Cloudy urine occurs when your urine has a hazy or milky color that is not a normal, clear, light yellow. Cloudy urine is generally harmless but frequent and repetitive cloudy urine could be a sign of a medical condition.
Cloudy urine appears when your urine has a milky color that isn’t clear. Generally, cloudy urine is harmless, but frequent and repetitive signs of cloudy urine could indicate an underlying medical condition.
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Normal urine is light yellow in color that is transparent. Cloudy urine is foggy white to light yellow in color compared to normal straw yellow color.
The most common cause of cloudy urine is the presence of alkaline. Urine is comprised of water, salts and waste from the kidneys and the balance of these components affects the alkaline or acidity (pH) in urine. Normal urine acidic-to-alkaline levels range from 4.5 to 8 pH. Urine that is under 5 pH is considered acidic, with urine measuring at 8 pH or higher is alkaline (basic). High alkaline causes cloudy urine.
Other possible causes for cloudy urine include:
It's normal to have frequent urination during pregnancy. As a result, you may notice occasional color changes in your urine. Cloudy urine during pregnancy may occur due to:
If you experience repetitive, cloudy or discolored urine, or have any symptoms like headache, blurry vision, abdominal pain or swelling, visit your healthcare provider for further examination.
Some foods that you eat may cause cloudy urine because it increases your level of alkaline. If you eat a diet comprised mostly of fruits and vegetables, with limited consumption of meats, grains and cheeses (low-PRAL), your alkaline levels are likely to be higher, which can lead to cloudy urine.
Several diseases or disorders have cloudy urine as a side effect including:
Some STIs and STDs cause cloudy urine. Cloudy urine isn’t the only symptom of many STDs or STIs, but it could be a factor in your diagnosis. Infections or diseases that have cloudy urine as a symptom include:
You can treat cloudy urine by:
You can prevent cloudy urine by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes staying hydrated and eating a well-balanced diet. You can also visit your healthcare provider to treat infections early before they pose a greater threat to your health.
Occasional cloudy urine is normal. If you experience persistent cloudy urine that doesn’t go away within a few days, contact your healthcare provider.
Foamy urine is the result of the speed of urination, which causes air to form pockets in the urine, creating a bubbly texture. Cloudy urine is not clear and appears to have a milky, yellow color as opposed to a normal, light yellow. If you notice you have consistently foamy urine, contact your healthcare provider for evaluation, as it could be a sign of kidney problems.
Urine odor can change and it is harmless and temporary in most cases. Your diet or any vitamins or minerals that you are taking can change the odor in your urine. For example, asparagus causes a strong odor in urine, as well as vitamin B-6 supplements. Staying hydrated can prevent a strong odor, and also helps prevent occasional cloudy urine. If your urine odor persists for more than a few days, contact your healthcare provider.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
In most cases, cloudy urine is harmless due to natural changes that your body goes through. Normally, it goes away quickly when you stay hydrated and incorporate a healthy diet into your daily routine. Reach out to your healthcare provider if you notice the cloudiness of your urine is not clearing up after a few days.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/28/2021.
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