Mucus in Urine Illustration

Mucus in Urine: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment (2024)

by | Updated: Mar 17, 2024

Mucus in urine, though often overlooked, can be a significant indicator of underlying health conditions.

This symptom, while sometimes benign, can signal issues ranging from urinary tract infections to more severe disorders within the urinary system.

Given its diagnostic potential, understanding the implications of mucus presence in urine becomes essential for both healthcare professionals and the general public.

What Does Mucus in Urine Mean?

Mucus in urine can be a sign of an underlying medical condition. It’s often associated with urinary tract infections (UTIs), inflammation, or stones in the urinary system. While a small amount of mucus can be normal, significant amounts or persistent presence should be evaluated by a healthcare professional to determine the cause and appropriate treatment.

Mucus in a Urine Sample Illustration

Understanding Mucus in Urine

Mucus is a thick, slippery fluid that coats and moistens certain parts of the body, including the urinary tract.

It is a natural substance produced by the glands and membranes in the urinary bladder and urethra.

Mucus travels along the urinary tract to help wash out invading germs and prevent possible issues, including urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Normal Discharge vs. Mucus in Urine

A small amount of mucus in urine is normal. It is typically clear, white, or off-white and can vary in quantity. Normal discharge is usually odorless and does not cause any discomfort or pain.

However, if a person notices large amounts of mucus or mucus that changes color, consistency, or smell, it may be a sign of an underlying medical condition.

Factors Affecting Mucus Production

Several factors can affect mucus production in the urinary tract. These include:

  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs): UTIs are a common cause of mucus in urine. They occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract and cause an infection. UTIs can cause pain or burning during urination, frequent urination, and a strong urge to urinate.
  • Dehydration: Dehydration can cause mucus to become thicker and more concentrated, leading to an increase in mucus production.
  • Allergies: Allergies can cause inflammation in the urinary tract, leading to an increase in mucus production.
  • Irritation: Irritation in the urinary tract can cause an increase in mucus production. Irritation can be caused by various factors, including sexual activity, certain medications, and medical procedures.

Common Causes of Mucus in Urine

Mucus in urine can be a sign of an underlying medical condition. The presence of mucus in urine is not always a cause for concern, but it may indicate an infection or other health problem.

Some of the most common causes of mucus in urine include:

Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common cause of mucus in urine. UTIs occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract and multiply. This can cause inflammation and irritation, which can lead to the production of mucus.

Other symptoms of UTIs include pain or burning during urination, frequent urination, and cloudy or strong-smelling urine. Treatment for UTIs usually involves antibiotics.

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can also cause mucus in urine. STIs are infections that are spread through sexual contact. Common STIs that can cause mucus in urine include chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis.

Other symptoms of STIs may include discharge, pain, or burning during urination and pain during intercourse. Treatment for STIs usually involves antibiotics.

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones can cause mucus in urine. Kidney stones are hard, mineral deposits that form in the kidneys. They can cause pain and discomfort when they pass through the urinary tract.

Other symptoms of kidney stones may include back pain, nausea, and vomiting.

Treatment for kidney stones may involve medication to help pass the stones or surgery to remove them.

Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer can cause mucus in urine. Bladder cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the cells of the bladder. Other symptoms of bladder cancer may include blood in the urine, pain during urination, and frequent urination.

Treatment for bladder cancer may involve surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy.

Note: If you are experiencing mucus in your urine or any other symptoms, it is important to see a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Symptoms Associated with Mucus in Urine

While not always a cause for concern, it is important to be aware of the symptoms that may accompany mucus in urine, including the following:

Painful Urination

One of the most common symptoms associated with mucus in urine is painful urination. This can be caused by a urinary tract infection (UTI), which can irritate the bladder and urethra.

Other possible causes of painful urination include sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and kidney stones.

Color Changes in Urine

Mucus in urine can also cause changes in the color of urine. It may appear cloudy or milky and may have a foul odor.

This can be a sign of infection or inflammation in the urinary tract.

Additional Symptoms

In addition to painful urination and changes in urine color, mucus in urine can also be accompanied by other symptoms. These may include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Fatigue

Remember: If you experience any of these symptoms along with mucus in your urine, it is important to seek medical attention. Your healthcare provider can help determine the underlying cause of your symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment.

Diagnosis of Mucus in Urine

If an individual suspects that they have mucus in their urine, it is important to seek medical attention and undergo a proper diagnosis.

Urine Test

A urine test is the first step in diagnosing mucus in urine. A urine sample is collected and analyzed for the presence of mucus.

The sample is typically collected in a sterile container and sent to a laboratory for analysis.

Urinalysis

Urinalysis is a common diagnostic test that is used to determine the composition of urine. The test involves analyzing a urine sample for the presence of various substances, including mucus.

Urinalysis can help identify the underlying cause of mucus in urine, such as a urinary tract infection or kidney stones.

During a urinalysis, the urine sample is analyzed for the presence of white blood cells, red blood cells, bacteria, and other substances that may indicate an infection or other medical condition.

The results of the urinalysis can help a healthcare provider determine the best course of treatment for the individual.

Additional Laboratory Tests

In some cases, additional laboratory tests may be necessary to diagnose the underlying cause of mucus in urine.

These tests may include a urine culture, which can help identify the specific type of bacteria causing an infection, or a blood test to check for kidney function.

Other laboratory tests that may be ordered include a cystoscopy, which involves inserting a small camera into the bladder to examine the urinary tract, or an ultrasound to check for abnormalities in the kidneys or bladder.

Summary: A proper diagnosis of mucus in urine is essential in determining the underlying cause and providing appropriate treatment. Individuals who suspect that they have mucus in their urine should seek medical attention and undergo a thorough evaluation.

Treatment Options for Mucus in Urine

When it comes to treating mucus in urine, there are several options available. The specific treatment option chosen will depend on the underlying cause of the mucus.

Some of the most common treatment options include:

Antibiotics

If the mucus in urine is caused by a bacterial infection, then prescription antibiotics may be necessary. Antibiotics work by killing the bacteria that are causing the infection.

It is important to take the full course of antibiotics as prescribed, even if symptoms improve before the medication is finished.

Failure to complete the full course of antibiotics can lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Surgery

In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat mucus in urine. This is typically only necessary if there is an underlying structural issue that is causing the mucus.

For example, if there is a blockage in the urinary tract, surgery may be necessary to remove the blockage and prevent further complications.

Additional Treatment Options

In addition to antibiotics and surgery, there are other treatment options that may be used to treat mucus in urine.

For example, anti-inflammatory medications may be used to reduce inflammation in the urinary tract and alleviate symptoms.

Staying well hydrated is also important, as it helps to flush out bacteria and other toxins. Additionally, some natural remedies, such as cranberry juice or probiotics, may be used to help prevent future infections.

Remember: It is important to work with a healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment for mucus in urine. They can help identify the underlying cause of the mucus and recommend appropriate treatment options. With the right treatment, most cases of mucus in urine can be effectively managed.

Prevention and Management of Mucus in Urine

While some mucus in urine is normal, an increase in mucus may be a sign of an infection or other health condition.

Here are some ways to prevent and manage mucus in urine:

Hydration

Drinking plenty of fluids helps to flush out bacteria and other toxins that can cause infections. It is recommended that adults drink at least 8 glasses of water per day.

However, the amount of water needed may vary depending on a person’s age, weight, and activity level.

Proper Hygiene

Another way to prevent mucus in urine is to practice proper hygiene. This includes wiping from front to back after using the toilet, washing the genital area with soap and water, and avoiding tight-fitting clothing that can trap moisture and bacteria.

It is also important to avoid sharing personal items such as towels and underwear.

Regular Check-ups

Regular check-ups with a healthcare provider can help to detect and treat health problems that may cause mucus in urine. A urinalysis is a common test that can detect the presence of mucus in urine.

If mucus is detected, further testing may be needed to determine the underlying cause.

In addition to these prevention measures, it is important to follow the treatment plan recommended by a healthcare provider if mucus in urine is detected.

Treatment may include antibiotics for an infection or other medications to manage an underlying health condition.

FAQs About Mucus in Urine

Is It Normal to Have Mucus in Your Urine?

A small amount of mucus in urine can be normal, as the urinary tract produces mucus to help protect its lining.

However, if there’s a noticeable and consistent presence of mucus, it may indicate an underlying medical condition and should be evaluated by a healthcare professional.

Why Mucus Can Be Present in Urine?

Mucus can appear in urine due to various reasons. Common causes include urinary tract infections (UTIs), inflammation of the bladder or urethra, and kidney stones.

Other factors, like dehydration or certain medications, can also lead to mucus presence. It’s crucial to determine the exact cause to ensure appropriate treatment.

Can Mucus in Urine Be a Sign of Bladder Cancer?

While mucus in urine can be associated with many benign conditions, it can, in rare cases, be a sign of bladder cancer, especially if accompanied by other symptoms like blood in the urine or pain.

Anyone concerned about persistent mucus in their urine should consult with a healthcare provider to rule out serious conditions.

Is Mucus in Urine a Sign of Pregnancy?

Mucus in urine is not typically considered a primary sign of pregnancy.

However, during pregnancy, changes in the body’s hormones and increased blood flow to the pelvic area can lead to more mucus production in general, which might occasionally manifest in the urine.

What Does Mucus in Urine Mean When Pregnant?

When pregnant, mucus in urine might be a result of the increased mucus production in the cervix and vaginal area.

However, if a pregnant woman notices a significant or persistent amount of mucus in her urine, it could also indicate a urinary tract infection (UTI) or another condition.

Remember: It’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider for a proper evaluation.

How Do I Get Rid of Mucus in My Urine?

Eliminating mucus in urine depends on its cause. If it’s due to a UTI, antibiotics are usually prescribed.

Drinking plenty of water can help flush out the urinary system. If the mucus is due to another medical condition, addressing the root cause is essential.

Always consult with a healthcare professional to diagnose and treat the underlying issue.

Final Thoughts

The presence of mucus in urine serves as more than just a simple observation. It stands as a potential harbinger of underlying health issues that require attention.

Recognizing and appropriately addressing this symptom can aid in early detection, intervention, and prevention of complications.

As with many health concerns, staying informed and proactive is key.

John Landry, BS, RRT

Written by:

John Landry, BS, RRT

John Landry is a registered respiratory therapist from Memphis, TN, and has a bachelor's degree in kinesiology. He enjoys using evidence-based research to help others breathe easier and live a healthier life.

References

  • Flores-Mireles AL, Walker JN, Caparon M, Hultgren SJ. Urinary tract infections: epidemiology, mechanisms of infection and treatment options. Nat Rev Microbiol. 2015 May
  • Engelsgjerd JS, Deibert CM. Cystoscopy. [Updated 2023 Apr 10]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-.
  • Karah N, Rafei R, Elamin W, Ghazy A, Abbara A, Hamze M, Uhlin BE. Guideline for Urine Culture and Biochemical Identification of Bacterial Urinary Pathogens in Low-Resource Settings. Diagnostics (Basel). 2020 Oct 16
  • Queremel Milani DA, Jialal I. Urinalysis. [Updated 2023 May 1]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-.
  • Kaseb H, Aeddula NR. Bladder Cancer. [Updated 2022 Oct 24]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-.
  • Garcia MR, Leslie SW, Wray AA. Sexually Transmitted Infections. [Updated 2023 May 30]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-.
  • Bono MJ, Leslie SW, Reygaert WC. Urinary Tract Infection. [Updated 2022 Nov 28]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-.
  • McShane A, Bath J, Jaramillo AM, Ridley C, Walsh AA, Evans CM, Thornton DJ, Ribbeck K. Mucus. Curr Biol. 2021 Aug 9

Recommended Reading