Cloudy Urine: Causes, Treatments, and What Does It Mean
They say eyes are windows to your soul and urine is the widow to your health. Your urine may reveal a lot about your health status.
From maintaining fluid and salt balance to detoxing your body, urine plays a crucial role in your well-being. Knowledge of physiology helps us differentiate between normal and abnormal and develop a better relationship with ourselves.
Does your urine smell funny, have a weird colour or appear cloudy?
While cloudy urine may be fairly common the causes may be quite overlapping and varied.
Let’s discuss the possible causes of cloudy urine.
What causes Cloudy Urine?
Urine is a naturally straw-coloured fluid. It is produced in the kidneys by the filtration of the blood at the level of nephrons and gets collected in the bladder via the ureters from where it is excreted through the urethra. The normal pH of our urine is acidic.
However, due to certain metabolic disturbances or any pathology of the urinary system, it may often turn alkaline. So to answer “ why is my urine cloudy” the reasons may range from kidney diseases and lymphatic disorders to urinary tract infections. Let’s take a closer look at the relevant causes of cloudy urine.
Dehydration results in higher urine concentration and thereby altering the colour of the fluid. If you notice cloudy urine without pain, it may be indicative of dehydration.
So if you haven’t been hydrating yourself enough it’s high time to go back to that habit. Keep a bottle of water when you sit down to work. Visual training increases your tendency to drink more water.
UTI( Urinary Tract Infection)
Based on statistics from the U.S. Health and Human Services, females are more likely than males to get UTIs. Approximately 50–60% of women will experience a UTI during their lifetime. Increased bacterial load and byproducts in your urine, resulting from a urinary tract infection may cause painful urination accompanied by cloudy urine.
Urine analysis of patients suffering from UTI often shows crystalline substances that render a misty appearance to the urine. It is a fairly common occurrence in pregnant women leading to preterm birth and low infant weight.
According to current stats about 5 % of the population suffers from kidney diseases. Often times it is found in combination with a urinary tract infection so it becomes difficult to locate the exact aetiology. In the case of Kidney infection pus may be found during urine analysis attributes to the cloudy appearance.
In the case of Cystitis commonly known as kidney stone, there is intense pain often accompanied by bladder infection-like symptoms. This happens because often when the stones pass, they injure the inner walls of the ureter thereby leading to an infection.
Certain diseases like diabetes, nephritis and hypertension may lead to excessive protein loss in urine that may result in the unnatural appearance of urine.
Can urine be cloudy without an infection? Yes, often diet may influence your urine.
Phosphaturia is a condition that may occur due to dietary imbalances like the consumption of excessive milk. The excess phosphorus gets excreted in the urine.
Sexually transmitted diseases occur due to a lack of protection during coitus/ sexual intercourse. The most common among them are Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. While the average number of Chlamydia cases per 100,000 people in London is 2,200 as per current stats.
The greatest prevalence is found in the adolescent age group. Both of the diseases affect the genital organs and cause pus discharge which might be mixed with urine and cause cloudy urine.
Cloudy urine accompanied by pain during sex, vaginal discharge, and mild spotting may be due to vaginal infections. It is commonly caused by bacterial and fungal organisms like trichomonas and yeast.
As Mount Sinai Medical Center explains, prostate cancer or prostate enlargement in its late stages may cause cloudy urine.
Has your urine colour changed after starting a particular drug course? If you have doubts, look up the symptoms and side effects of that particular drug and see if your issue is listed among them.
Pregnancy is a highly sensitive period and the body often struggles with infections, poor immunity and associated problems due to hormonal imbalance. Conditions like gestational hypertension, pre-eclampsia and vaginal discharge are common reasons that result in cloudy urine in pregnant women.
How to treat Cloudy Urine?
Cloudy urine is not a disease in itself. It is just a symptom of an underlying pathology. So how do we get rid of cloudy urine? By eliminating the cause and maintaining proper hydration levels. Here are the top 3 remedies for cloudy urine
- Rehydration- The most common and effective way to treat this anomaly is to restore your water levels by rehydration. You may also opt for citrus juices like lemonade or orange juice that are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. These will help you heal from infections and wounds faster. Vitamin C is also responsible for maintaining the pH levels of urine and blood,
- Eating a balanced diet- If you do not have any additional symptoms like dehydration, pain or infection, note if your diet has any item that might not be responsible for the cloudy urine and opt for a balanced diet.
- Medication- If rehydration doesn’t work and your symptom continues, it is advisable that you visit your physician and opt for a urine analysis and urine culture. Based on the reports you may opt for antibiotics targeting the particular bacterial group. If the urine culture reveals no bacterial presence the next test would be to analyse urine for the presence of protein as noted in diabetics and chronic kidney disease patients. In case of non-diagnosis, physicians opt for pelvic/kidney/prostrate ultrasound followed by CT to get a better idea of the source of the problem.
- Acupuncture- Research has shown that acupuncture may lead to reduced amounts of residual urine, thus leading to a less frequent occurrence of lower UTIs and cloudy urine
- Probiotics- Probiotics establish and maintain healthy gut microflora which fights infection-causing bacteria and regulates excretory processes.
- L-arginine- This amino acid enhances urine flow rate and fights bacteria when converted into nitrous oxide. This dual mechanism helps explain the efficacy of L-arginine when it comes to reducing cloudy urine.
- Good sexual hygiene- Maintaining good sexual hygiene not only makes sex safer and more enjoyable, it also severely diminishes your chances of acquiring STDs and UTIs, thereby leading to fewer episodes of cloudy urine.
How to Prevent Cloudy Urine?
According to physicians, the best way to treat cloudy urine is to have plenty of water and maintain a balanced diet. In case the symptoms continue to persist you should immediately seek medical help.
Foods to avoid that may cause Cloudy Urine
Unfortunately, even in the absence of underlying health conditions, some foods may cause us to develop cloudy urine. So what kinds of foods are guilty of causing cloudy urine?
The scientific literature suggests that alcohol and acidic foods are the primary culprits. Think beer, wine, citrus fruits, soft drinks, vinegar and even coffee. Spicy foods are accomplices as well.
A compound known as Arylalkylamine is present in several everyday foods ranging from bananas to nuts, onions and even mayo. Foods rich in Arylalkylamine may increase symptoms of a possible bladder infection and cloudy urine.
Here is a list of items to avoid if you are having cloudy urine –
All the chips, processed and canned food high in salt combined with low water intake may result in dehydration and cloudy urine.
Processed beverages like juices and sodas and desserts are rich in refined sugar that might cause excess production of uric acid thereby leading to cloudy urine.
Meat & Fish
Meat contains high levels of phosphorus. Processed meat is high in salt content hence consumption of processed meat leads to higher levels of salt and phosphorus in the blood which gets excreted in urine making it appear cloudy. Certain seafood like sardines, anchovies and shellfish are rich in purines which produce uric acid leading to discoloured urine.
Be it your morning cup of green tea, evening cup of coffee or nighttime glass of wine. Excess consumption of beverages may lead to dehydration.
However, it is important to mention that none of these food items, if consumed in moderation should cause cloudy urine. If the symptom persists despite looking into your diet you should consult your doctor.
When Should You See a Doctor?
If you have cloudy urine that lasts more than a few days, you should contact your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment, particularly if you have other symptoms.
Call your doctor right away if cloudy urine is followed by intense discomfort and/or blood. Blood in your urine for any reason, as well as any irregular urine colour that isn’t explained by prescription or diet, should always be checked out by your doctor.
To figure out what’s causing your cloudy urine, your doctor may perform a urinalysis, urine culture, imaging, or other tests.
Cloudy urine may be caused by a variety of illnesses, including urinary tract infections (UTIs) and mild dehydration. To avoid problems, early identification and treatment are critical in cases where other symptoms emerge. Make a list of any other symptoms you notice and tell your doctor about them. This could help identify the diagnosis and treatment options. Most people may clear up the underlying reason for hazy urine by working with a doctor and following their instructions.