Why Is Your Urine Cloudy?

If you notice that your urine looks cloudy instead of its usual clear, yellowish color, it could be due to infections, kidney stones, or other changes in your health. Sometimes pain or other symptoms go along with it. The sooner you learn the cause, the quicker you can get the treatment you need.

Urinary Tract Infection

A urinary tract infection (UTI) happens when bacteria get into your bladder, kidneys, or urethra. That's where urine comes out. Along with cloudy urine, you'll notice symptoms like:

  • Burning or pain when you pee
  • A need to go more often than usual
  • Leaking urine
  • Smelly or bloody urine
  • Pain in your lower belly

Your doctor will likely suggest antibiotics to clear up the infection. Finish all the pills that he prescribes to make sure all the bacteria get killed.

Call your doctor if you:

  • Get a fever higher than 100.5 F
  • Have chills
  • Feel pain in your lower belly or flank
  • Are nauseated or throw up

Dehydration

Your urine can turn cloudy when you don't drink enough. A lack of fluid makes urine more concentrated. It will also turn a darker color.

You can solve this problem by drinking more water every day. When you get enough fluids, your urine will be clear and light yellow in color.

Call your doctor if you:

  • Feel dizzy or faint
  • Get confused
  • Have a fast heartbeat
  • Are breathing hard

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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:

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

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.

Retrograde Ejaculation

Normally when a man has an orgasm, semen travels out of his body through his penis. In retrograde ejaculation, semen backs up into the bladder. This causes a dry orgasm without any fluid. The urine is cloudy right after an orgasm because it contains semen.

Retrograde ejaculation happens when the muscle at the opening of the bladder doesn't close tightly enough. Nerve problems from diabetes, multiple sclerosis (MS), or medicines are possible causes.

You may not need treatment for this condition, unless you want to start a family and you can't get your partner pregnant. Your doctor can suggest medicines to keep your bladder closed during sex.

Call your doctor if little or no semen comes out when you have an orgasm and you want to have a child.

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Blood in the Urine

Cloudiness is sometimes due to blood in the urine. Blood can stain the yellow urine red, pink, or brown.

Blood in your urine could mean you have a UTI, kidney stones, or an enlarged prostate. Rarely, it can be a sign of cancer in your urinary tract. See your doctor to get this symptom checked out.

Call your doctor if your urine looks red or pink, especially if you also have pain, fever, or other symptoms.

Prostate Problems

The prostate gland adds fluid to sperm in men. This gland wraps around the urethra, the tube that urine travels through as it moves out of the body.

Any swelling of the prostate can block the flow of urine. Blood or debris can then build up in the trapped urine and turn it cloudy.

When urine is cloudy due to prostate problems, you might also have symptoms like:

Your treatment depends on what's causing the problem. You may get medicines to treat an infection or to shrink your swollen prostate.

Call your doctor if:

  • You have to pee all the time
  • You get up during the night to pee
  • When you pee, urine dribbles out
  • You see blood in your pee or semen
  • It hurts when you pee or have an orgasm
  • You have pain in your lower back, hips, groin, or upper thighs

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Minesh Khatri, MD on April 25, 2019

Sources

SOURCES:

Familydoctor.org: "Common Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)," "Dehydration," "Urinary Tract Infection."

Harvard Medical School: "Changes in Urine -- When to see the doctor," "Kidney Stones," "Retrograde Ejaculation."

Mayo Clinic: "Kidney Stones," "Prostatitis," "Retrograde ejaculation," "Urine color."

Mount Sinai Medical Center: "Cloudy Urine."

National Institute on Aging: "Prostate Problems."

National Kidney Foundation: "Kidney Stones."

National Health Service (UK): "Blood in urine," "Urinary tract infections (UTIs)."

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: "The Urinary Tract & How It Works."

University of Washington Medicine, Right as Rain: "What the Color of Your Pee Says About Your Health."

Urology Care Foundation: "What are Kidney Stones?"

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