner during sex. Infections like chlamydia and gonorrhea cause a milky discharge from the penis or vagina that can turn the urine cloudy.

Other signs that you have an STI are:

  • Green, yellow, or bloody discharge from the penis or vagina
  • Pain or burning when you pee or have sex
  • Itching around the penis or vagina

Call your doctor if you have symptoms of an STI. Antibiotics can cure infections caused by bacteria. If a virus caused your STI, medicines can treat the symptoms.

Retrograde Ejaculation

Normally when a man has an orgasm, semen travels out of their body through their penis. In retrograde ejaculation, semen backs up into the bladder. This causes a dry orgasm without any fluid. The urine is cloudy right after an orgasm because it contains semen.

Retrograde ejaculation happens when the muscle at the opening of the bladder doesn’t close tightly enough. Nerve problems from diabetes, multiple sclerosis (MS), or medicines are possible causes.

You may not need treatment for this condition, unless you want to start a family and you can’t get your partner pregnant. Your doctor can suggest medicines to keep your bladder closed during sex.

Call your doctor if little or no semen comes out when you have an orgasm and you want to have a child.

Blood in the Urine

Cloudiness is sometimes due to blood in the urine. Blood can stain the yellow urine red, pink, or brown.

Blood in your urine could mean you have a UTI, kidney stones, or an enlarged prostate. Rarely, it can be a sign of cancer in your urinary tract. See your doctor to get this symptom checked out.

Call your doctor if your urine looks red or pink, especially if you also have pain, fever, or other symptoms.

Prostate Problems

The prostate gland adds fluid to sperm in men. This gland wraps around the urethra, the tube that urine travels through as it moves out of the body.

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Any swelling of the prostate can block the flow of urine. Blood or debris can then build up in the trapped urine and turn it cloudy.

When urine is cloudy due to prostate problems, you might also have symptoms like:

  • Pain or burning when you pee
  • Dribbling or trouble starting to urinate
  • An urgent need to go, or frequent urination
  • Blood in the urine
  • Pain when you ejaculate
  • Fever and chills

Your treatment depends on what’s causing the problem. You may get medicines to treat an infection or to shrink your swollen prostate.

Call your doctor if:

  • You have to pee all the time
  • You get up during the night to pee
  • When you pee, urine dribbles out
  • You see blood in your pee or semen
  • It hurts when you pee or have an orgasm
  • You have pain in your lower back, hips, groin, or upper thighs

Show Sources

Familydoctor.org: “Common Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs),” “Dehydration,” “Urinary Tract Infection.”

Harvard Medical School: “Changes in Urine — When to see the doctor,” “Kidney Stones,” “Retrograde Ejaculation.”

Mayo Clinic: “Kidney Stones,” “Prostatitis,” “Retrograde ejaculation,” “Urine color.”

Mount Sinai Medical Center: “Cloudy Urine.”

National Institute on Aging: “Prostate Problems.”

National Kidney Foundation: “Kidney Stones.”

National Health Service (UK): “Blood in urine,” “Urinary tract infections (UTIs).”

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: “The Urinary Tract & How It Works.”

University of Washington Medicine, Right as Rain: “What the Color of Your Pee Says About Your Health.”

Urology Care Foundation: “What are Kidney Stones?”

Cloudy Urine

Cloudy urine occurs when your urine has a hazy or milky color that is not a normal, clear, light yellow. Cloudy urine is generally harmless but frequent and repetitive cloudy urine could be a sign of a medical condition.

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Overview

What is cloudy urine?

Cloudy urine appears when your urine has a milky color that isn’t clear. Generally, cloudy urine is harmless, but frequent and repetitive signs of cloudy urine could indicate an underlying medical condition.

What does cloudy urine look like?

Normal urine is light yellow in color that is transparent. Cloudy urine is foggy white to light yellow in color compared to normal straw yellow color.

Possible Causes

What causes cloudy urine?

The most common cause of cloudy urine is the presence of alkaline. Urine is comprised of water, salts and waste from the kidneys and the balance of these components affects the alkaline or acidity (pH) in urine. Normal urine acidic-to-alkaline levels range from 4.5 to 8 pH. Urine that is under 5 pH is considered acidic, with urine measuring at 8 pH or higher is alkaline (basic). High alkaline causes cloudy urine.

Other possible causes for cloudy urine include:

  • Dehydration.
  • Kidney leakage (chyluria).
  • Infection.
  • High fruit and vegetable diet.
  • Vaginal discharge.

What if I have cloudy urine during pregnancy?

It’s normal to have frequent urination during pregnancy. As a result, you may notice occasional color changes in your urine. Cloudy urine during pregnancy may occur due to:

  • Vaginal discharge.
  • Dehydration (from morning sickness).
  • Infection.
  • Preeclampsia.

If you experience repetitive, cloudy or discolored urine, or have any symptoms like headache, blurry vision, abdominal pain or swelling, visit your healthcare provider for further examination.

What foods cause cloudy urine?

Some foods that you eat may cause cloudy urine because it increases your level of alkaline. If you eat a diet comprised mostly of fruits and vegetables, with limited consumption of meats, grains and cheeses (low-PRAL), your alkaline levels are likely to be higher, which can lead to cloudy urine.

What diseases/disorders have cloudy urine as a side effect?

Several diseases or disorders have cloudy urine as a side effect including:

  • Diabetes.
  • Chyluria.
  • Infection (urinary tract infection,).
  • Preeclampsia.
  • Kidney disease or kidney stones.

Does cloudy urine mean that I have a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or a sexually transmitted infection (STI)?

Some STIs and STDs cause cloudy urine. Cloudy urine isn’t the only symptom of many STDs or STIs, but it could be a factor in your diagnosis. Infections or diseases that have cloudy urine as a symptom include:

Care and Treatment

How is cloudy urine treated?

You can treat cloudy urine by:

  • Staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water.
  • Taking vitamin C to reduce alkaline levels.
  • Taking antibiotics to treat any infections.
  • Eating a balanced diet.

How can I prevent cloudy urine?

You can prevent cloudy urine by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes staying hydrated and eating a well-balanced diet. You can also visit your healthcare provider to treat infections early before they pose a greater threat to your health.

When to Call the Doctor

When should I see my healthcare provider for cloudy urine?

Occasional cloudy urine is normal. If you experience persistent cloudy urine that doesn’t go away within a few days, contact your healthcare provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is foamy urine the same as cloudy urine?

Foamy urine is the result of the speed of urination, which causes air to form pockets in the urine, creating a bubbly texture. Cloudy urine is not clear and appears to have a milky, yellow color as opposed to a normal, light yellow. If you notice you have consistently foamy urine, contact your healthcare provider for evaluation, as it could be a sign of kidney problems.

Is cloudy urine smelly?

Urine odor can change and it is harmless and temporary in most cases. Your diet or any vitamins or minerals that you are taking can change the odor in your urine. For example, asparagus causes a strong odor in urine, as well as vitamin B-6 supplements. Staying hydrated can prevent a strong odor, and also helps prevent occasional cloudy urine. If your urine odor persists for more than a few days, contact your healthcare provider.

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A note from Cleveland Clinic

In most cases, cloudy urine is harmless due to natural changes that your body goes through. Normally, it goes away quickly when you stay hydrated and incorporate a healthy diet into your daily routine. Reach out to your healthcare provider if you notice the cloudiness of your urine is not clearing up after a few days.

Urine Colors Explained

The color of your urine changes with your hydration level but may also change due to pigments in your food or while taking medication. Certain color changes may signal a health condition that needs medical attention.

Doctors refer to the standard color of your urine as “urochrome.” Urine naturally carries a yellow pigment. When you’re staying hydrated, your urine will be a light yellow, close-to-clear color.

If you’re getting dehydrated, you’ll notice that your urine is becoming a deep amber or even light brown.

Sometimes your urine color can be a sign of a health condition that you need to address.

Urine colors can vary depending on what you eat, any medications you’re taking, and how much water you drink. Many of these colors fall on the spectrum of what “normal” urine can look like, but there are cases where unusual urine colors may be a cause for concern.

Clear urine

Clear urine indicates that you’re drinking more than the daily recommended amount of water.

While being hydrated is a good thing, drinking too much water can rob your body of electrolytes. Urine that occasionally looks clear is no reason to panic, but urine that’s always clear could indicate that you need to cut back on how much water you’re drinking.

Clear urine can also indicate liver problems like cirrhosis and viral hepatitis. If you’re not consuming large amounts of water and have ongoing clear urine, you should see your doctor.

Yellowish to amber urine

The color of “typical” urine falls on the spectrum of light yellow to a deeper amber color. The urochrome pigment that’s naturally in your urine becomes more diluted as you drink water.

Urochrome is produced by your body breaking down hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen in your red blood cells. In most situations, the color of your urine will depend on how diluted this pigment is.

Having a lot of B-vitamins in your bloodstream can also cause urine to appear neon yellow.

Red or pink urine

Foods. Urine may look red or pink if you eat fruits with naturally deep pink or magenta pigments, like:

Medical conditions. While urine that’s red or pink might be from something you ate recently, there are sometimes other causes. Some health conditions can cause blood to appear in your urine, a symptom known as hematuria, including:

  • enlarged prostate
  • kidney stones
  • tumors in the bladder and kidney

Medications. Medications that may turn your urine a reddish or pink hue include senna or senna-containing laxatives, phenazopyridine (Pyridium), and the antibiotic rifampin (Rifadin).

Speak with a doctor if you’re ever concerned about blood in your urine.

Orange urine

Dehydration. If your urine appears orange, it could be a symptom of dehydration.

Medical conditions. If you have urine that’s orange in addition to light-colored stools, bile may be getting into your bloodstream because of issues with your bile ducts or liver. Adult-onset jaundice can also cause orange urine.

Medications. Medications that can cause your urine to look orange may include phenazopyridine (Pyridium), the anti-inflammatory drug sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), and chemotherapy drugs.

Blue or green urine

In general, blue urine is rare and most likely connected to something in your diet.

Food. Blue or green urine can be caused by food coloring, especially a dye called methylene blue. This dye is in many types of candy and some medications.

Medications. Medications that can cause blue or green urine include cimetidine (Tagamet), amitriptyline, indomethacin (Indocin), promethazine (Phenergan), and B vitamin supplements.

Medical procedures. It can also be the result of dyes used in medical tests performed on your kidneys or bladder.

Medical conditions. The pseudomonas aeruginosa bacterial infection can also cause your urine to turn blue, green, or even indigo purple.

A condition called familial benign hypercalcemia can also cause blue or green urine. Low to moderate calcium levels may appear in your urine and change its color when you have this condition. Many people with this genetic condition don’t have symptoms that they notice.

Dark brown urine

In most cases, urine that’s dark brown indicates dehydration.

Medications. Dark brown urine can also be a side effect of certain medications, including metronidazole (Flagyl) and nitrofurantoin (Furadantin), chloroquine (Aralen), cascara or senna-based laxatives, and methocarbamol.

Foods. Eating large amounts of rhubarb, aloe, or fava beans can cause dark brown urine.

Medical conditions. A condition called porphyria can cause a buildup of the natural chemicals in your bloodstream and cause rusty or brown urine. Dark brown urine can also be an indicator of liver disease, as it can be caused by bile getting into your urine.

Exercise. Intense physical activity, especially running, can cause dark brown urine, known as exertional hematuria. This isn’t considered unusual. When your urine is dark because of exercise, it’ll typically resolve with some rest within a few hours. If you frequently see dark brown urine after exercise, or if your urine doesn’t return to normal after 48 hours, you should speak with a doctor about possible underlying causes.

Cloudy urine

Medical conditions. Cloudy urine can be a sign of a urinary tract infection. It can also be a symptom of some chronic diseases and kidney conditions. In some cases, cloudy urine is another sign of being dehydrated.

If you have cloudy urine and you’re pregnant, it could be a sign of a dangerous condition called preeclampsia. You should get in touch with your healthcare professional right away and let them know if you develop cloudy or bubbly urine during pregnancy.

Cloudy urine with foam or bubbles is called pneumaturia. This can be a symptom of serious health conditions, including Crohn’s disease or diverticulitis.

There are some cases where urine is foamy, and doctors can’t determine the cause.

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Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for his studies of ageing, genetics and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics NAS of Ukraine. His scientific researches are printed by the most reputable international magazines. Some of his works are: Differences in the gut Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio across age groups in healthy Ukrainian population [BiomedCentral.com]; Mating status affects Drosophila lifespan, metabolism and antioxidant system [Science Direct]; Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Increases Lifespan, Stress Resistance, and Metabolism by Affecting Free Radical Processes in Drosophila [Frontiersin].
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