If you have noticed any differences in your urine, this may signal something is wrong. Sediment, which can appear as small particles you can see, cloudy urine, blood, mucus, or changes in color and smell can all effect the way your urine looks. Normal urine should be clear, and can range from pale yellow to deep amber, depending on your hydration status, according to Harvard Health.
Having sediment in urine does not automatically mean you have an infection. Some changes in urine are normal, caused by foods and medications; however, any type of sediment or blood in urine should prompt a call to your primary care physician.
Brown Particles in Urine
If you see small particles after urinating or you see sediment in your urine catheter or drainage bag, let your nurse or doctor know. These may be kidney stones. Kidney stones may be as small, or smaller than a grain of sand and may pass through your urinary system with little or no pain, indicates the National Institutes of Health.
Most kidney stones are brown or yellow. If you can, save the stone and have your doctor examine it to see what type of kidney stone it is. Knowing what type of stone developed in your kidney may help to avoid future stones that can cause pain.
If you have had previous kidney stones, you are more likely to have another, states the National Kidney Foundation. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases points out that stone particles can also be found in the urine of children, although it is not common.
White Tissue in Urine
Having white particles or tissue in the urine is most likely the result of a urinary tract infection - UTI. A UTI happens when bacteria gets into your bladder or kidneys. UTIs are the second most common infection in adults, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine and are the most common cause of urine issues.
Bladder infections are the most common form of UTI and early treatment is necessary to prevent the infection moving up your urinary tract to your kidneys. Forty to sixty percent of women are likely to have a bladder infection in their lifetime, according to the National Institutes of Health, with one in four likely to have another infection.
According to the book Clinical Methods, epithelial cells, cells within your urinary tract can be sloughed off and be a part of the sediment in urine. Reasons cited include drugs, toxins, and tumors.
Blood in Your Urine
Blood in the urine, or hematuria, can be caused by a variety of factors. Blood in the urine may be obvious, changing the color from yellow to pink, red, or cola-colored. According to the Mayo Clinic, blood in the urine can be caused by UTI, kidney infection, kidney stone, enlarged protate, kidney disease, medications, or cancer. Harvard Health indicates that blood in urine can also be caused by acute kidney injury, such as a bad fall, trauma, car accidents, or extremely strenuous exercise.
Having blood in your urine may come with no other symptoms, so it is important to find the underlying cause for the blood and seek treatment. The Mayo Clinic cites risk factors that may put you at risk for having hematuria, including age, specifically men over 50 due to an enlarged prostate, a family history of kidney disease, a recent infection, and strenuous exercise.
Mucus in Urine
A small amount of mucus in the urine is usually normal, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Mucus is any sort of slimy substance that the body requires to moisten and coat the throat, nose, mouth, and urinary tract. Any large amount of mucus in the urine could mean you have other issues happening in your body such as UTI, sexually transmitted infection, kidney stone, bladder cancer, or irritable bowel syndrome. If you have an unusual amount of mucus in your urine after a urinalysis, then your doctor may perform more tests to determine the cause.
Cloudy urine is usually caused by particles floating around, such as mucus and white blood cells from a UTI, according to Harvard Health. Medical News Today indicates that urine can also become cloudy due to discharge from sexually transmitted infections, such as trichomoniasis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. In addition to the possibility of having blood and a foul smell of the urine, kidney stones have the potential to create cloudy urine as well.
Other Changes in Urine
Other changes in urine that can signal an alarm may be the color or smell of your urine. Strong pigmented foods in your diet can temporarily change the color of your urine. Harvard Health points out that some foods such as beets can give urine a pink hue, which may be mistaken for blood. Rhubarb and fava beans have been known to turn urine a dark tea color and carrots and carrot juice may potentially turn urine orange.
Medications have also been cited to turn urine alarming colors, such as red, blue-green, dark brown, or orange. If your urine has a foul smell after you eat asparagus, you can relax, this is common, but the reasons are unclear
When To Call a Doctor
If you have sediment in your urine, it's best to call your doctor. If you are having painful urination, a frequent urge to urinate, weakness, fatigue, or a fever, seek medical attention. If you notice any other abnormalities in you urine, such as foul smelling urine or changes in color, take note of your recent diet first, but it never hurts to call your primary healthcare team to see if they are concerned.
The Mayo Clinic indicates that certain medications can increase the risk of urinary bleeding, such as aspirin, penicillin, non steroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers, and antibiotics. If you are taking these medications and have blood in your urine, call your doctor.
If a child is experiencing stones in their urine or has painful urination, severe pain, blood in their urine, and vomiting, seek medical attention immediately, notes the experts at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
What to Expect in a Urinalysis
A urinalysis may be done for several reasons, inducing as a part of a regular check-up, to diagnose a medical condition, such as kidney disease, diabetes, or UTI. Urinalysis tests can also be done to monitor an existing condition, according to the Mayo Clinic. A urinalysis can include a visual check of the urine, testing for chemicals, and a microscopic examination of the urine, according to U.S. National Library of Medicine.
There is usually no preparation needed for a urinalysis. Urine is more concentrated in the morning, so your provider may indicate when it is best to come in.
A good urine sample is one that is clean and collected midstream. Ensure you wash your hands before and after collecting the sample to prevent the spread of bacteria. The sample will be collected by you and you will urinate into a sample container. If you are not collecting the sample in a doctor's office or hospital, they may ask you to refrigerate your sample.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine, MedLine Plus: Mucus in Urine
- Mayo Clinic: Urinalysis
- Harvard Health: Changes in Urine - When to See a Doctor
- NIH - NIDDK: Definition & Facts for Kidney Stones
- U.S. National Library of Medicine, MedLine Plus: UTI
- Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations. 3rd edition.
- Mayo Clinic: Blood In Urine
- Medical News Today: Nine causes of white particles in urine
- The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Definition & Facts of Kidney Stones in Children
- National Kidney Foundation: Kidney Stones