Cloudy Urine with Strong Odor

by Sam Malone

An average person produces over 6 cups of urine on a daily basis. For most, the ritual of going to the toilet is so common that very less attention is given to it unless there is a sudden change in the color or smell of the urine.

What is normal urine?
Urine consists of waste material that has been filtered by your kidneys along with excess water that is not required by the body. The color of normal urine can range from clear to pale yellow to a deep orange. If the concentration of waste products to water is high, the color may deepen considerably. This depends on several factors such as how much water you have consumed along with what is included in your diet. For example, eating beets, rhubarb, or blackberries can turn your urine pink while oranges and carrots can make it orange. Other things that can harmlessly affect the color of your urine include medications and vitamin supplements (vitamin B supplements can turn urine to a bright yellow-green color). Thus on its own the color of your urine need not necessarily point to the fact that you have a health problem.

What does it mean if the urine is cloudy and with a strong smell?

In most cases, there is a simple reason for cloudy or strong smelling urine. As mentioned before, food, medications and the amount of water you drink can affect the color and smell of your urine. Urine also tends to be cloudy first thing in the morning since no liquids were drunk for several hours. This is totally harmless and is caused by the build up of phosphate crystals. If you eat a large meal or drink a lot of milk that is high in phosphates, your urine may turn cloudy as well. Cloudy urine may also be caused by the presence of bacteria, mucus, and white or red blood cells or even ejaculatory fluid. Unless your urine is persistently cloudy and is accompanied by other symptoms, there is no need to worry.
 
What are the symptoms to look out for?
If you suffer from any of the following symptoms along with persistently cloudy and / or strong smelling urine, contact your health care provider at the earliest:
  • Pain along the back, abdomen and sides
  • Urine that changes color and becomes dark and brown colored or tinged with pink or red
  • Incontinence
  • Constant need to urinate or a decrease in urination
  • Foul smell urine
  • Pain when urinating
  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • Excessive feelings of hunger
  • High blood pressure
  • Fever
  • Pain or stiffness in the joints
  • Swelling of the legs, arms, and face
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Symptoms of dehydration such as dizziness, fatigue and dry mouth
  • Vaginal or penile discharge accompanying cloudy urine
If any of the following symptoms occur, contact 911 immediately as these may signify a life-threatening medical condition:
  • Blood in the urine
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion, hallucinations, delusions, lethargy or delirium
  • High fever
  • Inability to urinate
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Severe pain in the abdomen or back
What are some of the possible reasons for cloudy urine?
Cloudy urine in men and women may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. These include:
  • Urinary tract infections (UTI)
  • Kidney stones
  • Bad kidneys
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Certain autoimmune disorders
  • Inflammation of the urinary tract
  • Diabetes
  • Preeclampsia
  • Heart disease
  • Hepatitis A / B / C
  • Kidney infection (pyelonephritis)
  • Dehydration or heat exposure (especially in the case of children)
  • Iodine supplements
  • Thalassemia
  • Porphyria (sensitivity to sunlight)
  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Bladder cancer
  • Cystitis
  • Kidney failure
  • Nephritis
  • Prostatitis
  • Leukemia and lymphoma
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted diseases
  • Pregnancy
  • In females, cloudy urine if accompanied by a strong odor may signify a vaginal yeast infection or bacterial infection such as Candidiasis.
What is the cure for cloudy urine?
Addressing the cause of change in urine color is your first priority. Eliminate the foods you suspect may be causing the problem for a few days and check to see if there is any difference. If not or if the cloudy urine is accompanied by any of the warning symptoms, contact your doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. In most cases, a simple course of antibiotics can clear up the underlying infection and remedy the situation.

What are the complications that may arise?
Depending on the cause of cloudy urine and strong odor, several complications may arise if the condition or underlying medical reason is left untreated. It is important to minimize your risks by following the treatment plan as prescribed by your doctor or else, cases of cloudy urine may lead to life-threatening conditions such as:
  • Diabetic coma
  • Eclampsia
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Ketoacidosis
  • Seizures
  • Shock
  • Spread of cancer
  • Urosepsis and septicemia
References:
http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/what_symptoms_of_urinary_tract_infections_000036_3.htm#ixzz1wqL1gocG
http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Womens_Health_Watch/2010/June/urine-color-and-odor-changes

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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