Cloudy White Urine

What does it mean when your urine looks like this?

Last reviewed: 19 Dec 2018

Man looking up the symptom of having cloudy white-looking urine
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Having urine that is cloudy or looks like it has white bits in it can be a symptom of an infection or another health condition. If you have any concerns, it’s usually a good idea to get symptoms like this checked just to make sure there’s nothing seriously wrong.

What does it mean if your urine is cloudy or has white bits in it?

There are a number of reasons for getting cloudy white urine. Noticing cloudy or white bits in your urine when you go to the toilet, isn’t itself necessarily a cause for concern.

A milky quality to your urine is typically caused by your body sending an increase in white blood cells to fight an infection. When these white blood exit your body via your urine, the cells mix, and your urine appears cloudy.

The most common reasons for cloudy white urine are:

  • A urinary tract infection (UTI), which may also cause a bad smell
  • Vaginitis (an infection of the vagina)
  • Dehydration
  • Diet
  • Pregnancy
  • Kidney problems
  • Mucus, bacteria, fat, or crystals in the urine
  • Certain chronic diseases

If you get cloudy white or milky urine repeatedly, it could be a sign of a more serious medical problem, like chlamydia or gonorrhoea, or prostate problems.

Is having cloudy white urine dangerous or an emergency?

Having cloudy white urine isn’t necessarily a medical emergency, but it could be a symptom of a serious medical condition. This means that ignoring it could have dangerous consequences.

If you’ve had unprotected sex then it could be a symptom of an STI. If it is then you should consider testing and treatment to avoid risking long-term health problems or infecting other people.

If you are concerned about the colour of your urine, or are repeatedly experiencing cloudy white urine, you should visit your local nurse or GP for medical advice. There could very well be an underlying issue causing it, which will need to be treated.

What if you don’t feel pain or have any other symptoms?

Even if you don’t feel pain or you aren’t experiencing any other symptoms than the cloudy white urine, it’s still important to get medical help. This is because certain medical conditions (like gonorrhoea or chlamydia) rarely display any symptoms at all, so they are easy to miss.

If you are experiencing any form of pain, specifically around the pelvis or abdomen, or pain when you go to the toilet, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Never ignore painful symptoms that persist, as it could be a sign of something dangerous.

If you happen to have white cloudy urine as a one-off, with no other symptoms, and you have no concerns about your health otherwise, it’s perfectly possible that it is not related to a specific health condition. If you have any doubts or concerns, then you should still talk to a doctor about one-off instances of cloudy urine.

Is this kind of urine any different between genders?

Anyone can experience cloudy white urine. However, there are certain instances (for example: in pregnancy or with prostate problems) where your physical sexual characteristics will make you more or less likely to get it.

In anyone, when cloudy white urine is the symptom of an underlying sexual health infection (like chlamydia or gonorrhoea), if left untreated, it can have serious effects on your health.

STI’s can cause pelvic infections, complications with pregnancy, fertility problems, and infections of other organs of your reproductive tract. As such, any signs or symptoms of an STI should be treated very seriously. Always practice safe sex with a new partner, and make sure you are getting tested regularly.

Can you test cloudy white urine at home?

This depends on what you think is causing the changes to your urine.

If you think it’s possible that your cloudy urine is caused by an STI, you can order a chlamydia and gonorrhoea test kit online very easily, using Zava’s online doctor service. Simply fill out a brief medical questionnaire and one of our licensed doctors will review your order. Our pharmacy will then send you whichever kit is suitable.

But, if you think it isn’t caused by an STI, the only way to test your urine is by visiting your local nurse or GP for further testing and a consultation.

In any case, if you are worried about the colour or quality of your urine, visit your doctor for more advice.

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Dr Kathryn Basford is a qualified GP who works as a GP in London, as well as with Zava. She graduated from the University of Manchester and completed her GP training through Whipps Cross Hospital in London.

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Article created: 19 Dec 2018

Last reviewed: 19 Dec 2018

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