Published on October 11th, 2019 | by Michaelw0
The truth about proteinuria
Hello, this is Katherine, welcome to 00kidney.
A lot of people are convinced that if you have protein in the urine or foam in the urine it’s a clear symptom of kidney disease.
This is not always true. So today I’m going to show you the truth about protein in the urine.
If your urine looks so frothy it could be on tap at your local bar, you might be worried… but it doesn’t always mean something bad is happening.
Today I’m going to talk a little bit more in depth about this topic and I’m going to answer questions like
What Does Foam in the Urine Look Like?
Is protein in the urine a symptom of kidney problems?
What causes protein in the urine?
What can reduce protein in urine?
So let’s start with our first question:
Number 1 I’ve got bubbles in my urine. Is this normal?
It could be.
Urine is normally pale yellow to dark amber in color and is also flat.
A variety of factors, from diet to drugs to disease, can cause changes in the color and can cause bubble or foam in the urine.
Bubbles shouldn’t be a cause of concern.
The most obvious cause of bubbles in the urine is the speed of urination.
Urine can foam up briefly every once in a while.
If your urine has bubbles, it could be because your bladder is full and the urine is hitting the toilet fast enough to stir up the water.
Just as water foams up when it comes out of the tap quickly, urine foams if it hits the toilet quickly.
This kind of bubbles should also clear up quickly.
Foamy urine on the other hand is a totally different thing.
Foamy urine can indicate that you have too much of a protein, leaking from the kidneys, in your urine.
The protein in your urine reacts with the air to create foam.
Number 2 How can you tell if it’s protein in the urine or just normal bubbles?
Normal bubbles are bigger, clear and flushable and everyone will have bubbles in the toilet after urinating.
Foam ,on the other hand, is white, and it stays in the toilet after you flush.
Now, we are not talking about some bubbles in the urine here, which is perfectly normal.
But if you see a foam similar to what you can find on the top of a freshly spilled beer, that definitely could be proteinuria.
Foamy urine is more likely to be a sign of disease if it happens often or it gets worse over time.
Foam in the urine is usually caused by a protein leakage from the kidneys.
This could be caused by a problem with the kidneys.
Question number 3 What happens to the kidneys in case of protein in the urine?
Your kidneys have many functions, ranging from helping to regulate your blood pressure and stimulating the production of red blood cells to converting vitamin D into its active form.
But the main job of the kidneys is to remove excess fluids, toxins and waste products from the blood.
To do that, the blood that flows into each kidney, passes through about one million tiny vascular filters called glomeruli.
Healthy kidneys do not allow a significant amount of protein to pass through their filters.
But damaged kidneys may let proteins, such as albumin, from the blood into the urine.
Albumin in the urine is called proteinuria or albuminuria.
Protein in the urine is an important indicator of kidney disease; it is often the very first symptom of kidney damage.
Number 4 My doctor found protein in my urine. Should I worry?
If there’s actually protein in your urine, look for other symptoms of kidney disease as well.
These symptoms could be clues that a medical condition is causing the problem: swelling in your hands, feet, face, and abdomen,
could be a sign of fluid buildup from damaged kidneys
Now, if these symptoms are present, it means that the disease is already in the advanced stages.
The changes in the urination patterns, including foamy urine, is often the very first symptom of kidney disease.
So, if you have cloudy urine, darker colored urine or even foam in the urine, don’t wait for things to get worse.
Ask immediately yourself this question: do I have any risk factors for kidney disease?
This brings us to…
Number 5 what are the risk factors for kidney disease?
Risk factors are all those conditions you may have that can cause chronic kidney disease.
The most frequent risk factor for kidney disease is DIABETES.
If you have diabetes and you see foam in the urine, don’t wait to see the symptoms of ckd.
Diabetes if not properly treated can lead to very serious kidney problems.
Then there’s HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, Obesity, smoking, urinary tract infections and kidney stones.
Infections of the urinary tract can climb up to the kidneys and start creating troubles there.
High cholesterol can cause a lot of troubles with the kidneys too.
Also CKD is a lot more frequent in people 65 years or older, or if you have any case of CKD in your family.
So what to do if you have one or more of these risk factors and you see foam in the urine?
Don’t wait! get checked! Find out what the problem is and start to treat it as soon as you can.
Now, before you rush to your doctor let’s back up a second and consider
Number 6 is foam in the urine always caused by kidney disease?
While kidney problems are the most usual cause of proteinuria,
foam in the urine doesn’t always mean protein in the urine.
so there are other causes of foam in the urine worth considering.
Sometimes, urine can also foam up when it’s just too concentrated.
Your urine is made up of waste and extra fluid coming from the kidneys.
The kidneys filter up to 150 quarts of blood per day and make about one to two quarts of urine.
There’s protein in the urine. A low level of protein is perfectly normal.
but certain things can make it spike enough to cause foamy pee.
Now, your urine is more concentrated when you haven’t had much water to drink and you’re dehydrated.
So, if you’re dehydrated, you might notice foam in your urine.
That’s because your urine is more concentrated when you’re dehydrated, creating a bigger chance that the protein in it will cause foam.
If this happens, it’s not a symptom of kidney problems. It’s just dehydration.
So, most of the time, foamy urine is nothing to worry about.
You can relieve it simply by drinking more water.
So, if you see some foamy pee in the toilet bowl, you don’t immediately need to go to the doctor. First, see if it’s a fluke.
So try this before worrying: Drink more and see if goes away by itself
drink plenty of water and see if you’re still experiencing foamy pee.
Number 7 Are there other causes of foam in the urine?
being under stress, a very intense workout, or being pregnant can cause foamy urine too.
And sometimes, the problem is actually just your toilet. Some toilet cleaning chemicals can make your urine look foamy. If this is the cause, the foam should stop as soon as you flush the cleaner out of the toilet.
Now, there are medicines that can cause foamy urine too.
Number 8 what medications can cause foamy urine?
Some pain-relieving UTI medication can cause foamy urine.
Taking the medicine phenazopyridine hydrochloride Also known as AZO is another less common cause of foamy urine.
People take this medication to treat the pain from urinary tract infections.
Although the most famous side effect of AZO is causing orange urine, some people also report foamy, bubbly urine.
This is thought to be a chemical reaction that happens when the drug mixes with water.
There’s even another cause of foamy urine to consider, retrograde ejaculation.
Number 9 What if the cause is retrograde ejaculation?
A less common cause of foamy urine is retrograde ejaculation, which is a condition that happens in men when semen backs up into the bladder instead of being released from the penis.
In males, urine and ejaculate both pass through the urethra.
There’s a muscle, or sphincter, near the neck of the bladder that helps to hold urine in until you’re ready to urinate.
During orgasm, that same muscle contracts to keep ejaculate from entering the bladder. That allows it to flow through the urethra.
When this sphincter fails to contract, there’s retrograde ejaculation.
Because this muscle stays relaxed, the ejaculate ends up in the bladder.
The result is what’s called a dry orgasm, and there’s no ejaculate.
It’s not a disease or a serious threat to your health, and it could be treated.
Usually it’s only a concern for people trying to father a child.
Retrograde ejaculation can cause infertility or having difficulty getting a female partner pregnant.
So If you’re having orgasms without ejaculate, it’s worth checking it out with your doctor to examine the cause and rule out underlying disease.
If that’s the case, you can pursue your options with a fertility specialist.
Ok, so it seems to be that there could be several causes to the problem of foamy urine or protein in the urine. So…
Number 10 Is proteinuria a symptom of kidney disease?
Yes, it could be the very first symptom of the disease.
Kidney disease often has no early symptoms.
If protein in the urine is caused by kidney damage, it means that kidney disease has already reached an advanced stage.
A lot of the people diagnosed with CKD discovered it due to proteinuria
So when proteinuria shows up in a urine test done during a routine physical exam it could be necessary to do some other tests.
Blood tests will then be done to see how well the kidneys are working
In some cases, proteinuria may not turn out to be an important issue, but it does call for further evaluation and, perhaps, action.
And obviously, The more protein in the urine, the greater the risk.
People with protein in the urine are also at increased risk for high blood pressure and blood clots in veins.
Now, if this comes unexpected get the test redone.
When you get a report of an abnormal lab result, the first thing to do is have the test repeated.
In case proteinuria is confirmed, a full evaluation of your kidney function, or GFR is necessary.
You should also be sure to have your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels checked.
This is very important because these conditions can damage the kidneys without you noticing.
Blood pressure and blood sugar levels control is really important to protect the health of your kidneys.
Number 11 What if my kidneys are actually damaged?
The problem with kidney health is that symptoms of damage only appears late in kidney disease.
This means that immediate action is really important.
When foamy urine is caused by kidney damage, you’ll need a diagnosis really quick.
And to start to treat the cause.
Often, diabetes and high blood pressure cause kidney disease.
Kidney disease is a very scary illness, but it can be treated and the progression can be stopped in many cases, or at least slowed down.
Here the most important thing is to get diagnosed as soon as possible, because preventing damage is a lot easier than getting kidney function back.
Number 12 what to do to keep the kidneys healthy and to avoid further damage?
You can slow down the progression of kidney disease by managing the conditions causing it.
If it’s high blood pressure you need to lower it, if it’s diabetes you need to keep blood sugar under control.
In case of diabetes, your doctor will recommend that you eat a balanced diet and get plenty of exercise to help treat this condition.
You’ll have to do tests often to make sure these levels stay within a healthy range.
You might also need to take medicine that lowers your blood sugar.
If the cause is high blood pressure, you’ll also want to watch your diet and stay active.
Limiting the salt and protein in your diet can both bring down blood pressure and prevent your kidneys from having to work so hard.
Your doctor can prescribe drugs that lower blood pressure and protect the kidneys from additional damage.
Want to know more about how to protect and improve the health of your kidneys? Watch this video
This is all for today, thank you for watching.