Read below about cloudy urine, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your cloudy urine from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

This symptom can also be referred to as:
Pus in urine

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Cloudy Urine Symptoms

The body eliminates excess water and waste through urine. Normal urine can take on a broad spectrum of hues but is transparent or clear Urine is typically yellow in color and depending on the amount of water in the urine, this yellow color can range from pale (diluted) to deep gold or amber (concentrated).

Even with this broad range of normal colors, many different processes can change the color of urine from yellow to dark brown or even pink or maroon. Most of these processes are benign, but processes that produce cloudy urine (non-transparent) are usually a sign of an underlying problem and should always be followed up with your doctor.

If you notice cloudy urine, take note of other symptoms you may be experiencing, such as:

Cloudy Urine Causes Overview

The process of urination requires multiple parts of the body – the kidneys filter the urine, the ureters carry urine from the kidney to the bladder where urine is stored, and finally the urethra takes urine from the bladder and expels it from the body. All of these parts form the urinary tract.

Anything that your kidney filters and excretes via the urinary tract can affect the color of the urine. Urine can change color depending on the amount of water your body excretes, pigments present in food, systemic processes that cause bodily breakdown, and even the speed in which your urine hits the toilet.

Make an appointment with your physician in order to discuss all the possibilities that could be contributing to your cloudy urine symptoms.

Medical Conditions

  • Infection. Many types of outside bacteria can easily enter the body via the urinary tract, including sexually transmitted bacteria such as gonorrhea and chlamydia. Urinary tract infections often cause cloudy urine in addition to pain upon urination (dysuria) and itching/discomfort in the genital area.

  • Systemic disease. Diseases that affect the kidney and liver can seriously affect the processes that filter and excrete urine. Such conditions can include cancer, hepatitis and cirrhosis. Often these conditions result in excess amounts of protein being filtered out of the body into the urine. The protein can react with the air to create a foamy and cloudy appearance of the urine. These conditions can also cause swelling (edema) which is a sign of fluid buildup due to failure of these organ's functioning.

Medication Related Cloudy Urine Causes

  • Antibiotics. Certain antibiotics used to treat urinary tract infections can cause cloudy urine. The change in color is usually benign and due to pigment in the medications that are filtered out into the urine.

Environmental Cloudy Urine Causes

  • Diet. Severe dehydration and insufficient water intake can also turn urine cloudy or foamy. This is your body's way of telling you that it is dehydrated and needs water.

5 Potential Cloudy Urine Causes

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

  1. 1.Urinary Tract Infection

    In women, the opening to the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body) is very close to the anus, and bacteria from the anus can easily escape and travel up the urethra. These bacteria can infect the bladder, and cause what is known as a urinary tract infection (UTI).

    Symptoms most often go away within 24 to 48 hours after treatment begins.

    Top Symptoms:
    abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), pelvis pain, sudden urgency to urinate, signs of urinary tract inflammation, urinary changes
    Symptoms that always occur with urinary tract infection:
    signs of urinary tract inflammation
    Phone call or in-person visit
  2. 2.Urethritis

    Urethritis is an inflammation of the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine away from the bladder.

    Within a day or two of antibiotic treatment, symptoms usually resolve.

    Top Symptoms:
    painful urination, penis pain, fluid leaking, pink/blood-tinged urine, cloudy urine
    Primary care doctor

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  3. 3.Chlamydia (Male)

    Chlamydia is a common bacterial infection that is spread by sexual contact. It can often be carried without symptoms, but can have serious health effects if left untreated.

    The infection should clear in 1-7days after treatment.

    Top Symptoms:
    testicle pain, painful urination, sudden urgency to urinate, fluid leaking, frequent urination
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Gonococcal Urethritis

    Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a germ (bacterium) called the gonococcus. This bacterium is spread by sexual contact, or through transmission during childbirth, and causes inflammation of the urethra, which is the tube that passes urine.

    Infection takes up to a week to clear.

    Top Symptoms:
    painful urination, fluid leaking, spontaneous testicle pain, redness at the tip of the penis, testicular swelling
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Acute Postinfectious Glomerulonephritis

    The kidneys are a pair of important organs that lie near the spine whose function is to filter blood. There are about 1 million glomeruli in each kidney, which are tiny balls of thin blood vessels where there filtration takes place. After an infection anywhere in the body, especially a streptococcal infection (strep throat), these glomeruli may become inflamed.

    Symptoms last 2 weeks or less.

    Top Symptoms:
    headache, nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, fatigue
    Primary care doctor

Cloudy Urine Treatments and Relief

Many causes of cloudy urine symptoms can be stopped or prevented with simple lifestyle changes.

  • Take note of your medications. If your cloudy urine is the result of medications you are taking, talk to your doctor about your options. Your doctor may discontinue your medication or suggest a similar alternative.
  • Insufficient fluid intake can cause cloudy urine in severe cases. Drinking more water daily is a simple way to combat this symptom.

If these home remedies and lifestyle changes do not help to improve your cloudy urine symptoms, make an appointment to see your doctor.

Your doctor will perform the following diagnostic tests in order to make the proper diagnosis. Cloudy urine treatment will be diagnosis dependent and your doctor will discuss all of the appropriate options.

  • Urinalysis. Your doctor will take a urine sample in order to look for red blood cells, levels of protein, and excreted minerals and pigments in the urine that may indicate underlying kidney or urinary tract problems. Your doctor may also check for white blood cells and bacteria in your urine that may be causing infection.
  • Blood tests. Certain blood tests (creatinine and BUN or blood urea nitrogen) can measure the level of waste products that build up in your bloodstream when your kidneys are damaged and not filtering properly. Your doctor may also check for elevated levels of liver enzymes that indicate liver damage.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Cloudy Urine

  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Do you feel pain when you urinate?
  • Q.Have you experienced any nausea?
  • Q.Are you sexually active?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our cloudy urine symptom checker to find out more.

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Cloudy Urine Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced cloudy urine have also experienced:

    • 17% Bad Smelling Urine
    • 7% Painful Urination
    • 5% Vaginal Discharge
  • People who have experienced cloudy urine were most often matched with:

    • 20% Urinary Tract Infection
    • 5% Urethritis
    • 1% Chlamydia (Male)
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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