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It’s common to find mucus in your urine. It is typically thin, fluid, and transparent, or it may be cloudy white, or off-white. While these colors usually represent normal discharge, yellowish mucus can signal a health problem.

Urine can tell you a lot about your health. The color, smell, and clarity can signify whether you’re in good health or if you’re developing an illness. Substances in your urine — like mucus — can clue you in on possible health issues too.

It’s common to find mucus in your urine. But it’s important to know what symptoms to watch for and take note of any unusual changes. Keep reading to learn more about why mucus may be in your urine and when you should see your doctor.

The urethra and bladder create mucus naturally. Mucus travels along your urinary tract to help wash out invading germs and prevent possible issues, including urinary tract infection and kidney infection.

You may see that the amount of mucus, or discharge, in your urine changes sometimes. That isn’t uncommon.

However, if you’re seeing a lot of mucus in your urine, it could be a sign of a problem. You should also see your doctor if the mucus is no longer clear, white, or off-white.

Young women may experience mucus more often than other groups. That’s because menstruation, pregnancy, birth control medications, and ovulation may make mucus thicker and more obvious. This thicker mucus can appear to be coming from the urine when, in fact, it’s often from the vagina.

Mucus in urine can occur in men. Often, if mucus is noticeable in men, it’s a sign of a potential problem, including sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and other infections.

How is this treated?

Unless you’re experiencing unexpected changes in your urine lasting beyond a day or two, no treatment is necessary.

If you’re experiencing changes in urine color or amount, see your doctor. They can assess your symptoms and diagnose any underlying condition. Once a diagnosis is made, your doctor will work with you to treat the underlying cause.

A UTI is a common infection of the urinary tract system. It’s often caused by bacteria. Although UTIs can occur in both males and females, they’re more common in girls and women. That’s because women’s urethras are shorter than men’s, and bacteria have less distance to travel before starting an infection.

Likewise, women who are sexually active are more likely to develop a UTI than women who aren’t.

UTIs can also cause:

  • an intense urge to urinate
  • a burning sensation when urinating
  • urine that’s red or pink from blood

How is this treated?

Bacterial UTIs are treated with prescription antibiotics. You should also drink more fluids during your treatment. Not only is hydration key to your overall health, it can help flush your urinary tract system to prevent bacteria from spreading.

If oral medications aren’t successful or if your symptoms become more severe, your doctor may recommend intravenous antibiotics.

Although STIs can cause a variety of symptoms, chlamydia and gonorrhea are the most likely to cause excess mucus in the urine, particularly in men.

A chlamydia infection can cause:

  • whitish, cloudy discharge
  • a burning sensation when you urinate
  • pain and swelling in the testicles
  • pelvic pain and discomfort
  • abnormal vaginal bleeding

Gonorrhea can cause:

  • a yellowish or green discharge
  • painful urination
  • vaginal bleeding between periods
  • pelvic pain and discomfort

How is this treated?

Prescription antibiotics are used to treat both gonorrhea and chlamydia. Over-the-counter (OTC) treatments won’t be effective, nor will lifestyle or dietary changes. Your partner must be treated as well.

Practicing safe sex can help you prevent future STI infections. This can also help prevent STI transmission to an uninfected partner.

IBS is a digestive disorder that affects the colon.

It can lead to thick mucus in the digestive tract. This mucus may leave your body during a bowel movement. In many cases, mucus in urine is the result of mucus from the anus mixing with urine in the toilet.

IBS can also cause:

  • diarrhea
  • gas
  • bloating
  • constipation

How is this treated?

IBS is a chronic condition, and treatment focuses on symptom management.

Your doctor may recommend the following dietary changes:

  • eliminating foods that can cause excess gas and bloating, such as broccoli, beans, and raw fruits
  • eliminating gluten, a type of protein found in wheat, rye, and barley
  • taking fiber supplements to ease chronic constipation

Some medicines are also used to treat this condition. They include:

  • OTC or prescription anti-diarrheal medicine to control bouts of diarrhea
  • antispasmodic medicines to stop spasms in the intestines
  • antibiotics if you have an overgrowth of unhealthy gut bacteria

UC is another type of digestive disorder. Like IBS, UC can cause excess mucus in the digestive tract. Mucus can be the body’s natural mechanism for coping with erosions and ulcers that are common with UC.

During a bowel movement, this mucus may leave the body and mix with urine. This may make you believe you have increased mucus in your urine.

UC can also cause:

  • diarrhea
  • abdominal pain and cramping
  • fatigue
  • fever
  • rectal bleeding
  • rectal pain
  • weight loss

How is this treated?

Treatment for UC often involves medication to manage symptoms. Doctors commonly prescribe anti-inflammatory medications. Immunosuppressant medications can reduce the effects of inflammation on the body too. Your doctor may prescribe a combination of the two.

For moderate to severe UC, your doctor may recommend a prescription medication called a biologic that blocks certain proteins that create inflammation.

OTC medications like painkillers and anti-diarrheal medicines may also be helpful. However, talk with your doctor before using any of these drugs as they may interfere with other medicines you’re taking.

In severe cases, surgery may be necessary. If other treatment options have been unsuccessful, your doctor may recommend that all or part of your large intestine be removed.

Kidney stones are deposits of minerals and salts that form in your kidney. If the stones stay in your kidney, they won’t cause any symptoms.

But if the stones leave your kidney and enter the urinary tract, it may cause mucus to appear in your urine. Your urinary tract may produce more mucus in an effort to move the stone through the tract and out of the body.

Kidney stones can also cause:

  • severe pain and discomfort throughout the abdomen and lower back
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • a persistent need to urinate
  • blood in your urine

How is this treated?

Not all kidney stones require treatment. Your doctor will encourage you to drink more fluids in order to help pass the stone quickly. Once the stone passes, your symptoms should subside.

In cases of larger kidney stones, your doctor may use extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy to break up the stone. This allows the smaller pieces to move through the tract more easily. Very large stones may require surgery.

Mucus in urine can be a sign of bladder cancer, but this isn’t common. If mucus in urine is a sign of cancer, it may be accompanied by other symptoms like blood in the urine, abdominal pain, or weight loss. What’s more, these symptoms are tied to many other conditions. The only way to know if your symptoms are a sign of cancer or another serious condition is to see your doctor for a diagnosis.

If you notice excess mucus in your urine, make an appointment to see your doctor. Some mucus is fine, but a lot may be a sign of an underlying health concern.

Your doctor can determine if your symptoms are a result of something less serious and treatable, such as an infection. They can also decide if the symptoms warrant further investigation.