We’ve often been told to keep a close watch on the color of our urine. And why not, urine (and particularly its color) has been a powerful diagnostic tool since the earliest days of medicine. The color of our urine reveals various vital information about our health and well-being. So, while everyone’s urine looks different, it should always be on the yellow spectrum, ideally towards the paler yellow side – an indication that our kidneys are healthy and functioning properly.
But sometimes, our pee looks cloudy, unclear, and little opaque, which can be pretty unsettling as cloudy urine could be an indication of an underlying infection or a health problem. But what causes it? Is every cloudy urine a reason to worry? How can you stay protected? When should you talk to your doctor? In this article, we’ll help you find answers to all the questions that erupt when you experience a cloudy pee.
What is Cloudy Urine?
The urine that does not have its characteristic yellow, clear appearance and looks turbid or foamy is often referred to as cloudy urine.
What Causes Cloudy Urine?
Well, there are a number of health problems that could lead to cloudy urine or discoloration of the urine. These include:
- Urinary tract infection
- Kidney stones
- Prostrate issues
- Sexually transmitted infections
However, cloudy urine is not worrisome at all the times, unless it is accompanied by pain, swelling and other discomforting signs and symptoms. Many a times, discolored or cloudy urine could also be due to the foods and drinks that we consume during the day.
Foods and Drinks That Cause Cloudy Urine
Food items that are rich in phosphorus, purines, salt, and sugar could lead to excessive uric acid in your pee, resulting in cloudy urine. These food items include:
1. Milk and Milk Products
Milk and its byproducts are a rich source of phosphorus – a mineral that’s necessary for optimal bone health. People who consume excessive amount of milk or dairy products in their diet may experience cloudy or murky urine due to the excessive release of phosphorus in the urine.
As in the case of dairy, meat, including beef and poultry, is also high in phosphorus and could cause your urine to appear darker, concentrated and cloudier. Processed and cured varieties of meat like sausages, bacon, salami and pepperoni are particularly high in salt, which increases thirst and leads to dehydration – a significant health condition that leads to cloudy urine.
Seafood, including shellfish, sardines and anchovies, are high in purines, a group of compounds that are converted into uric acid by our body. When uric acid in the body exceeds its normal values, it is secreted in the urine, a condition known as hyperuricosuria, which leads to cloudy urine. To outweigh the possible downsides and reap the health benefits of seafood, you must always opt for varieties that are lower in purines, for example salmon, halibut, and flounder.
Red meat too is exceedingly high in purines and should thus be consumed in limited amount.
4. Salty Foods
Processed food items like chips, pizzas, burgers, salted popcorns, and canned soups could also be the culprit behind your murky pee. High in salt and other unhealthy ingredients, they dehydrate your body and affect your body’s fluid balance, leading to dark, cloudy urine.
5. Sugary Drinks
High sugar intake – through foods and drinks – is linked to hyperuricosuria. Fructose, a significant component of sodas, sugary drinks, packaged desserts, salad dressings, granola bars, candies, and crackers, leads to the excessive production of uric acid in your body, which eventually releases in the urine and leads to cloudy urine.
Alcohol is diuretic. It causes your kidneys to release more water and suppresses the hormone that prevents urination. This is turn leads to excessive loss of water from the body and causes dehydration and cloudy urination. That’s why, to prevent alcohol-related dehydration, it is always advised to limit your alcohol consumption and drink water alongside alcoholic beverages.
7. Tea and Coffee
Coffee and certain varieties of tea, such as green tea, black tea, and oolong tea, are rich in caffeine, which has diuretic effect on the kidneys and leads to excessive urine excretion. Consuming excessive amounts of caffeinated drinks may cause dehydration and cloudiness of urine.
Ways to Prevent Cloudy Urine
To get rid of your pungently smelling, foggy pee and avoid unwanted trips to the hospital, you must inculcate healthy eating habits in your everyday routine. They can not only help you stay healthy but can also help you ensure the proper functioning of your kidneys. So, make sure to:
- Drink ample amount of water throughout the day to dilute your urine and prevent dehydration
- Choose green veggies and fruits over unhealthy processed food varieties
- Say no to processed juices and carbonated beverages that are the storehouse of sugar and empty calories
- Limit your intake of high purine foods like red meat, certain seafood, and foods that are rich in high fructose corn syrup
- Consume tea, coffee, and alcohol in moderation
- Make sure to drink plenty of water after consuming tea or coffee to avoid dehydration
When to See a Doctor?
If your cloudy urine does not go away even after inculcating healthy eating habits, or is accompanied by pain, foul smell, blood or discharge, you must get in touch with your primary care physician at the earliest. It could be a sign of some underlying medical condition that requires expert medical intervention.
At EPIC Health, we offer comprehensive assistance to help you get rid of cloudy urine. Our expert urologists carefully evaluate your existing health conditions to score out any underlying cause of the disease and provide you expert medicinal and dietary support to help relieve your symptoms. Through personalized diets and counseling sessions, they can help you adopt good lifestyle habits for your absolute health and well-being.