Cloudy or milky urine can be a sign of some kind of illness or infection in a person. Normal urine has a wide range of colors varying from clear like water to dark amber color. In fact, urine color usually depends upon the level of hydration and ammonia in the body. But remember, excessive turbidity of urine is a symptom and not an illness in itself. However, changes in urine color or clarity can often be bothersome, especially, if accompanied with other urinary symptoms like frequent urination and pain or burning sensation while urinating. Cloudy urine is more commonly encountered in the morning as the urine is most concentrated due to depletion of fluid levels during the night.
What Causes Cloudy Urine?
Dehydration: Urine may appear cloudy due to dehydration, a common cause of various health ailments. Loss of fluids from the body, especially due to sweating, exercising, or less fluid intake can deplete water levels in the body leading to dehydration.
Phosphate Crystals: One of the most common cause for cloudy smelly urine is the presence of excess phosphate crystals in the urine. This condition is totally harmless and usually occurs if a person eats a large meal comprising beet, asparagus, etc, or drinks milk high in phosphate. Phosphate crystals precipitate and make the urine appear cloudy or milky.
Vaginal Discharge: Vaginal discharge is the most prominent cause for cloudy looking urine in women. Whether it is a normal or abnormal vaginal secretion, vaginal discharge itself is a symptom that can have numerous causes for its occurrence.
Vitamin Supplements: Excessive intake of vitamin supplements can also change the appearance of urine. Water soluble vitamins like vitamin B and vitamin C, either do not get stored in the body or get stored only in minute amounts. Hence too much intake of these supplements can make the urine cloudy.
Urinary Tract Infections: Urinary tract infections (UTI) like pyelonephritis can cause puss and cloudiness in the urine especially in men. Pyelonephritis is commonly associated with flank pain or burning sensation on urinating, frequent urination, fever, or symptoms of some other infections.
Bladder Infections: Bladder infection like cystitis can result in changed appearance of urine. In this condition, the cloudiness is mainly due to presence of white blood cells in the urine. Frequent urination, sharp pain or burning feeling while urinating, fever, or chills are some other symptoms associated with cystitis.
Gonorrhea: Sexually transmitted disease called gonorrhea that causes bacterial concentration in the urine is another prime cause for urine color change or cloudy urine in both men and women.
Proteinuria: Proteinuria (excessive concentration of protein in the urine) can make the urine cloudy. Women may experience proteinuria and cloudy looking urine during the second and third trimester of pregnancy. Proteinuria with high blood pressure can be a worrisome combination during pregnancy and hence needs immediate medical attention.
Other Factors: Urine may become cloudy if you have kidney stones, prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland) or bilharzia (an infection due to a parasite of the genus schistosoma). Sometimes, mucus in urine can also impart it a cloudy appearance.
What to Do When Urine Appears Cloudy?
Cloudy urine is either a cause for concern if it is due to a serious underlying disease, or it may be nothing to worry about specially if it is due to consumption of certain foods. Whatever be the reason, it is important to notice its frequency. It is alright if it is observed once or twice, but if it occurs quite frequently, then it surely calls for medical attention. It is better to make the following observations before going to a physician so that it is easy for him to identify the actual cause behind this problem.
» When was the first time you noticed excess turbidity of urine?
» How frequently do you excrete turbid urine?
» Is cloudy urine accompanied by pain or burning sensation while urinating?
» Are you on any kind of medication?
» Which food items you have been consuming lately?
» What is your sexual history for the past one year?
» Have you recently suffered from any kind of illness?
In most cases, the disorder cures on its own, but if it persists for more than a day or two, a physician's consultation becomes necessary. Treatment for cloudy urine primarily depends upon its underlying cause. Physicians first try to figure out the root cause behind the problem, depending on which further treatment is advised. Antibiotics and diuretics are quite effective in treating infection and relieving pain or discomfort associated with turbid urine. Patients are also advised to drink at least 6 - 8 oz. of water daily and maintain proper hygiene to avoid this ailment.
There are some home remedies which can be used to treat excessive turbidity of urine only if its occurrence is rare. Unclear urine is often due to dehydration and to treat it, following remedies can be used.
» Cranberry helps in reducing cloudiness of urine. Drinking its juice several times a day will solve the problem.
» Apple cider vinegar is basically useful for those who have urinary tract infection. However, it should not be used as an alternative to proper medical treatment.
» Coriander seeds can also be used for this problem. Boil coriander seeds in water for some time. Let the liquid cool down. Strain it in another container and drink two ounces of it twice a day.
The above mentioned remedies must only be used as an adjunct to medical treatment, and only after they are discussed with a medical practitioner.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.