Your blood passes through your kidneys, which filter out impurities and excess water — this is the product we all know as urine. The reason so many doctor appointments include a urine test is that there are numerous compounds in your urine that reveal important information about what’s going on in your body.
If you notice anything out of the ordinary in your urine, visit Dr. Farah Khan here at Millennium Park Medical Associates. We offer rapid testing with quick results so we can diagnose the problem and get you started on the right treatment.
Urine changes to look for
The characteristics of your urine can change from day to day depending on several variables, but in general, healthy urine is pale yellow and has a slight odor.
Here are some of the changes in urine you might notice and the conditions that may be responsible:
- Ammonia odor: dehydration
- Sweet smelling: urinary tract infection
- Foul smelling: sexually transmitted infection
- Fruity smelling: type 2 diabetes
- Dark yellow: dehydration
- Orange: medication related
- Pink or red: blood in the urine
- Blue or green: medications or foods
- Dark brown: kidney problems
Some people also notice a distinct scent in their urine after they eat asparagus, which has earned it the nickname “asparagus pee.”
Here, Dr. Khan takes a closer look at cloudy urine, as there are several potential culprits that cause your urine to take on a milky appearance.
What causes cloudy urine?
Clear, pale yellow urine indicates good health, but when you see milky pee, it’s typically a sign that something is off. Normal urine has a pH level of 4.5-8; if urinary pH exceeds 8, the high alkalinity causes cloudiness. If you eat only or mostly vegetables and fruits, it can elevate the alkalinity in your urine.
Other conditions can lead to cloudy urine as well. Here are some of the most common causes.
When your body doesn’t regulate the sugar in your blood well, you develop type 2 diabetes, a chronic, progressive disease that triggers a long list of symptoms, including nerve damage, vision problems, and frequent urination. It’s also known to cause cloudy urine.
When you have a lot of sugar and protein in your blood, it changes the appearance and smell. Cloudy, sweet-smelling urine is a classic symptom of type 2 diabetes.
If you’re not drinking enough water every day — about 11 cups for women and 15 cups for men — your body can’t produce enough urine, and what comes out in a concentrated version that’s darker and cloudier.
Urinary tract infection
Your urine flows from your kidneys through your ureters to your bladder and finally out your body through your urethra. A urinary tract infection (UTI) can occur anywhere along this path when bacteria enter the tract.
The most commonly affected areas are your urethra and bladder, and when infection sets in, you may feel a burning sensation when you urinate and have a strong urge to go even when your bladder is empty. Women often feel pelvic pain as well.
Cloudy urine is one of the signs you may have a UTI.
If you’re pregnant, your body is going through multiple changes, and a slight change in your urine is normal. Often, this is caused by vaginal discharge or dehydration.
However, it can also indicate infection or preeclampsia, a serious condition that causes high blood pressure and high levels of protein in the urine. It’s important to follow all prenatal care instructions and visit your obstetrician regularly. Seek medical care immediately if you notice cloudy urine.
Sexually transmitted infections
There are several different sexually transmitted diseases (STD), and they all have different symptoms, but two in particular — chlamydia and gonorrhea — may present with cloudy urine, among other symptoms.
If you’re sexually active, under the age of 25, an LGBTQ male, or have sex with multiple partners, we strongly recommend that you undergo regular STD screenings here at Millennium Park Medical Associates. We offer discreet testing so you can take control of your sexual health.
Kidney stones or kidney disease
Kidney stones develop when excess salt and minerals build up inside your urinary tract. This blockage can lead to infection, which can result in cloudy urine.
Kidney disease — any condition that hinders your kidneys’ ability to function properly — can affect your urine in many ways, including causing cloudiness.
Most often, cloudy urine is a temporary condition that corrects itself, but when infection or disease are present, you need medical treatment to avoid progression and eventual damage.
A urinalysis is simple and quick. Schedule an appointment at either of our two Chicago area offices in the Loop and Lakeview neighborhoods. Call or click today.