Nothing is more important than our health. Fortunately, by paying attention to signs our body is giving us, we can keep better track of our health. One easy way to measure our health? Our urine!
While it’s common for urine to change color every now and again, consistent changes, bizarre sights and smells, and other changes in urine may be a sign that you need to visit a doctor.
So, what causes urine to change? Read on to find out!
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), formerly known as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), are an incredibly common source of cloudy urine for people of any sex.
STIs, as the name implies, are infections. So, when the body detects an infection, it mounts an immune response, which includes an increase in white blood cell production. When these cells enter urine, they can cloud it.
STIs also commonly cause unusual vaginal or penile discharge, both of which can mix with urine, resulting in an odd appearance or smell.
Like STIs, sometimes other serious conditions can result in surprising urine changes…
Diabetes is a condition where the body has troubles processing blood sugar, or glucose, due to a shortage or complete absence of insulin or an inability to properly process insulin. In other words, without insulin, diabetics’ bodies often resort to other ways to remove excess sugars. One such way is to send said sugars to the urine to be removed from the body with your next bathroom break.
Sometimes urine changes aren’t due to a chronic medical condition like diabetes, but rather an infection…
8. Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are infections of the urinary tract, as the name implies. This system includes the kidneys, ureters (tubes connecting kidneys to the bladder), bladder, and urethra.
UTIs can alter urine appearance by sending pus and sometimes even blood into the urine; these excrements make urine dark, cloudy, and oftentimes smelly.
Other symptoms of a UTI include:
- Pain while urinating
- Frequent urination
- Blood in urine (severe infection)
- Fever (severe infection)
- Dark and cloudy urine
- Dark and smelly urine
Those who suspect they have a serious UTI should seek medical attention right away, as it could indicate that the infection has spread to the kidneys. This event could progress to a potentially life-threatening condition, as the next slide explains…
7. Kidney Infections
Kidney infections can be a sign of a serious UTI that can turn life-threatening. Those who suspect they have this kind of infection should seek medical attention right away.
Kidney infections affect urine the same way UTIs do. Namely, they may result in blood and pus in the urine, giving it a distinctly dark and cloudy look. Other times, urine may be smelly, too.
Sometimes, other kidney-related issues can lead to cloudy urine…
6. Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are made of hardened minerals and salts. These stones can’t remain in the kidneys forever, however, and that’s why the body will attempt to push these stones through the ureters, into the bladder, then finally out the urethra. Understandably, pushing these stones through such narrow and sensitive spaces can lead to inflammation and even small tears. The result? Blood in the urine, which can give it a cloudy or dark appearance.
While kidney stones are common causes of cloudy urine, the following cause is much more rare…
Chyluria is a rare medical condition that may be due to a number of causes, including a parasitic infection.
Chyluria is a result of issues with the lymphatic system. This system is part of both our immune and circulatory systems and helps the body get rid of harmful substances, like waste and even toxins. Chyluria occurs when fluid from this system accidentally gets into the kidneys. Because lymphatic fluid contains white blood cells, it can turn urine into a milky white.
Remember: this condition is rare. The following, however, is incredibly common.
4. Vaginal Inflammation
Vaginal inflammation, or vaginitis, is incredibly common and can occur to women of any age.
Namely, this condition can be due to infections. Now, when the body detects an infection, it mounts an immune response, which includes creating extra white blood cells. Vaginitis can also result in unusual vaginal discharge. Both of these events may make things cloudy upon urination.
This next cause is yet another serious one to consider…
3. Prostate Inflammation
Inflammation of the prostate, or prostatitis, can also result in unusual urination. This condition may be due to infections, an immune disorder, or even an injury. Whatever the cause, the body may respond to prostatitis by releasing white blood cells. When these cells make their way into the urine, it can result in a distinctly cloudy look.
Prostatitis isn’t the only sex-specifc cause of cloudy urine for cisgender men, though…
2. Retrograde Ejaculation
Retrograde ejaculation is the medical term for a condition that results in a “dry orgasm,” or an orgasm where fluid is not released. This condition results in a dry orgasm because semen that would have been released during orgasm backs up instead into the bladder. The semen is then released upon urination, giving urine a cloudy, milky color.
The following cause of cloudy urine is common, and it happens to virtually everyone at some point…
If you notice that your urine is cloudy or darker in color than normal–that is, your urine is a darker yellow than normal–you may simply be dehydrated.
One easy way to check if you are consuming enough fluids? Check your urine. Signs of adequate hydration include clear and light-colored urine. On the other hand, urine that is darker and/or cloudy can indicate that you’re dehydrated. It’s not just appearance that will change, either: dark and smelly urine can also indicate dehydration.
Other signs include:
- Feeling thirstier than usual
- Not sweating as much as usual
- Not going to the bathroom as often as you normally would
- Feeling fatigued
- Having a dry mouth
If dehydration is mild and not due to another condition, simply drinking more fluids should yield positive results.