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There a few things that can affect the smell and color of urine, such as diet or recent medications. But it can also mean you have a UTI.

Normal, healthy urine is a light, pale yellow with very little odor present. Early in the morning, when first rising from a long night of rest, it may be a brighter yellow due to concentration and less fluid intake. This, too, is perfectly normal.

Suddenly noticing that urine is cloudy or has a strong scent can be upsetting. The mind can imagine almost anything as the culprit, yet most people tend to think the worst-case scenario. Having a clear diagnosis of the cause will ease the mind considerably. The best option is to see a primary care physician. They have the knowledge and the tests that can give you a definitive answer.

In the meantime, the symptoms a patient is experiencing may give a clue as to what the patient is dealing with. There are several reasons urine can appear cloudy, discolored, or strong scented. A UTI (urinary tract infection) is certainly one of them. However, cloudy urine is only one of the symptoms present during a UTI.

Additional UTI symptoms  

  • Pain in the pelvic region, abdomen, or lower back
  • The sudden urge to urinate, but producing very little urine
  • Burning sensation during urination, and the feeling that you haven’t emptied your bladder completely
  • Pink, red or very dark urine that signals the presence of blood
  • Incontinence
  • Lethargy

UTIs are infections that involve the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or urethra. In the worst cases all of these are affected. A UTI is usually caused by E. coli gaining entrance to the urethra and moving into the bladder. A urinalysis will be necessary for diagnosis. Antibiotics are the optimal treatment.

What else could it be?

Only a doctor can provide a definitive answer, but there are other causes for cloudy urine. The following is a short list and the symptoms that accompany this.


This condition is caused by a lack of fluid intake or an illness that forces fluids from the body. It can be brought on by vomiting, diarrhea, extreme exercise, physical labor, or heat. The cure in most cases is simple. Drink water to remain hydrated, especially while exercising or working in the heat.

The symptoms of dehydration are yellow to orange urine, fatigue, confusion, dizziness, dry mouth, dry eyes, and little urination. The burning sensation that accompanies a UTI is not present.

STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection)

The only similarity to a UTI in this instance is the cloudy urine. With an STI the other symptoms will be itching of the genitals, genital pain, rashes, blisters, and sores.


This condition is a common inflammation concerning the vulva and vagina. It causes itching in those areas, a foul discharge that may be discolored or cottage cheese-like in appearance, and has a fishy smell that grows worse after having sex. Sometimes there is painful urination, but the rest of the symptoms do not coincide with a UTI.


This one is for the men only. It involves an inflamed prostate. Many of the symptoms mimic a urinary tract infection. There is burning while urinating, blood in the urine, pelvic pain, and abdominal pain. Other symptoms are present as well. There can be pain in the genitals and the perineum. And, lastly, there will be pain during ejaculation.


Diabetes is caused by the body’s inability to break down and regulate sugars. In type one, the pancreas produces little or no insulin.

Cloudy urine is just one small sign of diabetes. The more dire ones are prolonged thirst that cannot be satisfied, fatigue, sudden weight loss without dieting, frequent infections, slow healing wounds, dizziness, and night sweats.

Kidney Stones

Pus in the urine can make it appear white or cloudy. This condition will also bring forth chills, fever, pain, a foul smell to the urine, and bloody urine.


Even what an individual eats can change the color of urine. A diet high in vitamin D or phosphorus can make the urine seem to be cloudy. Asparagus will give it a strong odor, as can coffee. Beetroot will make it appear to have blood contained in it. There are medications that change the color of urine as well.

Matching the symptoms to one of these conditions does not necessarily mean that is what the patient will be diagnosed as having. Seek a doctor’s opinion. Yet, patients may be able to eliminate some of these conditions from their worry list by comparing the symptoms to their own. Chances are that if a person thinks they have a UTI, they’re probably correct.

Preventing cloudy urine   

If the cloudy urine is due to a UTI, there are ways to avoid the occurrence in the future.

  • Flush bacteria from the bladder by drinking lots of water
  • Empty the bladder as often as possible, making sure nothing is left inside
  • Ladies, be sure to wipe from front to back and keep the area clean
  • Avoid scented female hygiene products that can cause irritation (douches, powders, deodorant sprays, tampons)
  • Take a shower instead of a bath to avoid sitting in bacteria washed from the body
  • Make sure any sexual partners are properly cleansed
  • Urinate after sex to wash away bacteria

How to deal with a UTI

Once diagnosed by a doctor, a UTI can be eradicated quickly. Antibiotic treatment for simple bladder or urethra infections lasts for three days. If the UTI has become a kidney infection, then the duration will be approximately seven to fourteen days.

The symptoms are often painful, always annoying, and sometimes debilitating. They interrupt a busy day and make it hard to function at the usual speed. There are ways to ease the pain and avoid some of the suffering, allowing patients to get on with their lives.

At the first sign of a UTI, and after the diagnosis, the patient will need to drink two to four quarts of water a day, thus flushing the offensive bacteria from the body. Over the counter pain medications, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, can take most of the pain away. Phenazopyridine, commonly known as Azo, can relieve the burning during urination. Heating pads or hot water bottles applied to the abdomen aid with inflammation and bring some relief.


Don’t suffer with pain or worry over cloudy urine. Chances are there is a simple explanation and a quick cure available. Call a doctor and allow a urinalysis. The test is easy and painless. It will provide the information that’s needed for a proper diagnosis.

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