Passing foamy or frothy urine is because of passing protein in the urine. Increased amount of protein in the urine can also indicate kidney problem of a serious nature. The disease is called proteinuria.
The dip stick test is the simplest method for finding proteinuria in a patient. However at times, it could give a false reading. This is possible because of the presence of globulins or Bence- Jones proteins. The dip stick test is done by measuring the total amount of protein found in a twenty four hour urine collection. The other alternative is to compare the creatinine level to the concentration of protein in the urine. This termed as the protein / creatinine ratio. Hence proteinuria can be defined as a protein / creatinine ratio greater than 45 mg/mmol which is equivalent to albumin/ creatinine ratio of greater than 30mg/mmol. A non pathology state occurs when there is a basal level of proteinuria that can occur below 30mg/day.
Albumi uria is a pathological condition where urine has a high content of protein albumin. As the kidneys do not filter the large molecules albuminuria can serve as an indicator of damage to the kidneys. This situation is also noticeable in patients having a high intake of salt. The amount of protein excreted can tell the cause of albuminuria. For e.g. Excretion of 3 to 3.5 gms in twenty four hours usually results in nephritic syndrome. An indicator for diabetic nephropathy is called microalbuminuria where in the excretion is between 30 to 300 mg per twenty four hours.
In such cases a low intake of red meat can help in lowering albuminuria levels. However there is no proof to correlate improvement in kidney function due to low protein intake.
Having proteinuria during pregnancy is a serious problem. This situation is called eclampsia. The symptoms are high blood pressure, head ache and swelling of the legs .This normally occurs after twenty weeks of pregnancy. As the condition worsens the proteinuria increases causing pain in the abdomen as well as vision disturbance. Raised blood pressure could lead to bleeding in the brain and this could be lethal for both mother and baby.
Proteinuria is indicated by swelling in the face hands and feet. There are two main tests that are carried out to confirm this disease.
- A dipstick test will tell the person if he has proteinuria.
- A UACR test will tell how much albumin is in the urine.
Rapid urination causes air and bubbles into the urine stream. When the bladder is stretched to capacity, the bladder contracts forcefully and the urine hits the ground or toilet seat forming foam. This foam however disappears within minutes.
- An eGFR test will reveal whether the kidneys are functioning properly.
- Some blood pressure medicines have to be taken like ACE inhibitors that help to protect the kidney.
- Take steps to contain blood pressure and diabetes.
- Meet a nephrologist
Other reasons for frothy urine
- Concentrated Urine
During pregnancy or exercise the urine appears darker and more concentrated thus forming frothy urine. However after intake of fluids the color of the urine is restored as pale yellow
- Toilet Cleaner
Many toilet cleaners that are used in the toilet seats are concentrated and once the urine hit the seat foam is formed.
- Semen in Urine
After sex, a small amount of semen remains in the urethra. This tiny amount could cause foamy urine.
- Diabetes with frothy urine
Diabetes tends to have the need to urinate often as compared to normal people. Frothy urine in people having diabetes may mean many things such as presence of glucose in the urine or it could be an early case of glomerulonephritis.
There are many medical conditions arising in the case of proteinuria among patients. A few of them are as follows.
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Pre eclampsia
- Strenuous exercise
- Benign orthostatic proteinuria
- Toxic lesions of kidneys – Besides, this any disease that affects the kidney causes frothy urine. Most common causes for this situation is kidney stone, diabetes, blood pressure, trauma and self medication of illegal drugs. Symptoms of kidney failure are nausea, vomiting, back pain, swelling and tiredness.
- Membranous nephropathy
- Diabetes mellitus
- Multiple myeloma
- Urinary tract infection -Urinary tract infection and bladder infection go hand in hand. The bacteria enter the bladder causing a burning symptom while urinating. The frequency of urinating increases and also the color becomes darker of the urine.
- Vescoicolic Fistula -When there is an abnormal connection between bladder and colon causing bacteria and gas to travel into the bladder. Vescoicolic Fistula causes tumor and inflammatory condition.
Filed in: Conditions