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What does cloudy pee mean for a girl?

Cloudy pee is when urine appears murky or cloudy instead of clear. For girls and women, cloudy urine can sometimes indicate an issue with the urinary tract that requires medical attention. Cloudy pee is often accompanied by other symptoms like a burning sensation when peeing, needing to pee more often, or pelvic pain. In most cases, cloudy pee is not cause for alarm, but it’s still a good idea to understand the possible reasons behind it.

What causes cloudy pee in females?

There are a few possible causes of cloudy or murky looking urine in females:

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

One of the most common reasons for cloudy pee in women and girls is a urinary tract infection (UTI). A UTI is an infection of the urinary system, including the urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys. The infection is usually caused by bacteria, most often E. coli from the gastrointestinal tract. The bacteria enters the urinary opening and travels up the urinary tract, where it multiplies and causes infection.

Symptoms of a UTI include:

  • Cloudy, foul-smelling urine
  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • Needing to urinate more frequently
  • Pelvic discomfort or pain
  • Blood in urine (hematuria)

UTIs are more common in females than males due to their shorter urethras. Sexual activity, using diaphragms and spermicides, and wiping from back to front can introduce bacteria into the urinary tract and increase UTI risk. UTIs are treatable with antibiotics prescribed by a doctor. Left untreated, they can lead to more serious kidney infections.


Vaginal inflammation or infection, known as vaginitis, can also cause cloudy pee in females. The urine passes through the vagina on its way out of the body, so inflammation there can contaminate the urine with discharge, cells, or bacteria. Common causes of vaginitis include:

  • Yeast infections
  • Bacterial vaginosis
  • Trichomoniasis

In addition to cloudy urine, symptoms of vaginitis include vaginal itching, burning, odor, and discharge. It requires treatment with antifungal or antibiotic medications.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Sexually transmitted bacterial infections like chlamydia and gonorrhea can also lead to cloudy pee. STIs cause inflammation and discharge that can get into the urine as it exits the body. Symptoms may include painful urination, pelvic pain, and abnormal vaginal discharge. STIs require treatment with antibiotics.

Kidney or Bladder Stones

Kidney stones are solid mineral deposits that form inside the kidneys. They can irritate the urinary tract as they pass through, causing cloudy pee along with pain and difficulty urinating. Bladder stones also block urine flow and cause similar symptoms. Stones usually require surgical removal or breaking up with ultrasound shock waves.

Cervical inflammation

Cervicitis, or inflammation of the cervix, can occur due to infections, irritation, or hormonal changes. As urine passes by the cervix, discharge and cells related to the inflammation can contaminate it and create cloudiness. Symptoms include pelvic pain, unusual vaginal discharge, and bleeding between periods. Treatment depends on the underlying cause.

Chemicals or medications

Certain chemicals and medications can crystallize in the urine and make it appear cloudy. Examples include high-dose vitamin C, laxatives containing phenolphthalein, and some antibiotics. The cloudy pee is harmless in these cases. Staying hydrated helps dilute the urine and reduce cloudiness.

When to see a doctor

Occasional cloudy pee alone is not necessarily a cause for concern. However, seeing a doctor is recommended if cloudy urine occurs frequently or along with these symptoms:

  • Burning pain with urination
  • Increased frequency or urgency to pee
  • Fever, chills, or abdominal pain
  • Back pain or side pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blood in urine

These can indicate a UTI, kidney infection, or other condition that requires prompt medical treatment. Seek emergency care for symptoms like inability to urinate, high fever, shaking and chills.

UTI Diagnosis

To diagnose a UTI or other condition causing cloudy urine, the doctor will typically:

  • Ask about your symptoms and medical history
  • Perform a pelvic exam to look for discharge, inflammation, or masses
  • Test a urine sample for blood, bacteria, white blood cells, and other signs of infection
  • Order a urinalysis to assess chemical makeup of urine
  • Perform a urine culture to identify bacteria causing an infection
  • Order imaging like an ultrasound, CT, or MRI scan to look at the urinary tract

These tests help pinpoint the cause of cloudy urine and guide appropriate treatment.

UTI Treatment

UTIs are the most common cause of cloudy urine that requires treatment. Doctors typically prescribe oral antibiotics to treat UTIs:

  • Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra)
  • Fosfomycin (Monurol)
  • Nitrofurantoin (Macrobid)
  • Cephalexin (Keflex)

The choice depends on the type of bacteria causing the infection. The full antibiotic course is usually 3-7 days. Be sure to finish all prescribed medication to prevent recurrence. Stay well hydrated and urinate frequently to help flush out bacteria. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help relieve UTI discomfort. Call your doctor if symptoms don’t improve within 2-3 days of starting antibiotics.

Home remedies for cloudy urine

While medical treatment is needed for UTIs, some home remedies can help temporary cloudy urine or prevent recurrent infections:

  • Drink lots of fluids, especially water, to dilute urine and flush out bacteria
  • Urinate as soon as the need arises and empty the bladder fully
  • Wipe front-to-back after using the toilet to avoid spreading bacteria to the urethra
  • Take showers instead of baths which can introduce bacteria into the urethral opening
  • Avoid potential irritants like deodorant sprays, douches, and strong soaps
  • Wear cotton underwear and loose fitting clothes to allow airflow
  • Take probiotics to support healthy bacteria in the urinary tract
  • Drink unsweetened cranberry juice to make urine slightly acidic, discouraging bacterial growth

See your doctor if home remedies don’t resolve cloudy urine within a few days. Recurrent UTIs may require further testing and preventive antibiotics.

Complications of untreated UTIs

Left untreated, UTIs can lead to more serious complications:

  • Pyelonephritis: Kidney infection that causes fever, nausea, and kidney damage
  • Sepsis: Life-threatening bloodstream infection
  • Renal scarring: Permanent kidney damage from recurrent infections
  • Pregnancy complications: Increased risk of low birth weight or preterm delivery
  • Urosepsis: Sepsis originating from the urinary tract

That’s why prompt antibiotic treatment is crucial for confirmed UTIs. Seek emergency medical care if you experience high fever, shaking chills, confusion, or inability to urinate.

Preventing Cloudy Urine and UTIs

To help prevent cloudy urine and recurrent UTIs:

  • Urinate before and after sexual intercourse
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids daily
  • Urinate as soon as needed and do not hold urine for prolonged periods
  • Wipe front to back after using the toilet
  • Avoid prolonged use of diaphragms and spermicides which can irritate the urethra
  • Wear cotton underwear and loose fitting clothes
  • Take showers instead of baths
  • Avoid douching or using strong sprays near the urethral opening

See your doctor about taking a preventive antibiotic after sexual activity if you experience recurrent UTIs. Tight pelvic muscles can also predispose women to UTIs, so pelvic floor therapy may help.


Cloudy urine in females is most often caused by UTIs, vaginitis, STIs, kidney stones, or cervicitis. While sometimes harmless, cloudy pee accompanied by burning, pain, or other UTI symptoms warrants medical attention. Doctors can diagnose the cause with a urine test, pelvic exam, and other tests as needed. UTIs are treatable with a course of oral antibiotics. Preventing recurrent infections involves staying hydrated, proper hygiene, and urinating regularly. Prompt treatment is important to avoid complications like kidney infections. Talk to your doctor if you experience frequent or persistent cloudy urine. With the right precautions and care, cloudy pee is usually easily treatable.