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Cloudy urine refers to urine that looks turbid or hazy instead of clear. “The cloudiness can result from various factors, a symptom of an underlying health condition, or simply due to specific harmless issues,” shares Dr Prakash Sankapal, Consultant, Urologist, Fortis Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi. But as the doctor points out “it is essential to have awareness about this health problem as the more knowledge you have, the better equipped you’ll be to manage this health condition if you are diagnosed with it”. The doctor answers some questions that will help you understand this illness in a better manner. 

Q. What causes cloudy urine, and how can we pinpoint the exact reason for an accurate diagnosis?

Dr Sankapal: Cloudy urine can result from various factors, including dehydration, Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), Kidney Stones, Proteinuria, Phosphaturia, vaginal discharge, and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). To pinpoint the exact cause and obtain an accurate diagnosis:

• Consult a Healthcare Professional: Seek medical advice for a thorough evaluation.

• Medical History and Physical Examination: Discuss symptoms and medical history and undergo a physical examination.

• Urine Analysis: Provide a urine sample for analysis to check for signs of infection, blood, crystals, or other substances.

• Imaging and Blood Tests: Additional tests, such as imaging or blood tests, may be ordered to assess kidney function and identify underlying issues.

• STI Testing: If relevant symptoms are present, testing for sexually transmitted infections may be necessary.

Q. Do particular foods or habits make urine cloudy, and what changes can be suggested for improvement?

Dr Sankapal: Certain foods, medications, and habits can contribute to changes in urine appearance, including cloudiness. Here are some factors that may cause cloudy urine:

• Dehydration: Concentrated urine may appear cloudy due to inadequate fluid intake. Drink enough water throughout the day to stay hydrated (Minimum 3 litres/day).

• Foods: Foods rich in phosphates, like dairy products, meat, nuts & seeds, whole grains, processed foods, and carbonated beverages, might contribute to cloudy urine.

• Vitamins and Supplements: Excess vitamins, especially those containing B-complex vitamins, may contribute to cloudiness.

• High-Protein Diet: Consuming a diet high in protein may increase substances like phosphates in the urine, potentially causing cloudiness.

Dr Sankapal shares that you can consider the following changes to improve the appearance of urine and promote overall health:

• Stay hydrated and maintain a balanced diet

• Limit protein intake

• Be mindful of the side effects caused by medication 

• Go for regular health check-ups

Q. Can medications or health conditions lead to cloudy urine, and how do we recognize and deal with them?

Dr Sankapal: Yes, medications like some antibiotics, excess Vitamin B-complex, phosphorous-containing medicines, and certain health conditions can cause cloudy urine. If you notice persistent changes, consult a healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation. They can identify the cause, adjust medications if necessary, and provide appropriate treatment for underlying health conditions. 

Q. Are there other signs or symptoms with cloudy urine that might suggest a more urological severe problem?

Dr Sankapal: Cloudy urine can be benign and temporary due to dehydration, diet, or certain medications. However, persistent cloudy urine or additional symptoms may suggest an underlying urological problem.  Some signs and symptoms that might indicate a more severe issue include frequent urination, pain or burning sensation, foul odour, changes in urine colour, blood in the urine (haematuria), fever and chills, and lower abdominal pain/pelvic pain/back pain.

“Suppose you experience cloudy urine along with any of these symptoms. In that case, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation, as ignoring persistent/concerning symptoms can delay the diagnosis and treatment of potential urological problems,” adds Dr Sankapal.

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