Normal urine may elicit a wide variety of colors ranging from clear and transparent like water to dark amber. The cloudiness and color of urine is often dependent on the levels of ammonia and hydration in the body. Cloudy urine is typically observed in the mornings due to reduction of fluid levels in the body over the course of the night.
Cloudy urine usually occurs as a symptom of some kind of underling infection or ailment, though it may also occur due to harmless causes such as forceful urination. However, when cloudy urine is accompanied by other adverse symptoms such as pain during urination, increased frequency and urge to pass urine, and burning sensations when passing urine, etc., then it is most often caused due to some underlying infection.
Causes of cloudy urine
Some of the common causes of cloudy urine in men, women, and/or during pregnancy along with the associated signs and symptoms are listed below:
- Excessive phosphate crystals content in urine: It is one of the most prevalent causes of cloudy urine. Milky or cloudy nature of urine occurs due to elimination of high amounts of phosphate crystals along with urine. It usually occurs after the take of large meals consisting of asparagus, beet, berries, orange juice, milk products and milk, especially before going to bed. The condition is harmless and does not require any medical treatment. In this case, cloudy urine typically clears out on its own in 2 to 3 days.
- Dehydration: In addition to a variety of health conditions, dehydration can also cause cloudy urine. Lack of water content in the body can occur due varied reasons such as deficient intake of water, excessive perspiration, vigorous workouts, etc. Drink lots of water and juices rich in electrolytes to alleviate and prevent dehydration.
- UTI/urinary tract infections: Pyelonephritis and other infections of the urinary tract can result in cloudy and pus-filled urine, more so in men. Women may also suffer from UTIs and cloudy urine during pregnancy. People with pyelonephritis may experience burning sensations or flank pain during urination, fever, and increased desire to urinate frequently.
- Vaginal discharge: Clear and non-smelly vaginal discharge during pregnancy is usually considered as healthy. However, when there is smelly or abnormal vaginal discharge along with cloudy urine, then it may be caused due to some underlying medical condition. Affected women need to seek immediate medical attention for diagnosis and relevant treatment.
- Bladder infections: Cystitis and other types of bladder infections can also give rise to cloudy urine. In this case, the cloudy appearance of urine is primarily due to the occurrence of WBCs in urine. Affected people may experience burning sensations or sharp pain during urination, frequent urination, chills, and fever, etc.
- Intake of vitamin supplements: The appearance of urine can also change due to increased intake of water soluble vitamin supplements like vitamin C and B. Only limited quantity of these vitamins get stored in the body, while the rest gets eliminated along with urine, thereby giving it a cloudy look.
- Proteinuria: It is condition marked by increased amounts of protein in urine, which in turn causes the urine to become cloudy. Women may suffer from proteinuria and subsequent cases of cloudy urine during the 2nd and 3rd If proteinuria occurs along with hypertension during pregnancy then it can result in severe health complications. Hence, all women who experience cloudy urine/proteinuria during pregnancy need to immediately consult a doctor.
- Gonorrhea and other STDs: Gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted diseases marked by increased concentration of bacteria in urine can cause alterations in urine color and texture. Both, male and female patients may experience cloudy urine along with other associated symptoms
- Preeclampsia: It is a serious illness which may affect women during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of a pregnancy. Affected women may experience albuminuria, chronic high blood pressure, and fluid retention along with cloudy urine during pregnancy. The cloudy nature of urine is due to albuminuria, a condition characterized by release of proteins in urine.
- Other causes: Cloudy urine may also occur due to prostatitis or prostate gland inflammation; kidney stones; a combination of hormonal fluctuations, dietary modifications and other factors during pregnancy; mucus in urine; side effects of medicines; food allergies; and bilharzia, i.e., infection by genus schistosoma parasite.
Treatment of cloudy urine
Treatment of cloudy urine is dependent on the cause. In most cases, cloudy urine usually resolves on its own after a few days. For example, cloudy urine caused due to intake of certain kinds of foods tend to clear out in a few days.
If the condition persists, or if cloudy urine is accompanied by severe and numerous other symptoms, then patients must immediately seek medical attention. Also, as cloudy urine is a symptom of some kind of underlying abnormality, pregnant women need to seek immediate medical attention instead of waiting for a day or two for cloudy urine to disappear. This is because underlying conditions, if any, can have a direct effect on the growing fetus. Urinary tract infections and other kinds of underlying infections can be easily and effectively treated without any side effects if they are detected in the early stages.
- Doctors may prescribe antibiotics for treating bacterial infections. Pain killers may be given to alleviate any discomfort or pain experienced during urination.
- Patients are recommended to drink lots of water and keep the body sufficiently hydrated at all times. Maintaining proper personal hygiene is also advised as a preventive measure.
Mild or infrequent/rare instances of cloudy urine can be treated via the below listed home remedies. It is advisable to first consult a doctor and rule out any severe underlying causes before going for the home remedies.
- Minor cases of urinary tract infections can be treated with apple cider vinegar.
- Drinking cranberry juice many times in a day can help alleviate the cloudy nature of urine.
- Cloudy urine can be also treated drinking coriander seed solution. To prepare the solution, boil some water and put coriander seeds in it and continue to boil for some time. Later, after the solution has cooled down, strain it and drink 2 ounces of the solution, at least 2 times a day.