Foamy urine happens sometimes, but if it’s occurring regularly or getting worse, it’s likely a sign of disease. Here’s what causes bubbles in urine and when to get help.
Causes of Bubbles in Urine
Everyone occasionally has bubbly urine. A full bladder can lead to a forceful urine stream producing bubbles. Residue in a toilet bowl from soaps and cleaning products can also be culprits. Bubbles tend to be big and clear. They disappear when flushed away and are generally no cause for alarm.
But sometimes, urine can appear more foamy than bubbly. Unlike bubbles in urine, foam is white-ish and will not flush. Foamy urine now and then is probably not a big deal, but if it’s persistent, it may be a signal something serious is going on in your body. Examining your urine from time to time is a good idea. Urine contains clues to overall health.
Let’s take a look at some common causes of foam in the urine:
- Kidney problems: Normally functioning kidneys filter excess water and waste through urine and filter proteins too large to pass in urine through the bloodstream. However, kidneys that aren’t working properly will pass these large proteins through urine that show up as foam in the urine. In this case, the presence of foam indicates a problem with how the kidneys are functioning. There can be several reasons for the kidneys not to work properly, including a family history of kidney disease, diabetes, and/or high blood pressure (hypertension).
- Retrograde ejaculation: A condition where semen backs up into the bladder. Reasons for this include diabetes, nerve damage, and certain drugs used for treating blood pressure, enlarged prostate, or mood.
- Amyloidosis: Amyloid is an abnormal protein that can build up deposits on organs and tissues, causing damage to these organs, leading to organ failure. This is a rare condition that shares symptoms with less serious and more treatable issues.
- Urinary tract infection medications: medications called phenazopyridines (AZO or Uristat) used to relieve the pain and discomfort of a urinary tract infection (UTI) can cause discoloration and foam to appear in the urine.
Foamy Urine Treatment
It’s important to figure out if foamy urine is a sign of kidney disease or if is it caused by another treatable condition. Since urine contains clues to overall health, a urine test can show if protein is present in elevated levels. If it is, further tests may be needed to root out the exact cause of foamy urine. Your medical team may also review your family medical history, as well as do a physical exam.
If tests reveal the reason for foam in the urine is kidney damage, it may be that diabetes and/or high blood pressure are to blame. Both conditions can be managed through a few lifestyle adjustments such as:
- Eat a balanced diet
- Manage blood sugar
- Limit salt and protein in the diet, so kidneys don’t need to work so hard
- Quit smoking
- Take blood pressure and/or diabetes medication as prescribed by your doctor
When to Get Help for Bubbles in Urine
Bubbles in urine can happen for common and harmless reasons. Even foam in the urine can occasionally occur without cause for worry. But sometimes there are instances when the presence of foam can be a clue something serious is going on. Let’s look at when to get help:
- Foam is persistent and gets worse over time
- Swelling of the eyes, abdomen, hands, feet, or legs
- Unexplained fatigue
- Loss of appetite
- Sleep disruption
- Urine that is cloudy, dark, or bloody
- Amount of urine changes
- If male, dry orgasms and inability to impregnate a female partner
At American Family Care, we have the right care, right now. If you are seeking foamy urine treatment, AFC has walk-in urgent care. For over 35 years, in more than 250 communities across the country, our medical professionals can see you without the long waits common at emergency rooms. There is no need for a primary care referral or an appointment; just walk in.