We want our urine to be like the sky on a clear, sunny day: free of clouds.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want you to panic if you ever have cloudy urine.
There are several potential causes of this.
But it’s always good to rule out any of the more serious pathologies that could be underlying cloudy urine.
You may be wondering, “what does cloudy urine mean?”
Read on to learn more about what they are, what foods cause cloudy urine, and how to prevent cloudiness in urine.
What is cloudy urine?
What exactly does cloudy urine look like? Cloudy pee could also be described as murky urine.
It is cloudy yellow urine that is no longer transparent. Urine may be yellow or colorless. There are several potential causes of cloudy urine, which we will discuss next.
What causes cloudy urine in men?
So what does it mean when your pee is cloudy? There are several potential causes of cloudy urine in men.
These include the following:
- Urinary tract infections
- Kidney infections
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Kidney stones (buildup of calcium phosphate)
- Diabetes or kidney damage resulting from diabetes
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Foods and drinks that cause cloudy urine
Dairy products such as milk and ice cream are high in phosphorus and purines. These compounds can lead to hazy urine.
If you consume high amounts of phosphorus, your body may excrete it through the urine. This may be one reason why your urine is murky. However, this is rare in the general population.
Certain meats and meat products can also be high in phosphorus. This means that excess phosphorus can be released through your urine, causing it to become cloudy.
Highly processed foods or cured meats can also cause cloudy urine due to their high salt content.
Consuming too much salt can make you more thirsty. This can lead to dehydration. Can dehydration cause cloudy urine? Absolutely. This might make your urine darker, more highly concentrated, and lead to cloudiness.
Some of the saltiest meat products include the following:
Certain types of seafood are a source of purines. This is especially true of anchovies, shellfish, and sardines.
The body turns purines into uric acid. If you eat a lot of foods that are high in purines, this can lead to hyperuricosuria.
Hyperuricosuria is high levels of uric acid in the urine. This may cause you to notice that your pee is cloudy.
Sugary foods and beverages
Eating or drinking lots of fructose can also lead to hyperuricosuria. This is because when your body metabolizes fructose, this enhances the production of uric acid.
If you eat lots of foods containing fructose, you can end up with cloudy urine. Foods such as fruit, honey, and molasses contain fructose.
You can also find fructose in high fructose corn syrup. This is the main ingredient in soda and other sugary beverages.
You can also find fructose in the following food items:
- Packaged desserts
- Certain salad dressings
- Some condiments
- Granola bars
Why is urine cloudy after eating salty foods? Here’s the thing: if you consume foods containing too much salt, this can impact your body’s fluid balance. As a result, urinary systems like to hang onto more water.
If you are not drinking enough water when eating salty foods, you can get dehydrated. Dehydration can lead to cloudy urine and less frequent urination.
Salty foods to avoid or keep in moderation include the following:
- Deli meats
- Cured meats
- Canned soups
- Salty popcorn
Foods high in vitamin C
This may be news to you since we often think of vitamin C as being good for us. If you are prone to kidney stones, foods high in vitamin C can contribute to the formation of stones. This includes foods such as kale and cauliflower.
This begs the question: can supplements cause cloudy urine? You can also get cloudy urine from vitamins if you are supplementing with vitamin C.
Foods that contain arylalkylamines
Foods that contain a compound called arylalkylamines can lead to urinary tract infections or bladder infections. These include foods such as bananas, cheese, nuts, onions, yogurt, and raisins.
When we talk about what foods cause cloudy urine, it’s important to also discuss beverages. Alcohol is a diuretic. This means that it signals to the kidneys to excrete more urine.
It does this by suppressing a hormone that prevents urination. This is why you may find that you urinate more frequently when consuming alcohol.
This can also lead to dehydration. The day after consuming alcohol, you may notice that you have cloudy urine in the morning.
This morning cloudy urine is due to the dehydration you are likely experiencing. Cloudy urine after drinking alcohol is an indication that you need to consume more water.
Beverages containing caffeine, such as coffee and caffeinated tea, can sometimes lead to cloudy urine.
This is because caffeine, like alcohol, is a diuretic. This means that caffeine causes the kidneys to increase the release of urine and waste products.
That is why a side effect of drinking coffee is frequent urination. Caffeinated teas include black tea, green tea, and oolong tea. Other foods that increase urine output include chia seeds and flaxseeds.
If you find you are asking yourself, “Is cloudy pee normal?” you may also want to evaluate the medications you are on as a potential cause since there are certain medications that cause cloudy urine. This is also true if you start new medications and notice cloudy urine after surgery.
How to prevent cloudy urine
In order to prevent cloudy urine and keep cloudy urine clear, be sure to do the following:
- Eat less salty meats.
- Choose seafood that is lower in purines, such as salmon, flounder, and halibut.
- Keep your salt intake to less than one teaspoon (six grams) per day. This is approximately 2300 milligrams maximum per day.
- Consume plenty of water to ensure you remain well hydrated.
- If you drink coffee or caffeinated tea, keep these beverages in moderation.
- After having any coffee or caffeinated tea, make sure you drink lots of water.
- Limit your alcohol consumption to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men maximum.
When to see a doctor
If you see foggy pee, it may be harmless. However, it is important to rule out any serious health conditions or health problems.
Please be sure to see a doctor if your pee looks cloudy along with the presence of the following symptoms:
- A foul smell
These symptoms are potentially cause for concern because they could indicate a deeper issue, such as an infection.
You should now have a good idea of how to get rid of cloudy pee. If you have cloudy urine and any of the symptoms above, it’s important that you reach out to your doctor right away to rule out serious conditions.
If you have cloudy urine and no other symptoms, it’s still a good idea to reach out to your health care provider and get checked out.
For example, if you have cloudy pee and no pain, it may still be worth a trip to your health care provider.
In the meantime, you may want to avoid the foods that are known cloudy urine causes. Consume lower purine foods, and avoid overly salty food, as well as caffeine. And be sure to hydrate!