Cloudy Urine: Symptoms, causes, and treatment

cloudy urine in women
Medically reviewed by Dr. Ola Tarabzuni


Cloudy urine, presenting a hazy or milky appearance, is generally considered normal unless persistently cloudy. Occasional cloudiness may stem from harmless factors such as dehydration, dietary shifts, or pregnancy. However, prolonged cloudiness could signal underlying issues. Symptoms include an opaque and discolored look, often accompanied by reduced clarity. Potential causes range from benign factors like dehydration to conditions requiring attention, such as kidney stones, sexually transmitted diseases, or diabetes. Treatment options include identifying the root cause, often through a urine analysis test, leading to targeted and well-suited medication. Seeking medical consultation is important if cloudiness persists over a few days, ensuring an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. 

What does cloudy urine mean?

Cloudy urine means the color of the urine is hazy, not transparent, or normal yellow, with a touch of a milky color. Usually, it is considered normal and does not indicate any medical condition until it’s repetitive or recurrent. In case of its repetitiveness or recurrency, it can indicate dehydration, kidney failure, or an underlying infection. It can also indicate changes in PH levels (which indicates acidity or basicity) or vaginal discharge, or dietary changes. 

What does cloudy urine look like?

Some of the distinguishing symptoms of cloudy urine include: 

  • Cloudy urine appears opaque and discolored.
  • It often has a milky or murky appearance.
  • Less clarity in urine.
  • Cloudy urine may indicate underlying conditions like dehydration, urinary tract infection, or the presence of certain substances.

It should be noted that cloudy urine is usually normal and doesn’t indicate any medical condition until and unless it’s persistent throughout a week and month. In case of persistence, it can indicate the presence of an infection or any other related medical condition that needs consultation with your healthcare provider. 

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What causes cloudy urine?  

Usually, the causes of cloudy urine are harmless and do not need diagnosis or treatment, while some of the causes of cloudy urine need to be addressed with the supervision of a healthcare provider. 

Some of the harmless causes of cloudy urine in men or women can be 

  • Dehydration 

Dehydration can be one of the common reasons among all of the harmless reasons that can lead to cloudy urine. It is when the kidney reabsorbs most of the nutrients from the water already in your body, resulting in concentrated or cloudy urine. Drinking 8-9 glasses of water daily is beneficial to avoid burning or cloudiness of urine. 

  • Changes in diet 

Changes in diet or incorporating nutrients like Beer, Fatty poultry, Gravy, High-fat dairy products, Most seafood like anchovies and tuna, and Red meat or meat from deer, duck, and lamb can be one of the contributing factors to cloudy urine, and the symptoms will eliminate the minute when the diet will be digested. 

  • Pregnancy 

Pregnancy is also one of the most common causes of cloudy or yellow urine, along with discharge when urinating in females. It is harmless and does not need consultation if it occurs rarely. If it starts to occur more often, it’s important to book your appointment with our healthcare provider and finish urine analysis after the prescription for effective treatment options.  

  • Side effects of medication 

Some of the medications can also cause cloudy urine. Your healthcare provider or pharmacist might tell you about this effect before dispensing this medication. It’s usually because of when medications like Rifampin (laxative) or Phenazopyridine (UTI) get absorbed into our circulatory system. It usually takes some days for these symptoms to vanish. If they don’t, consult your pharmacist or provider for the well-suited alternative medication. 

  • Mucus 

Mucus presence in the urine is normal and indicates the presence of mucus naturally present in the body. It’s harmless and doesn’t indicate any underlying medical condition. It’s serious and needs consultation only when it stays persistent, as it indicates the presence of an underlying medical condition. It should only be 

Some of the harmful effects of cloudy urine that need to be consulted by healthcare providers are as follows : 

  • Kidney stones or an infection 

Kidney stones often develop in any part of the kidney, from the adrenal cortex to the ureters. The initial symptoms might start from the change in the color of the urine, with the pain on one side of the abdomen, usually on the left side. These infections need proper medical consultation and prescription for effective diagnosis and treatment options. 

  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) 

Sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea are one of the leading causes of changing the color and concentration of urine that we pass. They cause cloudiness in the urine and lead to a burning sensation while peeing. Sexually transmitted infections might also cause fever with the occurrence of an infection. To treat these medical conditions or infections, your healthcare provider will prescribe antibiotics per the type and severity of the infection. Antibiotics usually prescribed can be amoxicillin, penicillin, or azithromycin, depending on the type of medical condition. 

  • Diabetes

Diabetes or diabetes-related medications can also cause a significant change in the color of urine along with the increased urge to urinate. Some antidiabetic medications, like metformin, can also change the color of the urine and cause other gastrointestinal disturbances. Your body can take some time to adjust to the medications, after which the color of urine and other symptoms will disappear. If not, consult your healthcare provider for the best alternatives for these medications. 

Some of the other medical conditions that need medical consultation are : 

  • Urinary tract infection (UTI). 
  • Excessive mucus in urine.
Get connected with an online doctor for effective consultation and treatment options!

How is cloudy urine treated?

Cloudy urine can only be treated after identifying the cause of it. If your urine is cloudy for 1 to 2 days, it will probably disappear in a day due to harmless reasons. If the color of your urine stays cloudy for a week or more than three days, it usually indicates something unusual underlying. It’s good to consult an online doctor for the required consultation and prescription. 

Your healthcare provider might prescribe you the urine analysis test, after which the accurate cause can be diagnosed, and medication will be prescribed accordingly. 

When should I see a doctor?

Cloudy urine can sometimes be due to changes in diet, dehydration, or side effects of any medication you are consuming. It will eventually go away to normal after some days. If the cloudiness and haziness stay persistent, you should consult your healthcare provider for a timely diagnosis to determine the underlying cause leading to cloudy urine.  

FAQs about cloudy urine in women

Should I be worried about cloudy urine?

You should only be worried about your cloudy urine when it stays cloudy, hazy, and persistent for a long time. Cloudy urine for 3-4 days is normal and doesn’t indicate any underlying serious medical condition. Consultation must be considered when your urine stays cloudy or of any color other than normal. 

I don’t have any pain, but my urine is cloudy and smells strong. What could it be?

If you don’t have pain but your urine is cloudy and smells strong, it’s probably a urinary tract infection. It is recommended not to delay and book your appointment with your healthcare provider ASAP for a timely diagnosis and effective treatment options to treat and avoid the relapse of UTI. 

Is cloudy urine with white specks always bad? 

Cloudy urine with white specks indicates an underlying medical condition that needs medical consultations. If you are experiencing white bits or specks with hazy and cloudy urine, it’s a good time to book an appointment with your healthcare provider to get the well-needed prescription options. 

Your Doctors Online uses high-quality and trustworthy sources to ensure content accuracy and reliability. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical associations to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to the users.

  • Rakesh, Aswani, et al. “AN APPROACH TO A CASE OF CLOUDY URINE.” Journal of Universal College Of Medical Sciences 1.01 (2013): 1.
  • Jump, Robin LP, Christopher J. Crnich, and David A. Nace. “Cloudy, foul-smelling urine not a criteria for diagnosis of urinary tract infection in older adults.” Journal of the American Medical Directors Association 17.8 (2016): 754.
  • Etemadian, Masoud, et al. “Delayed versus same-day percutaneous nephrolithotomy in patients with aspirated cloudy urine.” Urology journal 5.1 (2008): 28-33.
  • Small, Kathryn R., and Maureen McMullen. “When Clear Becomes Cloudy: A review of acute tubular necrosis, a form of renal failure.” AJN The American Journal of Nursing 105.1 (2005): 72AA-72GG.

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