Cloudy urine is the turbidity of the urine with a cloudy appearance, that shows a brown, red, white, yellow or dark urine. Usually, it is normal or caused by urine infection, mixed with crystals, blood, bacteria, mucus, pus, free fat globules, epithelial cells or white blood cells in urine.
It has many causes. Some of them are so serious that it is important to understand when you need a medical attention.
The reason why it is cloudy is that there are many substances present in your urine. These substances are insoluble, or original soluble but separate out from the urine through crystallization. They are suspend in your urine or deposited at the bottom of the urine (vessel). So, it looks cloudy, thick, or milky.
Is it Normal
Normal, freshly emptied urine is clear and no obscuring impurities. After a few hours, cloudy matters, which consist of electrolyte salts, mucus and desquamated epithelial cells, separate from urine to lead to cloudy appearance.
In many cases, it is a harmless phenomenon which is caused by salts (crystals) that are insoluble in the cooling urine and therefore precipitated (whitish to pinkish). These harmless reactions are mainly from the food, drink, medications, supplements, vitamins, also associated with prolonged standing and excessive exercise.
The length of residence time of urine already excreted and urine cooling are the two main factors for this condition as a result of precipitation of salts.
Eating too much or taking excessive exercise may make your urine be not clear due to overactive metabolism:
The fresh urine with cloudy appearance can appear, when people eat too much meat or vegetables or take excessive exercise. That will cause overactive metabolism, so that a lot of calcium/magnesium and oxalate/phosphate are excreted and precipitated (by chemical reaction), to make urine cloudy (crystalluria).
Drinking lots of milk is also one of the harmless causes to affect some people with cloudy urine.
Drinking water too little (dehydration) is also a cause. That often occurs at night when sleeping and may lead to cloudy urine in the morning. As a result, urine may be turbidity, and the color is deepened.
Most of the urine salts precipitation with innocuous causes
After prolonged standing, strenuous exercises, urine cooling or in the cold, it often occurs as a result of precipitation of salts.
Normal Physiological Phenomenon
Cloudy urine in men can be due to semen mixing with urine when retrograde ejaculation. In women, this harmless cause can be vaginal discharge mixing with urine. People may see it once in a while, but not every time they urinate.
Causes Associated With Health Conditions
Urinary tract infections (UTI), such as bladder infection and kidneys infection, are the common causes of this condition. Urinary tract infection can be primary.
Other causes result from kidney failure, excess uric acid in the blood, kidney damage, bladder cancer, hemolytic anemia, prostatitis, diabetes, or even as a part of infection which affects the body as a whole.
What are the Symptoms?
The clinical manifestations include the following aspects: urine appearance (color, opacity), urine odor, other accompanying urinary symptoms, and even the body temperature or blood pressure.
The urine appears red, white, yellow, or dark in color. Red color is mainly observed in blood in urine, or eating carrots or evergreens. Dark or tea-colored urine is due to the bilirubin or hemoglobin in the urine, and often seen in cases with hemolytic disease and jaundice. White color indicates that it is usually caused by crystals in urine and UTI. Yellow color shows that it’s a result of bilirubin in urine, which results from dehydration and jaundice.
The odor comes from volatile acids and esters in the urine. The fresh cloudy urine with smelly odor is a symptom of chronic bacterial cystitis (bladder infection) and chronic urinary retention.
Urinary Tract Symptoms
When you are having this condition, some other symptoms may also be present as the accompanying symptoms:
- Frequent urination
- Painful urination
- Burning during urination
- Burning after urination
- Urgent urination and A feeling of urgency
- Renal colic (severe kidney pain)
- Full bladder
- Infectious fever
- Lower abdominal pain
- Lumbar back pain
These symptoms are often caused by urinary tract infections or stones (kidney, bladder, urethra, prostate), as well as tumors.
Diabetes-induced turbid urine occurs with red or white cloudy appearance, as well as accompanied with above-mentioned urinary symptoms, or renal failure symptoms, excessive urination, high protein in urine and high blood pressure.
Urine cloudy due to malignant hypertension is often blood in urine.
Although you may be very worried about the your cloudy urine, in fact, in most cases it is with harmless causes. If in doubt, the cause must be clarified by a urine test.