Does Clear Urine Exclude UTI or Kidney infection?
Our content is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice by your doctor. Use for informational purposes only.
The Short Answer:
Clear (non-turbid) urine is not an exclusion of urinary tract infections. Most urinary tract infections are mild and don’t lead to turbid or bloody urine.
- Most UTIs occur in females, and the infection is typically confined to the bladder (simple cystitis).
- In most cases of mild and moderate acute cystitis, the urine is typically clear (not turbid or bloody).
- UTI is suspected based on symptoms (burning urination, frequent urge to pee, bladder pain, et).
- The definitive diagnosis depends on urine culture tests.
- Clear urine in UTIs has bacteria but is not visible to the naked eye.
- Moreover, UTI may present in the urine without symptoms and with clear urine, a condition known as (asymptomatic bacteriuria).
- Clear (colorless or water-like) urine is not a sign of UTI. However, it may mean overhydration or polyuria (increased urine volume).
Table of Contents
Can you have UTI with clear urine?
UTI is mainly caused by bacteria reaching your bladder or urinary tract from the outside (through the urethra). The bacteria leads to either:
- Simple bladder infection (acute cystitis) or (uncomplicated UTI). Or
- Bacteria travel beyond the bladder to reach the kidneys or bloodstream (pyelonephritis or complicated UTI).
In both types of UTIs, the urine may or may not clear depending on the severity of the infection.
Most cases of UTI are simple acute cystitis, and the urine appears clear (normal yellow color) without any turbidity or blood stain).
Less commonly, The urine may become unclear with whitish or greyish turbidity (pus) or small reddish blood clots (hematuria).
If you have the typical symptoms of UTI and a positive urine culture, you have UTI even if your urine appears completely clear.
You can have UTI, and your urine is still clear (not turbid). However, most cases of simple UTIs have normal-looking urine.
How to tell if you have UTI although the urine sample is clear?
UTI is an infection (typically bacterial) of the urinary system. It can be limited to the urinary bladder (cystitis) or extend to the kidneys (pyelonephritis).
As we mentioned above, clear urine sample is not an exclusion of UTI, and you can get a bladder infection while your urine is clear.
Symptoms of Uncomplicated UTI (acute cystitis).
- Dysuria (pain during urination).
- Urinary frequency.
- Frequent waking up to pee at night (nocturia).
- Sudden urge to pee (urgency).
- Bladder pain (suprapubic pain).
- Blood in the urine (hematuria).
- Cloudy (turbid) turbid urine in severe cases. But the presence of clear urine doesn’t exclude UTI.
Symptoms of Complicated UTI:
- All the classic symptoms of acute cystitis (dysuria, urgency, frequency, blood in urine, etc.).
- Fever >37.7°C (>99.9°F).
- Chills or rigors.
- Significant fatigue, muscle aches, or any other feature of systemic illness.
- Flank pain.
- Pelvic or perineal pain in men.
- Tenderness over the kidney area when your doctor examines it.
However, some UTIs are completely symptomatic, and the urine is clear. In such cases, UTI is discovered accidentally during urine testing.
Urine testing (urine culture) confirms the diagnosis of UTI.
Can a clear urine sample have bacteria?
In many cases, clear urine may have bacteria even without symptoms (asymptomatic bacteriuria). Moreover, you may have UTI symptoms (dysuria, frequency, urgency) with completely clear urine, but bacteria are found in urine testing.
Can urine tests show UTI without symptoms?
Your urine test may show UTI without any symptoms, a phenomenon called (asymptomatic bacteriuria). However, the presence of bacteria in urine doesn’t always mean UTI.
Asymptomatic bacteriuria is common, especially among females. This phenomenon increases markedly with age, for example:
- Asymptomatic bacteria is only about 1% among school girls.
- In women older than 80, It exceeds 20% (one in every five women).
Bacteria in urine tests without UTI symptoms could be due to the following:
- Infection with bacterial strains that don’t cause symptoms (such as less virulent strains of E. coli).
- A poor immune response to infection.
- Bacteria that normally live inside the bladder (bladder microbiome).
Asymptomatic bacteriuria is unlikely to cause serious effects in the long term. Therefore, treatment is generally not recommended unless:
- Asymptomatic bacteriuria during pregnancy.
- If urological interventions are planned.
- Asymptomatic bacteria in a recent renal transplant patient.
In the above conditions, asymptomatic bacteria may require treatments with antibiotics according to culture and sensitivity tests.
Also, urinary antiseptics such as cranberry pills may help.
Is clear (colorless) urine a sign of UTI?
Clear (colorless or water-like) urine is not a sign of UTI. It is a sign of over-hydration or increased urine volume (polyuria) rather than a urinary tract infection.
Common causes of clear (colorless urine) include:
- Over-hydration (drinking lots of water or other fluids).
- Caffeine or alcohol overuse.
- Diuretic intake.
- Some medications used to treat diabetes, hypertension, anxiety, and depression may also lead to clear (colorless) urine.
- Diabetes mellitus (uncontrolled).
- Diabetes insipidus.
- Kidney diseases and kidney failure.
Learn more about clear urine.
- Written by a doctor.
MD, Internal Medicine and Nephrology specialist.
Dr. Esraa A. MagidAuthor