Kidney And Urologic Diseases

Cloudy Urine when to Worry



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Cloudy urine should not be a source of embarrassment. If you have noticed a cloudy quality to your urine, you may wonder whether to have it checked out by a medical professional. A urinalysis and checkup may be indicated if there are other symptoms present. If there are not, some home care may clear up the problem.

Simple Causes
With either gender, smoky or opaque urine can occur when the person has not gotten enough fluids into his system. Simply drinking more water for a few days may cause the urine to return to its normal light yellow color.

Cloudy urine could be caused by medicines like Ropinirole or Requip used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Certain foods like rhubarb which makes urine slightly brownish in hue and carrots which may color urine a brighter yellow than normal sometimes cause cloudy urine. Large amounts of milk (the excess calcium causing the discolor) can show its presence in cloudy urine.

Gender-Related Causes
If the sufferer is a woman, the cloudiness may stem from normal vaginal discharges. Abnormal vaginal secretions may be Candidiasis (yeast infection) caused usually by the fungus Candida albicans. Other symptoms will be present like localized itching and burning and small white clumpy bits of discharge. Discount store ointments can clear up these infections most of the time.

Gonorrhea, a sexually-transmitted disease in men and women, can cause urine to appear cloudy. A symptom that often combines with this disease is painful or burning urination. Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat gonorrhea, but some strains have developed an antibiotic resistance. Best to talk to your doctor if you suspect this to be the cause.

Prostatitis, inflammation of the prostate gland in men, can cause cloudy urine as well as painful or burning urination, pain in the lower back and genital regions, and, with the acute form, fever and chills. This should be checked out by a doctor.

Urological Problems
Proteinuria, most common in childhood and adolescence, is caused by abnormal amounts of protein in the urine and can be a warning sign of kidney malfunction. Excessive amounts of phosphates or carbonate crystals could be present, making the urine cloudy and indicating the beginnings of kidney stones.

A kidney problem that produces cloudy or bloody urine is kidney stones. Fever, however, is not usually present unless there is an infection. When a person is in the process of passing a kidney stone, they can not get comfortable and may compare the pain as similar to that of giving birth.

Other possible reasons for cloudy or nebulous urine involve the other organs of the urological system itself: the ureters, the bladder, and the urethra. Infections of these organs will produce nebulous urine. The cloudy urine indicates that pus made up of white blood cells (leucocytes), dead cells, and bacteria is being eliminated from the source of the problem. Infections are more serious. All are often accompanied by other symptoms. Most should be taken to a medical professional.  

One of the ways these urinary tract infections may begin is through improper cleaning after a bowel movement: fecal matter gets into the urethra and proceeds up into the bladder. It may spread beyond that if not treated at the onset of symptoms. This occurrence is more common in women. Another way an infection may start is through the use of a standard uncoated catheter. Nursing magazine published a study in 2001 that seems to indicate silver-coated catheters reduced the number of urinary tract infections. This may be something to request should you require catheterization for longer than two days.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) may be tricky to self-diagnose unless you have had one in the past and can recognize the signs. With a UTI you will feel like you have to get to a bathroom immediately. You will feel the urge to urinate quite often but get small amounts and feel pain or burning with each attempt. The urine will be cloudy or have blood in it and will have a very unpleasant smell. As with most infections, the sufferer will have a fever.

When the UTI is confined to the urethra, it is called urethritis. A doctor will treat this condition with antibiotics for one or two weeks, but after the first two days the condition should show signs of improvement. Increasing water intake, which increases urine amounts to cleanse the tract of the infectious bacteria,  and drinking slightly diluted cranberry juice, which acidifies the urine, helps greatly. Another recommended home treatment aid is to drink an 8 ounce glass of water to which has been added one-half teaspoon baking soda. For the time being, eliminate other things from your diet which may irritate the bladder. Wear loose-fitting clothes and apply heat to the lower abdomen.  

If, after two weeks of being treated for urethritis, the condition stays the same or worsens, the infection may have spread. Cystitis is an inflamed or infected bladder and can be the extension of untreated urethritis. It mimics all of the UTI symptoms with the addition that the patient will feel pain or pressure in the bladder or pelvic area, a feeling which is temporarily relieved by drinking more water.

Cystitis and prostatitis left untreated may progress to pyelonephritis, a bacterial kidney infection. Glomerulonephritis, inflammation of the kidney’s internal structure, the part that filters blood, is sometimes due to changes in the immune system.  These are the truly dangerous conditions that can be fatal if left alone. These infections manifest symptoms like any other UTI except the pain is located in the side, back, or groin, the fever is much higher, voiding is painful, and urine content does not decrease. At this point, the kidneys may become so damaged that they begin to shut down. The infection may spread into the circulatory system.

Causes for Medical Intervention
The online medical sites encourage anyone experiencing the following signs to see a doctor:
1) If you have to hurry to get to the bathroom, and not because you waited too long;
2) Pinkish tinged or bloody urine;
3) Urination that is burning or painful;
4) Pain in the side, back, or groin, and;
5) Fever.

In addition if a woman has more than two UTIs a year, further medical analysis may be needed.

For more information:
http://urology.stanford.edu/about/articles/abnormal_urine.html
http://csm.jmu.edu/biology/danie2jc/urinalysis.htm How a urinalysis is done.
http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/sym/cloudy_urine.htm

More about this author: Sandra Petersen

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