Trained in dentistry, Sree is currently pursuing lab sciences. She loves researching and sharing information on various health topics.
Urine and the Urinary System
Are you finding white stuff in your urine? Urine is the body's way of dispelling fluid waste in the body. The fluid primarily comes from the kidneys, which filter water, store it in the bladder, and remove the amount unnecessary for life via urination. This keeps the body devoid of toxins and helps keep water and chemicals in balance.
However, despite being bodily 'garbage,' urine analysis can play a vital role in assessing health. The frequency, amount, color, and even what you experience during urination reveal much about how your body is functioning from the inside. For example, frequent urination can signify diabetes, while pain while urinating could indicate an infection.
This is why it's usually a good idea to check your urine to see any abnormalities in the fluid. This way, you'll be able to seek help as soon as possible, preventing the development or worsening of health issues.
What Is Normal Urine?
Normal urine is devoid of white particles and has a color of pale yellow, gold or any other shade in between those two. If your urine is transparently white, that means you've been drinking too much water – likely more than the recommended eight glasses a day. However, if this isn't the case and your urine is still clear, chances are you're currently taking a diuretic, a medication that flushes out the water in your system.
Once your urine changes to a honey color or a light brown, this is a sign of dehydration. Introduce fluids to your system as soon as possible to prevent complications. It could also be a sign of kidney and liver problems, in which case you should seek medical help immediately.
Proteinuria or White Stuff in Urine
Finding white stuff in urine is abnormal and should be handled swiftly. It's usually a good idea to take a good look at the urine and discern the exact nature of the white stuff. Are they grain-like in structure, or are they long and stringy? Is it a solid mass?
Also, take note of what you felt during urination. Was there pain, or did you in any way feel the white stuff as it expelled from your body? Pay attention to the frequency of this white stuff in your urine. Record these feelings and observations so you can report them to your doctor.
A medical term for the phenomenon is proteinuria, a condition wherein protein leaks into the urine, causing notable white stuff in the waste liquid. Proteinuria is a symptom in itself, which means that if you want to solve the problem, you'll have to narrow down the possible causes of the condition.
Possible Causes of White Stuff in Urine
There are several possible causes of white stuff found in the urine, and they're not always as bad as you think! The presence of white stuff is often considered a symptom of another underlying condition, and the main problem can usually be solved quickly and conveniently. Here are some of the possible causes of finding white stuff in your urine:
- Kidney stones
- Urinary tract infection
- Bacterial Vaginosis
- Retrograde ejaculation
Phosphate debris can be expelled through the urine and could be harmless. However, it could also indicate a more serious problem and may need to be tested by a physician. Phosphate may appear crystal-like in the fluid and usually results from overeating food that contains phosphorus. Phosphorus is actually important in the body as it aids in developing bones and teeth. Too much, however, becomes non-essential. The body disposes of the excess through your urine.
Kidney stones are also a possible cause of white stuff in urine. The white stuff is also in the form of sediments – like pieces of sand expelled from your body. The good news is that kidney stones don't always require surgery for treatment.
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In many cases, all you have to do is increase your water intake to flush out these kidney stones. Eating asparagus should also make it easier to spot these stones during urination as the urine takes on a greenish coloring.
However, if the stones are already too much or too big, surgery might become necessary.
It's important to note that kidney stones can be very painful. The pain is usually first experienced as a sharp pang in the back and side, sometimes accompanied by cramping. This feeling will eventually move to the lower abdomen and groin area as the stones travel through the urinary tract.
You may also experience intense urges to urinate, unusually frequent urination, burning sensations, and dark or red urine due to blood.
Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary Tract Infection or UTI stems from the presence of bacteria in the opening of the urethra. As the urine passes through the opening, it catches some bacteria, causing white particles to float on the surface. More often than not, UTI also presents as cloudy urine, so if these two symptoms show up together, make sure to check with your physician ASAP.
UTI is, fortunately, a common condition that can be easily treated but if left alone, it can cause irreparable damage. The bacteria in particular can spread to other parts of the body, including the kidneys.
Causes of a UTI
Bacteria that manage to make their way into the urethra and set up shop there will cause all types of problems, including white-ish growth that can be dislodged through the urine. When not addressed quickly, UTIs can go all the way to the kidneys, leading to further complications. Sexual intercourse with a new partner, poor hygiene, and changes in vaginal flora due to a shift in medications can all cause a UTI.
Symptoms of a UTI
The white stuff in urine often presents as an early symptom, which means that after seeing this, it's usually a good idea to see your doctor as soon as possible. Of course, you should note the presence of other symptoms of UTI, which include but are not limited to the following:
- A burning feeling when your dispel urine
- Pain or pressure in the lower abdomen or your back
- Lethargy or a shaky feeling
- Chills or fever could indicate that the infection has now reached the kidneys
- Intense urge to urinate, but very little actual discharge of urine
- Strange smelling urine with a cloudy or dark coloring
Treatment of Your UTI
If you notice any of the symptoms above together with the white particles, your physician is likely to recommend a urine analysis. Once UTI has been confirmed, your physician will provide an antibiotic course to kill off the bacteria. Note that you have to finish the full course of the medication even if you're already feeling better. If you don't take all your medications, some of these bacteria might survive and multiply after a few weeks, triggering another bout of UTI.
Home Remedies for UTI
The use of medication is incredibly helpful, but compounding the results with natural methods will ensure faster results. Here are some of the best-known home remedies for UTIs:
- Drink lots of water to help flush out the bacteria from your body. The eight glasses a day rule doesn't apply here anymore. Instead, it would be best to drink based on your body weight, which you can calculate using the many water apps available today. Typically, you should be drinking half your body weight in ounces.
- Get rid of bladder irritants from your diet. These include coffee, spicy food items, tea, caffeine-loaded drinks, and any other food containing artificial sweeteners. All of these can irritate your bladder and make it harder for your body to recover.
- Use heat pads to help soothe any pain or muscle cramps along your abdomen or pelvic area. This should make it easier for you to stick to your daily routine when the UTI is at its worst.
- Take Vitamin C since this is known for helping improve the urinary tract. According to Johns Hopkins, "Large amounts of vitamin C limit the growth of some bacteria by acidifying the urine." It's better if you get your Vitamin C through fruits since this contains additional minerals to boost the immune system. If that's not possible, though, go ahead and take those capsules or drink 100% cranberry juice!
Several kinds of parasites can appear as white stuff in urine. These include:
- Filariasis – unless you've been vacationing in the tropics, it's unlikely that you'll suffer from this parasite. Filariasis is mainly caused by roundworms that feed on the blood. The most common symptom of the problem is elephantiasis or the thickening of the tissue as the worms lodge in the lymphatic system.
- Schistosomiasis – another tropical condition, Schistosomiasis is characterized by diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloody stool, and blood in the urine. It's also known as 'snail fever' and is primarily caused by flatworms.
The first two are worm-like parasites that look like white threads. Trichomoniasis, on the other hand, is an infection that causes mucus threads expelled through the urine.
This condition occurs only in women, characterized by an overproduction of already-existing bacteria in the vagina. Bacterial Vaginosis or BV BV can be treated by a physician, so asking for medical help as soon as possible should clear up the problem in a matter of days. Following are some of the symptoms to watch out for that indicate BV:
- A foul or fishy smell in and outside the vagina
- Itching around the vagina
- An increase in the amount of vaginal discharge, which can be either white or gray
If these symptoms are present together with white particles found in the urine, there's a good chance that you're suffering from BV, which can then be addressed through proper medication. The test for BV often includes a vaginal swab to test the discharge.
Risks of BV
BV can occur with any female. However, the risks of having the condition often increase for women who fall under the following categories:
- Sexually active women
- Those who recently changed their partner
- Those who have a history of STIs
- Women who smoke
- Those who use an IUD
- Those who have sex without condoms
Note, however, that BV is not a sexually transmitted disease. Hence, any female can have the problem, whether they're sexually active or not.
Treatment of BV
For some women, BV goes away without any need for treatment. However, it's usually better to address the problem as soon as possible to avoid future complications.
Pregnant women showing signs of BV must visit their physician as soon as possible since the condition can lead to miscarriage if not appropriately treated.
Fortunately, women can address this problem through regular intake of antibiotics. Bear in mind that you must finish the full course of antibiotics. Pregnant women may also be prescribed this treatment option since some medications have no bad effect on babies.
Once the symptoms disappear, women don't have to go back to get the test again. However, pregnant women are encouraged to return once a month to ensure that the bacteria is completely gone.
Dealing With the Discharge
The discharge is something else entirely, and while you're taking antibiotics, it's unlikely that it will stop immediately. Fortunately, there are ways to lessen the impact of the discharge in your body, especially if you happen to be in a relationship where you are sexually active. Here are some ways to handle the discharge:
- Avoid douching, as this flushes out good bacteria inside the vagina. Although you may feel clean afterward, especially right after sex, douching can only worsen the condition.
- Keep your downstairs area dry and use clean cotton as your underwear. Skip the silk and satin since they're not exactly ideal for keeping the sensitive area clean. Change underwear as often as possible, especially if you feel there's some discharge there.
- When that time of the month comes, don't use tampons. Use a pad since this is less irritating.
- Wash only with water – skip the soap or any cleaning solutions. Warm water is fine for your bath, but you should avoid hot water.
- Wear well-fitting clothes. Try to avoid yoga pants or skinny jeans for now because these produce too much heat around the genital area, which could worsen the condition. This is the time to really exhaust your skirt collection.
- Keep your blood sugar low and eat lots of healthy yogurts to bring good bacteria into your body.
Candidiasis and Monilia are two yeast infections that can cause this particular symptom. Monilia Yeast growth is triggered when the pH levels in the vagina undergo a rapid change. This can be due to several factors, most likely dietary issues. Following are some of the symptoms that could indicate Monilia Yeast Infection:
- Increased discharge in the vagina
- Burning and itching sensation
- Redness of the vaginal lips
- Discharge is white and clumpy, a lot like cottage cheese
Since Monilia normally exists in the vagina, it's not a good idea to eliminate it completely. Instead, the goal is to limit the amount down to tolerable levels. Fortunately, there are some medications available today that make this possible. With a visit to the doctor combined with a change in dietary lifestyle, individuals can easily stop this infection from spreading.
On the other hand, Candidiasis is much more common than Monilia but comes with basically the same symptoms. It's a fungal infection, and although it can appear in the genitalia, you'll find that it can also grow on the skin, under the nails, and even inside the mouth.
The condition isn't a sexually transmitted disease, but those with Candidiasis are discouraged from having intercourse until the problem is fixed. This opportunistic fungal infection doesn't usually occur in healthy adults. Most of the time, you'll find them in children or those who have a weak immune system.