Cloudy urine is not always a cause for concern, but when accompanied by headaches, fatigue, pain while urinating, vaginal discharge with a foul odor, or aches in the lower belly or pelvic area, it is usually a sign that something else is going on in the body and needs addressing.

If you’re not sure why your pee is looking murky, keep reading for the 5 common causes of cloudy urine and what you can do about it. 

Cloudy Pee Meaning Explained

Cloudy urine can be a sign of various underlying conditions. The five main causes include dehydration, urinary tract infections (UTIs), vaginitis, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and kidney-related issues. Each cause affects the clarity and appearance of urine due to factors like bacterial presence, dehydration levels, or inflammation in the urinary tract.

1. Dehydration Causes Cloudy Urine

When it comes to dehydration and cloudy urine it’s helpful to understand that urine is a combination of water, salts, and excrement. So when you don’t drink enough water, urine becomes more concentrated and irritates the bladder, resulting in murky rather than clear pee. 

Additional Symptoms

If you are dehydrated you might also notice symptoms like headaches, fatigue, dizziness, or a dry mouth. 

What You Can Do About It

Studies report that over 76% of Americans are regularly dehydrated due to the excessive consumption of sodas and sugary drinks instead of water. If you notice any of the above symptoms along with cloudy urine, set yourself the goal of drinking 1.5 to 2 liters of water per day to stay hydrated.  

2. Cloudy Urine Caused by A Urinary Tract Infection 

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is considered one of the most common infections in the human body and is closely linked to the appearance of cloudy urine. In the case of a UTI, cloudy urine is caused when tiny bacteria known as microbes enter the urinary tract, usually via the rectum, or during sex.

UTIs can also occur due to dehydration because a lack of water means toxins (and harmful bacteria) are not flushed from the body and can therefore irritate the bladder.  

Additional Symptoms

As well as cloudy urine, symptoms associated with a urinary tract infection include a frequent urge to pee, a burning sensation while urinating, and pain in the lower belly or pelvic area. 

What You Can Do About It

A UTI will not go away on its own and the longer it is left untreated the more serious the infection will become, possibly causing permanent damage to your bladder. If you notice the above-mentioned symptoms along with the appearance of cloudy, or milk-colored urine, make an appointment with your doctor who will prescribe antibiotics as treatment. 

    3. Cloudy Urine Due to Vaginitis

    Vaginitis is an umbrella term that covers the various symptoms associated with irritated, infected, or inflamed female genitals. Causes of vaginitis include conditions like Bacterial Vaginosis (BV), yeast infections, hormonal fluctuations, sexually transmitted infections, as well as skin reactions to soaps or detergents, pelvic injuries, wearing damp pants after the gym, or pants that are too tight. 

    Additional Symptoms

    In addition to cloudy urine, common symptoms of vaginitis include vaginal discharge with a foul odor, itching, redness, swelling, and pain when urinating. Additional symptoms like blisters or cracked skin on the outer lips of the vagina (vulva) can also occur, as well as light vaginal bleeding or spotting.

    What You Can Do About It

    Underlying conditions that cause vaginitis, like BV and yeast infections, will require medication as treatment, so it’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor if any of the above symptoms occur with cloudy urine. For home treatments, a cold compress can reduce swelling of the vulva and soothe irritation.

    Wearing loose clothing instead of tight pants and cotton underwear instead of synthetic materials will allow air to circulate and prevent a humid environment around the vagina where existing infections could thrive. 

    4. Cloudy Urine Caused By A Sexually Transmitted Infection

    Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like trichomoniasis, chlamydia, gonorrhea and genital herpes can cause cloudy pee during the early stages of the infection when vaginal discharge contaminates the urine, as well as right through the chronic stages of the infection when scar tissue prevents the bladder from emptying.  

    Additional Symptoms

    In addition to cloudy urine, symptoms of STIs are similar to those of vaginitis, resulting in vaginal discharge with a foul odor, itching, redness, swelling, and pain when urinating, as well as uncomfortable sores on the vulva and sometimes acute abdominal pain.

    Up to 85% of women experience no symptoms at all and are unaware that they are STI carriers until a test is performed. However, when patients do experience symptoms, they typically begin between 5 and 28 days after infection. For other patients, symptoms might not present for months or even years. 

    What You Can Do About It

    STIs require antibiotics as treatment and the symptoms will only worsen without them. If left untreated, an STI could cause permanent damage to your reproductive system and result in long-term fertility issues.

    Once you are treated, your sexual partner(s) should also be tested and treated to avoid infecting you again, or other partners. And it is also advised that patients with an STI schedule a follow-up test three months after antibiotics were prescribed to ensure the infection has fully cleared. 

    To avoid contracting an STI, practice safe sex with new partners, or insist that both you and your partners are tested before engaging in unprotected sex. It’s also imperative to protect any penetrative sex toys with a condom during use and thoroughly clean all sex toys after use.

    5. Cloudy Urine Caused by Kidney Stones

    Kidney stones form when urine contains more crystallizing materials (calcium, uric acid, or oxalate) than the water in your urine is capable of diluting. These sharp spiky stones then become painful when they are passing through the small tube that connects the bladder to the kidneys, called a ureter. 

    Cloudy urine caused by kidney stones can be due to a few reasons; the first is blood in your urine due to tiny scratches in the ureter. Harmful bacteria within kidney stones can also result in a UTI, which causes cloudy urine. And if the stones break into little pieces while being passed, urine will appear opaque or cloudy too. 

    Additional Symptoms

    When a kidney stone is passing through the ureter, it can inhibit the flow of urine, causing the kidney to swell and the ureter to contract tightly. Symptoms might include sharp pain in the back and ribs as well as in the abdomen.

    The pain might also come and go and the intensity of it can fluctuate as the stone moves through the urinary tract. If the kidney stone contains bacteria and an infection sets in, fever and chills can also ensue.  

    Passing a kidney stone feels similar to the symptoms associated with a UTI with abdominal pains as well as discomfort in the groin, a persistent urge to pee, and a burning sensation when you do pee.

    What You Can Do About It

    If you notice symptoms that signal the possibility of a kidney stone, drink plenty of water to help the stone to pass and contact your doctor for a consultation to rule out any infection. Depending on the severity of your condition, your doctor may prescribe pain relievers or medication to help you pass the stone. 

    To prevent kidney stones in the future, drink 1-2 liters of water daily to maintain diluted urine that can keep kidney stones from forming. 


    Although cloudy urine is not always something to worry about, additional symptoms can signal an underlying condition that may need treatment. If you experience any of the additional symptoms associated with the 5 most common causes of cloudy urine discussed above, contact your doctor for a consultation.

    If cloudy urine is a recurring issue, you might want to consider one of the above-mentioned natural supplements to improve your overall vaginal health.    


    Health Benefits Times -

    European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences - A promising support for acute urinary tract infections in women. A pilot study.

    National Center for Biotechnology Information - Probiotics for prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections in women: a review of the evidence from microbiological and clinical studies


    National Center for Biotechnology Information – Clinicians' use of Intravaginal Boric Acid Maintenance Therapy for Recurrent Vulvovaginal Candidiasis and Bacterial Vaginosis -

    National Center for Biotechnology Information - Treating vaginitis with probiotics in non-pregnant females -

    National Kidney Foundation - Kidney Stones -

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