The term “cloudy urine” comes up often on medical sites, but there’s no description of just what this is.

It’s open to subjective interpretation. To some people it can mean a milky colored urine.

To others it may bring to mind a cloudy color, kind of grey-like.

And to other people it can mean a murky quality to their light orange urine – the orange being from dehydration.

“Cloudy” is an overly broad term.

“Cloudy urine refers to urine that is not clear but uniformly opaque, like a cloud,” says Jenepher Piper, a family practice nurse practitioner for Maryland Family Care for 25+ years and a former nurse with Home Care Nurse for Johns Hopkins Home Care.

You may still be able to see through this type of excrement if it’s in a clear plastic cup.

It may also be cloudy enough or solid-looking enough that you would not be able to see your finger on the other side of the plastic cup.

“Cloudy urine doesn’t imply any change from typical urine color, light to dark yellow,” says Piper.

In other words, the murkiness can be present in any color on the urine spectrum, from clear/pale yellow to medium yellow to dark yellow to yellow-orange to light orange to orange (these colors are determined by hydration levels).

Urologic Oncologist’s Description of Cloudy Urine

“‘Cloudy’ urine can describe a wide variety of urine,” says Michael Herman, MD, director of urologic oncology at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, NY.

“It can range from urine that is just slightly translucent to flakes of sediment in the urine to urine that looks almost milky it is so cloudy.”

There are many causes of the so-called cloudy urine, and some of the non-cancerous causes can still be serious.

Nurse Piper
Patients suffering from conditions such as coronary artery disease, obesity and diabetes turn to Nurse Practitioner Piper to help them best manage their overall health.
dr. herman
Dr. Herman’s interests include reducing the over-diagnosis and over-treatment of prostate cancer by utilizing the latest biomarkers and imaging techniques. He is at the forefront of treatment and research of urologic cancers.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer. 



Top image: Shutterstock/Andrew Safonov