Cloudy urine: Causes, symptoms, and treatments

By: Bel Marra Health | General Health | Friday, July 15, 2016 - 01:00 PM

Cloudy urine: Causes, symptoms, and treatmentsHaving cloudy urine is not unusual and, in many cases, it is no reason for alarm. However, it just might be a sign of an underlying health condition.

Healthy urine is clear and light yellow in color. Unhealthy urine can be cloudy, hazy, or milky looking. This can occur for a number of different reasons, including sexually transmitted diseases, dehydration, infections, or diseases that affect other body systems along with the urinary tract. While cloudy urine in men does happen, women get it more often since their bodies lend itself to E. coli forming in the bladder.

In the majority of situations, cloudy urine is a sign of a urinary tract infection (UTI). Urinary tract infections are the second most common type of infection people get. Over eight million visits to healthcare providers each year are due to UTIs.

Cloudy urine with odor is possible. This can be alarming and can happen in all age groups. Many people experience cloudy urine with no pain, while others feel a burning sensation when they urinate.

All of the symptoms you might experience along with the cloudy, hazy appearance of urine should be described in detail to a physician for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Cloudy urine causes and symptoms

Symptoms vary depending on the cloudy urine causes. Signs of a problem can originate in the urinary tract, the reproductive system, the endocrine system, the cardiovascular system, as well as other organs.

Since urinary tract infections are so common, here we list some possible symptoms:

Here are some symptoms that could indicate something other than a UTI is the problem.

  • Excessive hunger
  • Fever
  • High blood pressure
  • Stiffness in joints
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Swelling in legs, arms, face, and possibly the abdomen
  • Dehydration
  • Swelling of lymph nodes
  • Vaginal or penile discharge
  • Unexpected weight loss or weight gain

Some people panic the second they notice that they have cloudy urine. Cloudy urine during pregnancy is one example of that, but it is often nothing to worry about.

Here are some other possible causes of cloudy urine in the general population:

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney problems
  • Inflammation or infection of the prostate gland
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension and heart failure
  • Certain autoimmune diseases
  • Heat exposure or dehydration
  • Diabetes
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma

Cloudy urine with strong odor

People with high blood ketone levels that are on a low-carb diet or perhaps fasting, as well as those who have difficulty controlling diabetes can have urine with an odor. With ketone, a sweet, acetone-like odor in the urine can be detected.

Cloudy urine with odor can also be a sign of dehydration, especially if it smells like ammonia. If you have a urinary tract infection or when you are pregnant, your cloudy urine can also be foul smelling.

Keep in mind that normal looking urine can also have an unusual odor from time to time. This is due to food consumption. Beer, garlic, and coffee are a few examples of foods that tend to give urine a strong odor.

Cloudy urine in men and women

It’s no secret that men and women are made different, so how urine becomes cloudy for each of the sexes is naturally different. After sex, some sperm can remain in the urethra and cause bubbles to form froth on the surface of the urine in the toilet bowl when urinating. In a healthy male, the sperm, which finds its way into the urethra, usually clears within minutes.

An enlarged prostate, a prostate infection, prostate cancer, epididymitis (swelling of the scrotum), and sexually transmitted diseases are some of the main reasons for cloudy urine in men.

Women can experience cloudy urine in pregnancy, but also due to sexually transmitted diseases, yeast infections, or endometriosis, which is uterine tissue in the bladder.

Most doctors report that both men and women tend to assume a urinary tract infection is what they have when symptoms first appear. It is important to be properly assessed to determine if it is a UTI or something else.

Cloudy urine during pregnancy

Cloudy urine during pregnancy can be due to various factors. For example, it can just be a sign that your hormones are changing. This usually occurs early in the pregnancy. A sudden change in your diet during pregnancy can also have an impact on your urine. Cloudy urine in early pregnancy can also indicate a urinary tract infection. Pregnant women normally urinate more, and it could be a case of not urinating frequently enough. It is also possible that discharge, which is common during pregnancy, mixes with the urine, hence its hazy appearance.

Cloudy urine in pregnancy does become an issue if it is related to proteinuria. This happens when urine contains high protein concentrations and is an early sign of preeclampsia.

About two to four percent of women develop urinary tract infections when they are pregnant. Abdominal discomfort, including slight pain in the pelvic region, may by indicative of a UTI. Treatment under the close supervision of a doctor is crucial to clear up the infection.

How to treat cloudy urine?

If your urine is cloudy and has an odor due to your diet, the solution is simple. Stop eating the foods that cause the odor. When cloudy urine is caused by a urinary tract infection or bladder infection, it is normally treated with antibiotics and clears up in a couple of weeks.

Cloudy urine due to kidney stones is fairly common and is treated with pain medications to lessen the discomfort. When the stones don’t pass naturally, a specialist can break them up with an ultrasound treatment or shock wave so you can pass them.

Proteinuria is often a sign of high blood pressure and in the case of pregnancy it requires careful treatment. In some cases, bed rest and medications to lower blood pressure are recommended.

There are many possible causes of cloudy urine and, therefore, treatment varies. If you constantly have cloudy urine, pain, or blood, you should seek medical attention immediately. It could be something that requires a quick fix or it could be a sign of an underlying health issue that needs longer-term care.

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