Urinal in front of yellow tiled wall


What causes cloudy urine in men?


When you wee, your urine should be clear and light yellow to amber in colour. There are a few reasons why your urine might be cloudy instead. 

1. Urinary tract infection (UTI)

UTIs are a common cause of cloudy urine. Other symptoms of UTIs are blood in your urine (giving it a pink or red colour), not being able to completely empty your bladder or feeling like you need to urinate often, pain, or smelly or dark-coloured urine.
UTIs are usually easily treated with antibiotics, but if they are severe, they can cause kidney infections. If a kidney infection is untreated, it can lead to permanent kidney damage.

2. Dehydration

Failing to drink enough water or losing fluid because of vomiting, diarrhoea, or sweating can cause dehydration and result in cloudy urine. Drinking water can usually correct this. 

3. Sexually transmitted infection (STI)

Gonorrhoea and chlamydia are common STIs that can cause cloudy urine. Other symptoms of these STIs include genital pain.
These STIs can be prevented by using a condom during sex and can be treated with antibiotics.

4. Prostatitis

Inflammation of the prostate gland can cause cloudy urine. Prostatitis can also cause pain, especially during urination, or a general feeling of being unwell. If a bacterial infection causes prostatitis, antibiotics might successfully treat it.

5. Kidney stones

The build-up of minerals in the body can cause small crystals to form in the kidneys and can cause cloudy urine. Other symptoms of kidney stones are kidney pain, pain during urination, fever or chills, blood in the urine or foul-smelling urine.
Kidney stones can be excruciating and, in some cases, can require surgery.

6. Diabetes

Diabetes, or kidney damage from diabetes, can cause cloudy urine. Other symptoms of diabetes include feeling thirsty, urinating a lot, and tiredness.
Diabetes has serious consequences for your health and requires long-term management by you and your healthcare team.

7. Diet

Some foods – such as dairy, meat, seafood and leafy greens – have high levels of molecules that cause cloudy urine. 

Cloudy urine once or twice is usually nothing to worry about, but if it happens regularly or all the time, or you have other symptoms, you should see your doctor because it can be a symptom of serious health problems. It’s better to get help from your doctor sooner rather than later if your urine is cloudy because, if the cause is something serious, catching it early will lead to the best outcome.

A/Prof Tim Moss
A/Prof Tim Moss

Associate Professor Tim Moss has PhD in physiology and more than 20 years’ experience as a biomedical research scientist. Tim stepped away from his successful academic career at the end of 2019, to apply his skills in turning complicated scientific and medical knowledge into information that all people can use to improve their health and wellbeing. Tim has written for crikey.com and Scientific American’s Observations blog, which is far more interesting than his authorship of over 150 academic publications. He has studied science communication at the Alan Alda Centre for Communicating Science in New York, and at the Department of Biological Engineering Communication Lab at MIT in Boston.

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