Foamy Urine – Causes

Healthy people generally pass out urine that is clear, sterile, and pale yellow to dark amber colored. It is a liquid made by the kidneys after completing the process filtering blood. It consists of varied waste matter present in the blood, including nitrogen and urea. Urine is eventually removed from the body via the urethra.

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Foamy urine can occur due to simple causes or due to the presence of some severe underlying disease. It is therefore essential for people with foamy urine to consult a doctor for diagnosis and relevant treatment, if needed.

The most common method to test the components of urine is urinalysis. It is a simple procedure carried out in a lab; it can check for the presence of bacteria, urea, uric acid, and proteins, etc., in urine. If the results of a urine test prove inconclusive, then the doctor may order for additional tests to verify the cause of foamy urine.

Causes and associated symptoms of foamy urine

People may suffer from foamy urine due to varied causes. It can occur due to kidney or liver problems; it can be a sign of early phase diabetes; or it may be an indication of kidney stones.

Listed below are some of the common causes and associated symptoms of foamy urine.

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1. Due to abnormal health conditions

  • Kidney problems: Different kinds of kidney diseases and anomalies can affect its ability to filter blood and waste matter. This can then lead to high levels of protein in urine, thereby leading to foamy urine. The kidneys are very important to sustenance of life. Hence, patients with foamy urine need to seek immediate medical attention as it can be a likely symptom of kidney problems.
    • Some of the additional symptoms that may accompany a case of kidney ailment-related foamy urine include abdominal pain, burning sensations and pain when passing urine, and persistent desire to urinate, etc.
    • Urinary Tract Infection/UTI: A UTI is one of the most prevalent causes of foamy urine. The urinary system consists of the urethra, ureters, bladder, and the kidneys. The urinary tract can sometimes suffer from infection by varied pathogens, particularly bacteria. The bacteria may enter the urinary system from the bloodstream or through direct contact of the urethra to the germs during urination, thereby causing UTI and foamy urine.
      • Women are more likely to suffer from urinary tract infections than men because of their unique genital anatomy characterized by close proximity of urethra to the anus and the vaginal canal as well as a short urethral duct.
      • Additional symptoms include frequent urination, pain in abdomen, and burning sensation when urinating, etc.
      • Acidic urine: Normally, urine occurs in a neutral state with a pH level of 7. The pH level of urine can reduce due to varied causes, including intake of foods like meat, cranberries, etc., diuretics, and other medications containing ammonium chloride and chlorothiazide. The urine then becomes acidic and frothy, causes bubbles to develop in the toilet bowl, thereby resulting in foamy urine.
      • Proteinuria: Proteinuria is a term used to describe high levels of protein in urine. The urine of healthy people usually contains some amounts of protein, with the maximum limit per day being 150 mg. Anything above this level is categorized as proteinuria. It can arise due to a variety of causes, including intake of certain foods and/or drugs, and kidney problems.
        • The reaction of protein in urine with the atmospheric air is what causes urine to become foamy when it hits the toilet bowl.
        • Dehydration: It refers to lack of sufficient fluids in the body. It can occur due to deficient intake of water and other liquids, or excessive loss of fluids from the body due to prolonged strenuous workouts, long-term exposure to heat and humidity, etc. The urine becomes highly concentrated when the body is dehydrated, which when eliminated leads to foamy urine.
          • Severe dehydration can cause several health complications. It is therefore best to keep the body hydrated at all times by drinking lots of water and other liquids.

2. Due to non-health related conditions

  • The occurrence of even minor traces of semen in urine can make it foamy. This cause of foamy urine is more common in men than women.
  • When urine is eliminated from the body in a forceful cascading manner, then bubbles may form in the toilet bowl after the urine mixes with the water in the bowl. This can cause it to become foamy.
  • An unflushed toilet may have older urine and other contents floating in the water. When fresh urine flows into such a toilet bowl, it mixes with its other contents and results in foamy urine.

foamy urine

Treatment of foamy urine

Treatment of foamy urine is focused at diagnosing the underlying cause, controlling the symptoms, and remedying the pre-exiting disease, if any. A few treatment options are listed below:

  • UTIs are treated with antibiotics. Pain killers help alleviate pain.
  • Kidney problems are treated with varied medications. Severe kidney conditions like kidney stones may require surgery.

Proper urinary hygiene, a healthy diet, regular exercising, and other lifestyle changes can help prevent cases of foamy urine.

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