Cloudy urine can be indicative of a number of possible conditions: dehydration, urinary tract infection, a sexually transmitted disease, or a kidney condition. One such kidney condition, kidney stones are small crystallized salt or mineral stones that are most recognized for the epic pain they can generate.
Kidney stones, specifically the act of passing them, are known for being some of the most physically painful health issues (as perhaps most eloquently demonstrated by Seinfeld’s Kramer), yet they rarely cause any permanent damage. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, kidney stones form when the fluids that compose urine are lacking in volume. With a limited fluid supply, there is a decreased ability to dilute solids which can precede stone formation. Most kidney stones are calcium-based.
Kidney stones can form as a result of a combination of factors, some preventable, some less so. Per to the Mayo Clinic, lifestyle risk factors for kidney stones include dehydration or under-hydration, a sedentary lifestyle, and obesity. Other issues that can increase the chances of developing kidney stones are high blood pressure, gender (males are more likely to be afflicted), age (between 20 and 70), and a family history of kidney stones. The University of Maryland Medical Center estimates that ten percent of men and five percent of women are afflicted with kidney stones at least once.
Cloudy urine is one typical symptom of kidney stones. When dealing with kidney stones, blood often finds its way into urine causing murky or cloudy urine. Pain during urination, nausea, and vomiting can also accompany kidney stones. The most prominent and frequent symptom, however, is the intense pain in the lower back and sides that can be disabling.
Preventing kidney stones starts with drinking enough fluids, specifically water. Since a sedentary lifestyle adds to the risk of developing kidney stones, getting regular exercise and staying active (while replacing all lost fluids) can reduce your risk level. Chronic sufferers of kidney stones may be prescribed a medication to prevent the formation of future stones.
Not much is done to treat most kidney stones. Stones generally pass through the system on their own, causing no physical damage, but producing quite a bit of pain. You will simply need to drink a lot of water to move the stone through your system. Your doctor may prescribe something to alleviate the pain, but intervention is required in only a small fraction of cases. If you believe you are dealing with kidney stones, schedule a meeting with a medical professional to determine your plan of action.