A cloudy urine is usually a harmless phenomenon that arises from salts that become insoluble in the cooling urine and therefore fail (whitish to pink clouding).
A cloudy urine can also be an expression of a urinary tract infection (white blood cells, bacteria, fungi, pus in the urine – whitish clouding) or caused by blood in the urine (reddish to red-brown clouding).
Less often, other cells or fats cause (whitish) clouding. In case of doubt, the cause of the cloudiness must be clarified by examining the urine (test strips, microscope).
The urine status
The assessment of the color and turbidity of the urine is an integral part of the so-called urine status.
The urinary status is not a precisely defined term. This means the collection of a number of routine urine findings.
Today a urine status mostly consists of the following examinations
Appraisal of appearance (and possibly smell)
Test strip examination
Examination of the urine in the microscope
If a urinary tract infection is suspected, a special examination for bacteria can be carried out, a so-called bacterial culture (in laboratory jargon “a result”).
When is a urine status performed?
As a routine check-up for screening (healthy check-up)
When admitted to hospital
If you suspect kidney disease or diseases of the urinary tract (ureter, bladder, urethra)
With signs of inflammation/fever of unknown cause
A targeted examination of the urine can also be useful for many other diseases.
Cloudy urine usually has harmless causes
Because cloudy urine is often very unsettling, it should be said in advance: in the majority of cases cloudy urine has harmless causes, which are discussed in more detail below.
Every person has to urinate about eight times a day, and up to two liters of urine leaves the body. Urine is 95 percent water, the rest are metabolites that cannot be used or are harmful. Ideally, urine is crystal clear and light yellow. Changes in urine can be a sign of various health problems. Therefore, pay attention to the following changes in urine:
1. Visible blood in the urine, i.e. red streaks
This can indicate a pronounced inflammation. If there is additional pain when urinating, it is probably a bladder infection. Also kidney infections or kidney stones can cause blood in the urine. Other possible, but rarer causes: kidney or prostate cancer and bladder cancer, which is common among smokers.
2. Brown discoloration
This can be old blood. Inflammation of the bladder or kidney disease are also possible causes. However, brown urine can also be a symptom of liver dysfunction (cirrhosis, hepatitis), bile (gallstones), or pancreas (pancreatitis).
3. Intense yellowing
Common with bladder infections and kidney problems.
If the urine foams when urinating, it usually means: too much protein in the urine. So one of the kidneys is not working properly. The cause of this dysfunction can be kidney tumors, diabetes, but also high blood pressure . Physical exercise, such as exercise, can be a harmless cause. In this case, the foam stops appearing a few hours after exercising.
The urine bubbles a little. The cause is air bubbles in the urine. They are usually formed by a bladder-intestinal fistula. This is a small, tubular connection between the bladder and the intestine. These fistulas are the result of inflammation and sometimes form as part of a chronic inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
6. Cloudy urine flakes and cloudiness
This can not only be signs of urinary tract infection. Venereal diseases such as gonorrhea (gonorrhea) can also show this symptom.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. Bad smell
This is a harmless symptom if you have eaten asparagus. If his aspartic acid is metabolized, the penetrating smelling substances remain and are excreted in the urine. However, if you haven’t eaten asparagus, smelly urine is usually a sign of a bacterial urinary tract infection.
10. Fruity smell, additionally with a sweet note
This can indicate diabetes. The body tries to get rid of the excess sugar in the urine.
11. Sweet smell and taste
Nobody should be advised to taste urine today. In fact, tasting, smelling, and looking at the urine used to be part of the so-called “urine show”, an important diagnostic tool in the Middle Ages. But if urine smells very sweet and probably tastes that way too, you may be pregnant. It is primarily not an alarm sign. Conspicuously sweet urine can also indicate gestational diabetes and should, therefore, be clarified by a doctor.
The advice to go to the doctor applies in principle to all the signs mentioned. But primarily at
Blood in urine,
brown urine and
These are real warning signals that need to be examined medically as soon as possible.
The following changes in urine are mostly harmless :
As clear as water, but no yellowing – you probably drank a lot.
Clear, but more yellow – on the contrary, you have drunk too little. In the morning, too, the urine is usually a little darker if you didn’t have to use the toilet at night. The urine is then somewhat thickened, so to speak, so concentrated. If the kidneys and bladder are flushed out again during the day, the stronger yellow coloring is lost.
Bright yellow color – often arises from taking vitamins, especially B vitamins.
Rebecca Marie, MA, LMHC, LPC, MAA is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and is an expert in anxiety, stress, depression, and relationship issues.