What Does It Mean If My Urine Appears Cloudy?

What This Can Indicate, and Why You Should Call Your Doctor

Male patient and doctor in discussion in exam room. Credit: Thomas Barwick

How do you know when you urine is normal? Normal urine is always a light yellow or straw yellow color. Is abnormal urine a sign that something is wrong with you? Change in urine color or consistency can indicate a possible health issue. If you do notice such a change, it's usually a good idea to talk to your doctor about it.

So What Does It Mean If My Urine Is Cloudy?

The color and clarity (transparency) or cloudiness (turbidity) of urine can be clear signals of a number of urinary system disorders. If you have urine that is cloudy, and it is accompanied by an unpleasant odor, it usually indicates that you have a urinary tract infection (UTI).

 For women in particular, cloudy urine can occur because a woman’s anatomical structure lends itself to e coli formation in the bladder. E coli are the culprit in the majority of urinary tract infections.

Cloudy urine can also indicate:

  • sediment from a distended bladder
  • blood in the urine, caused by an infection of the kidneys or bladder
  • gonorrhea
  • kidney stones
  • late stage prostate cancer or prostate enlargement

Cloudy urine and bloody urine are also common after treatments for prostate cancer.  

Other causes of cloudy urine include the presence of bacteria, mucus, epithelial cells, white or red blood cells, fat, phosphates, or pus (also known as pyuria).

If you experience cloudy urine, or any other type of abnormal urine color,  you should see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Especially if you notice your pee has had a cloudy color and/or consistency over a period of multiple bathroom visits, and over the span of multiple days or weeks.

If you notice cloudy pee and it is accompanied by sharp pain and/or blood, call your doctor immediately.

Is Cloudy Urine the Only Possible Sign of an Issue?

Cloudy urine isn't the only urine change that might cause you to do a double take. Depending upon the causes, urine can have blood in it, or it can turn red, clear, orange, blue, black, green, or dark yellow.

As mentioned above, the color of healthy urine is light yellow.

Related Reading

What Causes Blood in Urine? The most common cause, for women, of blood in their urine is vaginal bleeding or normal menstrual bleeding. Though there are other possible causes as well.

What Does It Mean If Your Urine Appears Orange? The most common cause of orange urine is dehydration, but there could be another culprit.

Is red urine following chemotherapy normal? There are a couple of reasons why your urine may look red after receiving CHOP-R chemotherapy.

When Is Blood in Urine a Symptom of Cancer? Finding blood in your urine can be frightening but, in reality, blood in the urine, also known as hematuria, is most often caused by minor, treatable conditions. In some cases, however, the culprit can be something more serious, such as cancer.

Urinary Tract Infections. A urinary tract infection or UTI is a bacterial infection that occurs when bacteria invade the urinary tract system; the bacteria multiply throughout the urinary track system.

While the majority of urinary tract infections or UTIs are not serious, they often cause severe symptoms such as pain and/or burning upon urination.

Source: Urine - Abnormal Color. NLM-NIH. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003139.htm. Accessed 03/15/11.

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