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Cloudy or strong-smelling urine: Is it something to worry about?

Urine is usually clear, while cloudy urine is hard to see through. Strong-smelling urine might have a very pungent, ammonia-like smell, or otherwise smell bad.

What causes strong smelling urine?

Variations in urine are mostly due to healthy vaginal secretions, or hormonal or dietary changes, especially if you are eating lots of dairy or big meals at night. Dark urine is also very likely to occur if you are dehydrated.

If cloudiness is combined with a strong odor, it could be a sign of urinary tract infection, or proteinuria, which occurs when your urine passes too much protein during pregnancy. Changes in urine, including a burning or itching sensation, could also be a sign of sexually transmitted disease, so talk to your provider immediately if you think this is the case.


Drink lots of water! Most of the time, dehydration is responsible for dark urine, so drinking more water helps. If your urine looks funky for more than a day or two though, something may be amiss. UTIs are treatable but if left alone can be very dangerous. In general, however, occasional cloudy urine shouldn’t be your biggest concern since your body is probably just eliminating more waste to keep safe. If the cloudy urine is regular and seems to be caused by a UTI, you should let your healthcare provider know.

  • “STDs & Pregnancy – CDC Fact Sheet.” CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7/10/2013. Web.
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Urine odor: Definition.” MayoClinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Aug 2016. Web.

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