What can you do about mucus in urine?A look at mucus in urine, which is usually a symptom of an underlying condition. Included is detail on when to see a doctor and signs of bladder cancer.5 Mar 2018

Mucus is a slimy substance produced by membranes and glands to lubricate and protect certain parts of the body. Mucus coats and protects the urinary tract, so some mucus in the urine is normal.

But too much mucus, or mucus that has changed in color or consistency, can signify an underlying condition that may need addressing.

Read on to learn more about mucus in the urine and discover what is and is not normal.

Fast facts on mucus in urine:

  • The bladder and urethra produce mucus to help keep the urinary tract germ-free.
  • Rarely, mucus in the urine can be a sign of something more serious, such as bladder cancer.
  • The treatment for mucus in the urine will depend on the underlying cause.

Causes of mucus in urine

There are many reasons why mucus may be present in the urine, including:

Normal discharge

Woman on the toilet with possible mucus in urine

Mucus in urine may be caused by urinary tract infection, kidney stones, and ulcerative colitis.

As the mucus moves through the urinary tract, it flushes out germs that may otherwise cause infection.

Mucus in urine is thin and fluid-like and is typically clear, white, or off-white. The amount of mucus in urine can vary. However, large amounts of mucus, or mucus that changes color might indicate an infection or other problem.

Sometimes, women may think that they are producing more mucus in their urine, but this mucus may be coming from the vagina.

Vaginal mucus varies in amount, color, and thickness at different stages of the menstrual cycle, as well as during pregnancy.

Urinary tract infection (UTI)

UTIs are among the most common types of infection treated by doctors every year. Both men and women can get UTIs, although they are much more common among females. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, at least 40 to 60 percent of women will experience at least one UTI in their lifetime.

Symptoms of a UTI include:

  • mucus in the urine
  • blood in the urine
  • burning sensation when urinating
  • urinary urgency

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

STIs are more common than many people think, with 20 million new infections being contracted every year in the United States. Young people are most at risk, and the American Sexual Health Association reports that half of all sexually active people will get an STI by the age of 25.

Both chlamydia and gonorrhea are known to cause excess mucus in the urine. This symptom is particularly noticeable in men.

Other symptoms of these STIs include:


  • burning sensation when urinating
  • general pain and discomfort in the pelvic area
  • testicular pain and inflammation
  • vaginal bleeding (unrelated to menstruation)
  • white, cloudy discharge


  • general pain and discomfort in the pelvic area
  • pain when urinating
  • vaginal bleeding (unrelated to menstruation)
  • yellow or green discharge

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

IBS is considered a functional digestive disorder. This means that the digestive tract appears normal and does not show damage or inflammation, but it does not function normally. IBS is the most common functional gastrointestinal disorder, affecting 10 to 15 percent of people worldwide.

One possible symptom of IBS is mucus in the digestive tract. Although mucus is present in the large intestine (colon) and leaves the body through the anus, it may mix with urine in the toilet bowl — leading people to think the mucus is in their urine.

Other common IBS symptoms include:

Ulcerative colitis (UC)

UC is a form of inflammatory bowel disease. Up to 907,000 Americans have UC.

To combat damage to the colon, the body may produce excess mucus, which passes from the body in the stool. Again, it can mix with urine in the toilet, giving the impression that there is too much mucus in the urine.

Additional symptoms of UC are:

  • abdominal pain and cramps
  • anemia
  • bleeding from the anus
  • diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • fever
  • weight loss

Kidney stones

Kidney stones are hard deposits that form inside the kidneys. They comprise various minerals and salts. A man’s lifetime risk of getting kidney stones is 19 percent, while a woman’s risk is 9 percent.

Stones that remain in the kidneys do not cause symptoms, but if they move into the urinary tract they can cause increased mucus, as well as:

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

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Signs of bladder cancer

Man using a urinal with possible mucus in urine

Other signs, such as difficulty urinating and fatigue, may be present if bladder cancer is suspected.

In cases of bladder cancer, other signs and symptoms usually show up first, including:

  • blood in the urine
  • difficulty urinating
  • fatigue
  • painful urination
  • the urge to urinate frequently

It is more likely that mucus in the urine is related to an infection, digestive condition, or one of the other causes discussed above.

The only way to be sure is to see a doctor.

When to see a doctor

Anyone who experiences excessive amounts of mucus in the urine or a general increase in mucus production should see a doctor. While there is typically a certain amount of mucus in the urine, too much might suggest an underlying condition that requires medical treatment.

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Tests for mucus in urine

To test for mucus in the urine, a doctor may perform a urinalysis, which involves checking a urine sample under a microscope. The procedure is straightforward and noninvasive, and a person will just need to provide a container of urine.

Many doctors will carry out a urinalysis as part of a routine checkup. A doctor may also carry out tests if they suspect an individual has a UTI.

Treatment options

Common treatments for these conditions may include:

Urinary tract infection

Doctors will prescribe antibiotics for UTIs that are caused by a bacterial infection. It is also important to drink lots of water to flush the bacteria from the system.

People who experience recurrent UTIs may require a 6 month or longer course of low-dose antibiotics to prevent a new UTI developing. If a person develops a UTI that is caused by sexual activity, they will typically require a single antibiotic dose.

Sexually transmitted infections

Doctors will treat both gonorrhea and chlamydia with prescription antibiotics. There are no home remedies or over-the-counter treatments proven effective for sexually transmitted infections. Sexual partners will also require treatment for the STI.

Use condoms to prevent future STIs.

Irritable bowel syndrome

antibiotic pills spilling out of medication pot

For people with IBS, antibiotics may be prescribed to treat bacterial infections.

Because IBS is a chronic condition, there is no cure. However, several treatments are available to help reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.

Medications include:

  • anti-diarrheal medicine, which is available over the counter or on prescription, to control diarrhea
  • antibiotics to treat any bacterial infections
  • antispasmodic drugs to prevent intestinal spasms

Dietary and lifestyle changes may also help, such as:

  • avoiding foods that cause gas and bloating, including cruciferous vegetables and beans
  • removing gluten (found in wheat, rye, and barley) from the diet
  • using fiber supplements to relieve constipation
  • managing stress, which can be a trigger for symptoms

Ulcerative colitis

As with IBS, there is no cure for UC, although there are medicines that may alleviate symptoms. Such medications include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications and immunosuppressant medications: These can reduce inflammation in the body, and can be used independently or in combination.
  • A biologic drug: Doctors may prescribe these drugs to people with moderate to severe symptoms to block inflammation-causing proteins.
  • Over-the-counter painkillers and anti-diarrheal drugs: Some people may benefit from the use of these medications, but a person should only take them after consulting a doctor.

Severe cases of UC may require surgery to remove the colon and rectum.

Kidney stones

Smaller kidney stones may not require any treatment as they can pass from the body through the urine. Drinking more water can aid this process. Symptoms will resolve once the stone is removed.

Larger stones may be treated with extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy — a procedure that breaks up the kidney stone into smaller pieces so that they can be passed more easily.

Surgery may be needed to remove very large kidney stones.

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As discharge is part of a healthy urinary system, moderate amounts are not cause for alarm. However, excessive amounts of mucus in the urine will need to be investigated so that a doctor can determine the underlying cause.

Once a cause is identified, it can usually be treated with medication, lifestyles changes, or other appropriate interventions.