What does cloudy urine mean?
Normal vs. cloudy
What makes urine cloudy?
What could cause cloudy urine?
Other causes of cloudy urine
The normal healthy urine is light yellowish in color. Other colors may be due to the food eaten or the medicines prescribed. Cloudy urine has yet a large number or causes which are all underlying medical conditions.
Leukocytes also called white blood cells are a part of our immune system. In response to infections they are released and they destroy any foreign bodies or invaders. Eventually they die and are filtered out. These dead leukocytes pass out along with the urine. Usually every time they pass along with the urine in small numbers.
But sometimes in certain conditions they may be expelled in larger concentrations which may make the urine appear cloudy. It is important to pay attention since the urine will not appear cloudy without any underlying cause. Urinalysis help reveal the level of leukocytes. Some forms of testing such as chemical analysis with a dip stick, microscopic examination and visual inspection help identify the components of urine,
Cloudy urine could be a symptom for other health issues such as diabetes, kidney failure, heart disease, and preeclampsia.
Pyelonephritis is a condition in which the kidney becomes infected with bacteria. In this condition the white blood cells along with the bacteria end up in the urine. Also other symptoms such as nausea, fever, vomiting, flank pain and malaise occurs. Women using catheters and having compromised immune system are at a greater risk of kidney infection. Analysis of urine shows white blood cell, nitrites and bacteria in the urine. Depending on the severity there could be presence of hemoglobin too.
They are on of the major cause. In kidney stone, crystals are formed in the kidney. When these crystals are washed down the urinary tract the sharp edges tear the walls of the urinary tract. In the due process of repairing the damage other materials may enter the urinary tract which when passed along with the urine may make the urine cloudy. Intense pain is the first symptom of kidney stone.
When foreign objects, trauma, kidney or bladder stone obstruct the urinary tract it causes urinary blockage. It obstructs the flow of urine and irritates the tissues that are surrounding. In response to this irritation white blood cells are released and these leukocytes then end up in the urine along with the blood. This condition may occur in men and women equally. Difficulty urinating and severe flank pain are some other symptoms. Urinalysis will show leukocytes and hemoglobin. Normally nitrites are not found.
Many changes occur in the body of women during pregnancy. One such change is asymptomatic bacteriuria which is the potential proliferation of bacteria in the urinary tract. In almost 2-10 percent of pregnancies it may occur and it does not show any symptoms. Urinalysis during pregnancy is likely to show bacteria, leukocytes and nitrites. Other reasons for these leukocytes to appear in the urine could be because of increased vaginal secretion that can get mixed with the urine.
Sometimes in pregnancy as the body flushes our more nutrients and compounds the urine may appear cloudy. But as soon as the pregnancy has terminated this urine should regain its clear consistency.
Urinary tract infection
Sometimes the bacteria from outside enters the body and grows back from the urinary tract to the kidneys. The body’s immune system and the process of urination attempt to inhibit the growth of bacteria. The waste products, bacteria and the chemicals used by the immune system to fight against the bacteria get passed along with the urine which may give it a cloudy appearance. Symptoms include painful urination, itching.
Urinary tract infection occurs when the bacteria through the urethra invades the urinary bladder which then results in an infection. This is a more serious case since it can give rise to other health problems. The symptoms include urge to urinate frequently, pain above the groin area, bladder spasms. Women are more prone to UTIs than men because of the shorter urethra. A urinalysis would likely show bacteria, nitrites and leukocytes. The causes of urinary tract infection should be sexual interiors, wearing dirty underwear, improper wiping. All these increase the risk of UTI.
This condition causes inflammation of the bladder and pain in the pelvis between the anus and scrotum/ vagina. Other symptoms include frequent urination in small amounts, as the bladder fills the person experiences pain or discomfort. The exact cause is not yet clear but believed to be associated with the composition of the lining of the bladder and the signals sent and received by the brain. Urinalysis would reveal leukocytes. It does not show bacteria. Women are more prone to this condition than mean. This is also known as painful bladder syndrome.
Sexually transmitted diseases such as Gonorrhea and Trich may cause immunological responses; the body releases molecules to fight against the infection which then pass with the urine and give it a cloudy appearance. The genitals and rectum are infected in gonorrhea. There is increased discharge from the penis and vagina which when mixed with urine makes it appear cloudy.
In women cloudy urine should be taken seriously since if STDs are untreated it may cause infertility
Conditions that cause proteinuria
Excess protein in the urine causes proteinuria which may make the urine appear cloudy. Normally kidney which are healthy are able to filter the proteins out but kidney that are not functioning properly may not be able to filter the proteins which then pass along with the urine. Such as person may be affected by kidney disease. The damaged kidney caused due to some other underlying cause needs treatment. Porteinuria may be caused due to sickle cell anemia, diabetes, lupus nephritis, multiple myeloma, lymphoma, preeclampsia, leukemia. Even toxins and trauma can cause cloudy urine.
In preeclampsia, during pregnancy hypertension arises which is associated with excess amount of protein in the urine which gives the urine cloudy appearance.
As the body tries to flush out excess sugar it results in frequent ruination. Diabetes may cause urine to become cloudy. Other symptom includes low energy, tingling due to nerve damage.
Non medical causes
Food- they are not the usual cause but sometimes they may change the consistency and color of urine
Semen in urine- sperms and other glandular secretions, shortly after ejaculation may remain in the urinary tract of men. With the first urination these fluid are passed along which may cause the urine to become cloudy.
Vaginal discharge- sometimes vaginal discharge in the urine sample may make it cloudy.
This is one of the most common causes. It indicates the body the need to increase the fluid intake and generally is not of much concern. In taking adequate amount of fluid should help in regaining the urine its clear consistency. If not, then it should be a symptoms of other underlying cause.
It is necessary to pay attention to the signs and symptoms that occur along with cloudy urine, for example pain experienced along with cloudy urine could be a sign of urinary tract infection or kidney stones. In case of urinary tract infection, the urine may even have a foul smell and there is pain while urinating. The pain of kidney stone is agonizing till the stone or stones are passed. However cloudy urine may not always mean a serious health problem or infection. If it occurs for several days, then contact your health care provider. When you notice cloudy urine think about when you had sex recently, the medicines that you took and the food that you ate. Think about any other symptoms or sign that you experienced. A urinalysis might help you reveal any hidden problems. Urinalysis indicates the chemical composition, color, clarity and concentration of urine and also it helps in detecting bacteria in the urinary tract.