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September 18, 2000


Question from Whiteville, North Carolina, USA:

I am a 47 year old female who has type 1 diabetes. I have had two toe amputations in the last year and a half, I suffer from severe neuropathy, and I have recently been diagnosed with Charcot Joint Disease.

Today, I was collecting a urine sample for a 24 hour test and discovered that my urine was brownish in color and extremely cloudy. I called my endocrinologist and spoke with his nurse who said that she would check with the doctor to see if I need to come in immediately. However, she did not return my call to let me know anything and it is now after hours. How alarmed should I be? I am concerned about the state of my kidney function.


From: DTeam Staff

Foul-smelling and cloudy urine can be a sign of a urinary tract infection which may require treatment with an antibiotic. However, the kind of lab tests performed on urine to monitor kidney function in diabetes focus on how much protein is in the urine and how much creatinine you have in your urine and blood. The creatinine tests are then used to compute your creatinine clearance which is a measure of how well the kidney is serving as a filter. There are substances in the diet which can discolor the urine and cause it to have different odors.

The color of the urine can also be varied by medicines and your level of hydration. I would suggest you check with your doctor to obtain a summary of your kidney function and determine if you have a urinary tract infection.