Some days, you may catch a glimpse in the toilet to find your urine looks a bit off. Your level of hydration determines how pale or dark yellow your urine is, however, when your urine is cloudy it's more complicated. There are a variety of reasons why this might happen — some of which are cause for concern and others that are harmless. Many of the causes of cloudy urine can be easily addressed with medical attention. Here is a guide to know when to see your doctor.
Infections and Other Health Concerns
Cloudy urine may be a result of your immune system producing extra white blood cells to fight off an infection somewhere in the body. Your immune system may be fighting off this infection even if you don't have other symptoms.
Cloudiness or a change in color can also be caused by small amounts of blood in the urine. This may also be a sign of an infection. Possible causes of an infection range from urinary tract infection to a sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea. It's best to consult with your health practitioner if you have any questions or concerns regarding your urine because infections require immediate medical attention and can be easily resolved with appropriate treatment.
Cloudy urine can also be a sign of kidney stones or another kidney infection or disease. Incomplete emptying of the bladder — which is a common side effect of prostate enlargement — can lead to a buildup of sediment resulting in cloudy urine.
What you eat determines what you eliminate. The crystals that form when there is excess phosphorous in the urine, called phosphaturia, are a common cause of increased urine turbidity. There are many potential causes of this condition, some of which are related to diet and others that are indicative of an underlying health concern. In diet-related phosphaturia, the urine will return to a normal color following the excretion of the crystals. Foods high in phosphorous include dairy products, organ meats, certain legumes and yeast.
It's not clear whether taking excess supplements results in cloudy urine. Some vitamins are fat-soluble, and they accumulate in the body. Some are water-soluble, such as vitamins C, B-3, B-6, and they get excreted through urine. While it's commonly believed that the consumption of excess water-soluble vitamins causes cloudy urine, there isn't conclusive evidence. However, if you have been taking supplements and notice that your urine has become cloudy, make sure to mention this to your doctor as a potential cause.
When To See A Doctor
If you can rule out food and supplements, you should see a doctor as cloudy urine is a sign of infection. If left untreated, urinary tract infections can lead to more dangerous complications like kidney infections. In the case of a sexually transmitted infection, failure to receive a prompt and accurate diagnosis can lead to complications as well as the spreading of the infection to your sexual partner(s). Although in some cases cloudy urine can be benign, it is best to give your health care provider a call. If cloudy urine is accompanied by blood in your urine, nausea, fever, low-back or groin pain seek care immediately because this could be symptomatic of a kidney infection.