White Particles in Urine: UTIs, Kidney Stones & Other Causes

The color and clarity of your urine can tell you about the health of your urinary system. 

Normal urine should appear clear and range from pale yellow to amber-colored, depending on your hydration status. 

Finding abnormal sediments or particles in your urine can often be unsettling. Often, these white stuff floating in urine or white discharge cause your urine to appear cloudy.

These white sediments could be benign but could also indicate an underlying health problem. 

Urine Appearance & Color Chart

Depending on what the causes are, white discharge in your urine can take many shapes and forms.

AppearanceColorPossible causes
Foamy or frothyWhiteFast urine stream
Protein in the urine or kidney diseases
CreamyWhite or yellowish-whiteUrinary tract infections
Stringy, wispy, mucus-likeWhitish or clearUrinary tract infections 
Vaginal discharge
Semen from semen leakage or retrograde ejaculation
Crystal-like or sandy Whitish, variesStones in the urinary tract

1. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) 

UTIs are a common cause of white strings in your urine. You may notice whitish discharge or sediments in your urine when you have a UTI. Your urine may also appear cloudy or turbid and may even contain blood. 

Women have a higher risk of getting a Urinary Tract Infection than men. It is estimated that more than 50% of women will experience at least one episode of UTI during their lifetime. 

The risk of getting UTIs increases when you have poor hygiene, structural abnormalities of the urinary tract, being sexually active, or underlying conditions like diabetes, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and kidney stones. 

Examples of UTIs include:

  • Cystitis – inflammation of the bladder
  • Pyelonephritis – infection of the kidneys
  • Urethritis – infection of the urethra
  • Prostatitis (affecting males) – infection of the prostate
  • Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) – infection to the urinary system caused by prolonged urinary catheter use. A urinary catheter helps people with difficulty peeing naturally to drain urine from the bladder.

2. Prostatitis

The prostate gland sits below the bladder and helps produce semen. In prostatitis, your prostate becomes swollen. 

White cells and thick penile discharge can get passed out and mixed into your urine when you have prostatitis.

Prostatitis can be caused by bacteria from urine infecting the prostate. It can also be caused by nerve damage to your urinary tract, commonly from stress, past UTIs, or trauma to the groin region.

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3. Sexually transmitted illnesses (STIs)

STIs can cause sediment in your urine. STIs are transmitted through bodily fluids, often via sexual contact. They can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. 

According to the CDC, more than 20 known types of Sexually Transmitted Illnesses exist. In the United States, more than 20 million people are infected yearly. 

Generally, teenagers and young adults are at a higher risk of contracting STIs because they are more likely to have multiple sex partners or indulge in unsafe sex. 

Street drug users using contaminated needles are also at risk because STIs can transmit via infected blood. 

Some examples of STIs are:

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Genital herpes

4. Kidney diseases or disorders

Though only the size of your fist, your kidneys do a lot for your body. They are responsible for removing waste products from the blood, maintaining electrolyte levels, and regulating blood pressure

You may see signs of frothy or foamy urine if something goes wrong within the kidney because protein is also being excreted into the urine. Protein in your urine is also known as proteinuria. 

Foamy urine has multiple layers of small to medium bubbles that persist. If the layer appears only on top or disappears quickly, it is considered normal and could be due to a fast urine stream. 

There are many causes of foamy urine, such as stress, dehydration, and acute illnesses. 

Foamy urine can also be associated with more severe problems involving the kidneys, such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Nephrotic syndrome
  • Lupus nephritis
  • Inflammation of the kidney structures like glomerulonephritis and interstitial nephritis.

5. Bladder Stones

Kidney or bladder stones can occur when minerals in your urine crystalize, creating tiny stones that will gradually grow. 

Substances within the kidney, such as calcium, oxalate, and uric acid, can form small crystals, which gradually increase in size, forming stones. 

Bladder stones usually occur when your bladder is not completely emptied. The urine that remains in the bladder develops crystals. 

Your urine may also lack inhibitors preventing crystals from sticking together. This condition creates an ideal environment for stones to form. 

Kidney or bladder stones can remain in your urinary tract for years or decades without causing symptoms or damage. 

Small stones will eventually be passed out. However, larger stones may require surgical procedures to remove them. 

6. Semen leakage or retrograde ejaculation

One of the most common causes of semen leakage is urinating after masturbation or sexual intercourse. 

Another condition that can cause semen to be mixed in the urine is retrograde ejaculation.

Retrograde ejaculation happens when the muscle around the neck of the bladder fails to contract during orgasm. 

This results in semen backflowing and entering the bladder. Thus, your semen will be passed out together with your urine. 

The risks of having semen leakage or retrograde ejaculation include:

  • Urinary incontinence
  • Past infections like UTIs or STIs
  • Prostate problems 
  • Injuries to the nervous system
  • Underlying conditions like diabetes

7. Pregnancy

Vaginal secretions, including cervical mucus, are a normal discharge to maintain the health of the vagina. 

The shift in your hormones can occur during certain phases of the menstrual cycle or pregnancy, changing the color, texture, and amount of your discharge. 

However, a change in the amount of vaginal may indicate pregnancy, especially if you have missed periods or are experiencing other signs of early pregnancy. 

During pregnancy, your hormone levels fluctuate, making your cervix produce more mucus. This vaginal discharge can get mixed into your urine. 

While it is normal to have more discharge during pregnancy, you should take note of any other signs like itching or painful urination, or if your discharge is foul-smelling, yellow, or greenish. 

These could be signs of an infection. You should consult your doctor immediately if you suspect an infection during pregnancy. 

8. Dehydration

Being dehydrated may cause your urine to turn dark or cloudy, sometimes even forming tiny crystals in your urine. 

You may also notice bubbles forming in your urine. You would also urinate less because your kidneys are not producing more urine. 

Dehydration happens when you are not drinking enough fluids or losing too much bodily fluid. 

There are many causes of dehydration, like diarrhea, vomiting, and excessive exercise. 

One way to stay hydrated is to drink adequate fluids daily. You should drink at least 9 cups of water daily and more if you are physically active or exposed to heat or warm climates. 

9. Side effects of certain medications

Sediments in urine or cloudy urine can sometimes be due to a medication side effect, especially with prolonged use of certain medications. 

These medications include certain antiviral drugs, antibiotics, steroids, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), and diuretics. It would be best to discuss the side effects of your medications with your doctor. 

Read on to learn more about these white particles in your urine and what they could mean.

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If you’re like many men that use the formula, you’ll see a reduction in the number of times you get up to go to the bathroom to urinate, plus see an improvement in the flow of your urine.

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Is it normal to have white discharge in my urine?

It depends. Urinary changes reflect changes in our bodies. It could be normal systemic changes like during pregnancy, where hormone levels fluctuate and cause changes in discharge. 

It is also normal to see white bubbles on the surface of the urine that disappears quickly because fast urine stream can cause bubbles to appear.

Other times, white particles in your urine could be abnormal. They could indicate an ongoing infection, stress, or dehydration. It could also be caused by something more serious such as a kidney disease or disorder. 

What causes white stuff floating in my urine?

White particles or sediments in urine can stem from a variety of sources. Although they may appear benign at times, they can also signal an underlying condition. Recognizing the root cause is crucial for the proper course of treatment.

What accompanying symptoms can I have? 

Some of the most common accompanying symptoms of sediments in your urine are bloody urine and painful urination. 

Having blood in your urine is also known as hematuria. Sometimes you cannot see the blood with your naked eye and may need a urine dipstick or laboratory test to pick it up.

If the white particles in your urine are due to an infection like a UTI or STI, you may also have the following:

  • Painful or burning sensation during urination
  • Cloudy or bloody urine
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Fever
  • Pain in your lower abdomen, pelvis, groin, flanks, or back
  • Difficulty when urinating
  • Urge to urinate
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Burning or itching in your genital area

In cases of kidney or bladder stones, accompanying symptoms may include:

  • Painful or burning sensation during urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Incontinence, or the inability to control urination
  • Cloudy or bloody urine
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Pain in your lower abdomen or back

If the white particles in your urine are due to proteins in the urine or kidney disease, accompanying symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue or a constant feeling of tiredness
  • Swelling of the feet and ankles
  • High blood pressure
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Shortness of breath

If the white discharge is related to your pregnancy, other signs and symptoms of early pregnancy may include:

  • Missed periods
  • Tender or swollen breasts
  • Nausea and vomiting, or morning sickness
  • Frequent urination
  • Mood swings

Suppose you suspect that you may have semen leakage or retrograde ejaculation. In that case, you can also look out for other problems such as:

  • Male infertility issues like dry orgasms
  • Premature ejaculation
  • Signs and symptoms of diabetes like frequent urination, slow healing wounds, constant thirst, and fatigue

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When should I see a doctor?

Sometimes, white particles in your urine can be transient and can be resolved on their own. Some home remedies might help to get rid of them. 

However, if your symptoms are bothersome, there are no improvements, or your condition worsens, you should see a doctor immediately. 

Seeing white sediments in your urine or experiencing accompanying symptoms is worth addressing with your doctor. 

Getting proper treatment can prevent the worsening of your condition and reduce the risks of getting complications. 

You should consult a doctor if you have the following:

  • Fever
  • Blood in urine or hematuria
  • Painful urination
  • Increase urge and frequency of urination
  • Gravel or sandy urine
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Persistent foam in urine or proteinuria
  • Signs of early pregnancy like missed periods, tender or swollen breasts, and morning sickness
  • Symptoms of kidney disease like fatigue, ankle or foot swelling, shortness of breath, and high blood pressure

If you notice any of the above symptoms, you should not delay seeking medical help, especially if you are pregnant, have a urinary catheter, or caring for someone with a catheter. 

How is a diagnosis made?

Your doctor may ask you questions about your urine and other accompanying symptoms. 

They may also want to rule out specific problems by ordering tests such as:

  • Urine dipstick test
  • Urine pregnancy test
  • Urinalysis and urine culture
  • Digital rectal examination (DRE)
  • Full blood count
  • Ultrasound or CT scan of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder

What is clean-catch midstream urine?

For the urine dipstick test and urinalysis, your doctor may ask you to provide a urine sample with instructions to obtain a clean-catch, midstream specimen to ensure that your sample is not contaminated. 

To get a clean-catch, midstream urine specimen, clean your genitalia with mild soap and let it dry. Then, pass about 5 milliliters (ml) of urine before catching the next 5-10 ml of urine in a sterile container. 

The clinic or hospital usually provides the container. If you are an uncircumcised male, you must pull back your foreskin before urinating. If you are a female, you need to spread your labia manually before urinating. 

Treatment of white sediments in urine

The treatment varies depending on the cause. You should discuss with your healthcare team the underlying cause and the best treatment options for you. 

Some common causes and ways to treat white sediments in the urine are:

1. Medications for infections

For many uncomplicated UTIs and STIs, your doctor may prescribe you with:

  • Antibiotics if bacteria cause the infection. You must complete the course of antibiotics your doctor prescribes to prevent antibiotic resistance. Your doctor may start you on intravenous (IV) antibiotics if it is a severe infection.
  • Antiviral drugs if a virus, such as genital herpes, causes the infection. Some STIs require life-long management with antiviral medicine. 
  • Alpha-blockers or painkillers if you have prostatitis. These medications can help to ease your symptoms. 

2. Medications for kidney diseases or disorders

Depending on the type of disease and its severity, your doctor may prescribe different medications to treat you. 

You may also require long-term follow-up to monitor your condition and its complications. 

Examples of drugs that your doctor may prescribe for kidney diseases are:

  • Blood pressure medications
  • Diuretics
  • Cholesterol-reducing medications
  • Blood thinners
  • Immune system-suppressing medications

In more advanced kidney diseases, you may require dialysis to remove waste products from your body.

3. Treatment for bladder or kidney stones

Your doctor may ask you to drink plenty of water to help relieve your symptoms and pass out smaller stones. They may also prescribe you alpha-blockers and painkillers. 

However, larger stones may require more extensive treatments, such as using shock waves to break up the stones or surgical removal. 

Your doctor may also prescribe you medications to prevent minerals from crystallizing in your body in the future. 

4. Treatment for retrograde ejaculation

If you encounter repeated episodes of semen in your urine, you could have a condition called retrograde ejaculation.

Your doctor may prescribe chlorpheniramine to improve muscle tone and keep the neck of your bladder closed during ejaculation. You can also perform pelvic floor strengthening exercises like Kegel exercises. These exercises can improve the control of your ejaculation reflex.

Discuss with your healthcare team the causes of semen leakage and the treatment options. 

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How to get rid of white particles in your urine

You can get rid of the white particles in your urine and prevent reoccurrences by doing the following:

Stay hydrated

Drinking plenty of water can help dilute your urine, prevent the formation of stones, and flush out bacteria in your urinary system. 

You should drink more water but beware if you have any underlying conditions that prevent you from drinking more fluids. 

Wipe front to back

Wiping front to back and practicing good toileting hygiene are important so that you do not introduce bacteria into the urinary tract.

Wear loose clothing

Wearing loose clothing, preferably clothes made of cotton, can prevent the accumulation of moisture and the growth of bacteria and fungi.

Pee after sex

Peeing after sexual intercourse is a way to flush out bacteria from the urinary tract to prevent UTIs. 

However, it does not prevent STIs or pregnancy. Hence, you still need to practice safe sex, like using condoms.

Cut out bladder irritants

Avoiding irritating your bladder by cutting down on caffeine, alcohol, and spicy food. Smoking is also associated with bladder cancer.

Heating pads

Applying a heating pad on your back or abdomen can ease the pain from a UTI.

Do not hold your pee for too long because your urine has a higher chance of forming crystals if it stays in the bladder.

Different birth control methods

Consider other birth control methods, especially if you have repeated UTIs. It would be best to discuss different birth control methods with your doctor. 

Consider using lubricated condoms without spermicide or using a non-spermicidal lubricant.

Drink cranberry juice

Drinking cranberry juice, preferably unsweetened ones, can be a good prevention of UTIs, especially if you are prone to recurrent UTIs.

Diet and supplements

Changing your diet or taking oral supplements depending on the types of stones that you have. You can alter your urine’s pH levels to discourage the formation of stones. 

Supplements such as potassium or calcium citrate can help to alkalize your urine, while cranberries and betaine can help to acidify your urine. 

Consult your doctor to know the type of stones you have and which supplements suit you best.

However, you should consult a doctor immediately if your symptoms are severe or if your condition worsens. 


Some causes of white sediment in the urine can be benign and transient. However, these white sediments in your urine can indicate an underlying illness or disease. 

There are many ways to prevent and treat white sediments in your urine, depending on their causes. 

Some causes can be treated with home remedies, while others may require medications. 

If you notice any changes in urination habits, urine appearance, or accompanying symptoms, you should discuss it with your doctor. They can perform examinations and tests to rule out more sinister causes. 

Once the cause or diagnosis is known, your healthcare team can start treatment promptly to prevent further complications.

Explore More

urinary tract health

How to Improve Your Urinary Health.


  1. Greenberg, A., 4 – Urinalysis and Urine Microscopy, in National Kidney Foundation Primer on Kidney Diseases (Sixth Edition), S.J. Gilbert and D.E. Weiner, Editors. 2014, W.B. Saunders: Philadelphia. p. 33-41.
  2. Nicolle, L.E., Epidemiology of urinary tract infections. Clinical Microbiology Newsletter, 2002. 24(18): p. 135-140.
  3. Bono, M.J., S.W. Leslie, and W.C. Reygaert, Urinary tract infection, in StatPearls [Internet]. 2022, StatPearls Publishing.
  4. Khitan, ZJ and R.J. Glassock, Foamy Urine: Is This a Sign of Kidney Disease? Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 2019. 14(11): p. 1664-1666.
  5. Carroll, M.F. and J.L. Temte, Proteinuria in adults: a diagnostic approach. American family physician, 2000. 62(6): p. 1333-1340.
  6. Parnham, A. and E.C. Serefoglu, Retrograde ejaculation, painful ejaculation and hematospermia. Translational andrology and urology, 2016. 5(4): p. 592.
  7. Daudon, M. and V. Frochot, Crystalluria. Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM), 2015. 53(s2): p. s1479-s1487.
  8. Pastore, A.L., et al., Pelvic floor muscle rehabilitation for patients with lifelong premature ejaculation: a novel therapeutic approach. Therapeutic Advances in Urology, 2014. 6(3): p. 83-88.
  9. Anger, J., et al., Recurrent Uncomplicated Urinary Tract Infections in Women: AUA/CUA/SUFU Guideline. Journal of Urology, 2019. 202(2): p. 282-289.
  10. Frassetto, L. and I. Kohlstadt, Treatment and prevention of kidney stones: an update. American family physician, 2011. 84(11): p. 1234-1242.

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