Do you notice the color of your urine when you pee? If you do, then you are following the advice of ancient medical practitioners. Even today, doctors rely on urinalysis to understand what’s happening inside the body.

The color, odor and the amount of pee indicate whether you have a medical problem. Healthy urine is clear and light yellow, while unhealthy urine can be cloudy, and hazy.

In some cases, cloudy urine could occur due to mild dehydration, and this usually goes away on its own.

However, if cloudy urine is persistent, it could indicate a medical problem like urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and sexually transmitted diseases.

Common causes of cloudy urine

1. Dehydration

Your urine may appear cloudy if you are dehydrated. If there are no other symptoms and the urine clears up once you have rehydrated, there is no cause for worry.

Make sure you drink enough water through the day. Alcohol and caffeine have dehydrating effects, so reduce your consumption of these beverages.

2. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Cloudy urine, accompanied by an unpleasant odor, is a sure sign of a urinary tract infection. UTIs happen when bacteria infect any part of your urinary systems like urethra, bladder, ureters, or kidneys.

When the bacteria grow out of control, our body sends white blood cells to fight the infection. These white blood cells get excreted through the urine, and this is what gives it the cloudy appearance.

Other symptoms of UTI include frequent urge to urinate; pain or burning when you urinate; pelvic pain; pink, red or brown urine.

Untreated UTIs can lead to kidney infection, sepsis, and pregnancy complications.

3. Kidney stones

Kidney stones are hardened deposits of mineral and salts that form on the inside of the kidneys. They affect up to 5 percent of the population.

These stones have jagged edges and can get lodged inside the urinary tract and cause tearing, which can lead to infections. The infection can cause pus, which makes the urine appear cloudy.

The other symptoms of kidney stones include pain in the side or back, pain in the abdomen, foul-smelling urine, pink, red or brown urine and pain that comes in waves.

4. Vaginitis

Vaginitis is the inflammation of the vagina that is caused by different germs. The most common kinds of vaginitis are bacterial vaginosis, yeast infection and trichomoniasis. When the healthy balance of good bacteria in the vagina changes, it can lead to cloudy urine.

The other signs of vaginitis include itching and pain around the vagina; foul-smelling discharge, and burning when you urinate. The doctor may prescribe antibiotics or antifungal medication to treat vaginitis.

5. Diabetes

When you have diabetes, you have too much sugar in your blood. Our kidneys have to work hard to filter and absorb this sugar. When the kidneys can not handle the extra sugar, it winds up in your urine along with some fluids from the tissues.

Diabetes can also cause kidney damage which makes it harder to filter urine and this leads to cloudy urine.

6. Sexually transmitted diseases

Many sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea and chlamydia can lead to increased grey or white discharge. This discharge, when mixed with the urine, can make it appear cloudy.

7. Prostate problems

Prostatitis, an inflammation or infection of the prostate gland, can also lead to cloudy urine. In this case, the cloudy urine could be the result of white blood cells, pus or penile discharge.

Other symptoms of prostatitis include pain or burning during urination, difficulty during urination, pain in genitals, blood in urine, and frequent urination.

Diagnosis

There can be many reasons for urine to appear cloudy. You must visit the doctor if this condition doesn’t go away on its own and is accompanied by other symptoms like pain during urination or blood in the urine.

The doctor may prescribe a urinalysis, a test of the urine sample. The test will assess the color, concentration, clarity, chemical composition of the sample. It will also evaluate if there are any bacteria in the urinary tract.

This will help your doctor determine the cause of the infection and prescribe the medication like antibiotics. While these type of medicines are the standard treatment for UTI, doctors are noticing that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are reducing the effectiveness of these antibiotics.

 Overuse or misuse of antibiotics has lead to antibiotic resistance. This is why home remedies for UTIs are being recommended. These remedies help flush out the bacteria and boost the immune system as well.

Home remedies for UTIs and cloudy urine

1. Drink more water

Drinking plenty of water and other fluids help reduce the risk of UTIs. Frequent urination helps flush out the bacteria. Holding urine for long allows bacteria to multiply in the urinary tract and this can result in UTI like cystitis (1).

According to a study published in the Journal of Nephrology, infrequent urination and low fluid intake are both linked to UTIs (2). Another study involving 28 pre-menopausal women showed that an increase in fluid intake leads to a decrease in UTIs (3).

So, drink water throughout the day and stay hydrated to prevent urinary tract infections.

2. Take probiotics

Research has shown that certain probiotics, like lactobacilli, can decrease the risk of urinary tract infections. Since lactobacilli dominate the urogenital flora of healthy premenopausal women, restoration of this urogenital flora with lactobacilli may protect against UTIs (4).

According to a meta-analysis of five different studies, probiotic strains of Lactobacillus are safe and effective in preventing UTIs in adult women (5).

You can take probiotics in the form of supplements and through fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and kombucha.

3. Cranberries

Cranberries contain an ingredient that stops the bacteria from attaching to the wall of the urinary tract (6).

During a 2016 study, women with a recent history of UTIs consumed 240 ml of cranberry juice for 24 weeks. The results of the study showed that the women who drank cranberry juice had fewer episodes of UTI than the control group (7).

However, some other studies show that cranberry juice may not be as effective in treating UTIs. Although the results are mixed, you can benefit by drinking unsweetened cranberry juice, having dried cranberries and using cranberry supplements.

4. Garlic

According to a recent study published in the Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science, garlic extract can be effective against multi-drug resistant strains of pathogenic bacteria associated with UTIs (8). 

Garlic contains allicin, which provides it with antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. Combination of garlic oil and parsley in the form of a pill can inhibit bacterial growth and reproduction, according to research.

5. Parsley

Parsley has been used for the treatment of UTI in folk medicine for years. This herb contains apigenin, which is known to possess a diuretic effect in addition to anti-inflammatory properties. It also has analgesic effects, which help relieve pain in patients with UTI.

According to research, parsley essential oil is shown to have antibacterial activity against E coli, Staphylococcus saprophyticus, and Klebsiella spp., which are the most common pathogens in UTI (9).

Parsley essential oil also has antifungal properties that have been attributed to the coumarins compounds.

6. L-arginine

L-arginine is an amino acid that changes into nitric oxide. This property of L-arginine inhibits the growth of different microorganisms that may cause UTIs.

L-arginine also helps in the detoxification and fights inflammation. It has anti-bacterial and immune-modulating properties.

7. Quercetin

Quercetin is a flavonoid antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory effects. It is found in red wine, onions, green tea, apples, berries, Gingko Biloba, St. John’s wort, American elder and broccoli.

It helps regulate inflammation in the bladder and lowers pain. It also helps lower symptoms of UTI like pain, cloudy urine, frequent need to urinate and burning while urinating.

8. Healthy habits

Practicing specific good bathroom and hygiene habits can also help prevent UTIs.

  • Do not hold your urine for too long as this can encourage the build-up of bacteria.
  • Peeing after sexual intercourse helps prevent the spread of bacteria.
  • Women should clean their genital areas before and after sex and wipe from front to the back to prevent the spread of E. coli.
  • Avoid spermicidal contraceptives, diaphragms and douching, as this may irritate the vagina and encourage bacterial growth.
  • Avoid multiple sexual partners as they can increase the risk of both UTIs and sexually transmitted diseases.

Final thoughts

The color, odor and amount of pee are good indicators of your health. While healthy urine is clear and light yellow, urine that is cloudy can be an indicator that something is not right.

Cloudy urine does not always mean that it is something serious. Your urine may appear cloudy if you are dehydrated, but this can be easily remedied by drinking more water.

Some other causes of cloudy urine include urinary tract infections, kidney stones, sexually transmitted diseases, vaginitis, and prostate problems.

You can prevent UTIs and cloudy urine by drinking more water, taking probiotics, having foods like cranberries, parsley and garlic and following healthy hygiene.

Healthy urine is clear and light yellow, while unhealthy urine can be cloudy, and hazy. Cloudy urine could indicate issues like kidney stone