Bubbles in Urine-Normal? Causes of Proteinuria

Bubbles in urine is a characteristic of proteinuria, a medical term for urine that contains protein. Protein reacts with the atmospheric air and forms gas, which gives urine a foamy or bubbly appearance, like that of beer. Proteinuria is oftentimes linked with kidney disease.

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Why is it linked to kidney disease?

Our kidneys work as the filtering system of our bodies. Each kidney is composed of several glomeruli, which forms the basic filtration unit. Blood passes through these glomeruli where waste and excess water is separated. These are then flushed out from our bodies as urine. Protein molecules are usually too large to pass through the glomeruli; which is why excessive amounts are usually indicative of kidney malfunction.

What diseases cause proteinuria?

Diseases affecting the glomeruli are the primary causes for proteinuria as these impair the kidney’s filtering action. Such diseases include pyelonephritis, glomerulonephritis, and other such infections, and kidney stones. More severe diseases include acute/chronic renal failure, and renal cancer.

Hypertension and Diabetes Mellitus are systemic diseases that commonly cause proteinuria. Diabetes damages the body’s blood vessels, reducing blood flow to the vital organs, including the kidneys. Hypertension causes constriction of the blood vessels, also reducing blood flow to the organs, thereby, causing kidney damage.

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What other diseases cause bubbles to appear in the urine?

A disease known as Vesicocolic Fistula is also known to cause bubbles in urine, though these bubbles are not related to proteins. Vesicocolic fistula is the abnormal formation of a connection between the bladder and the colon. Sometimes edema (accumulation of fluid underneath the skin) forms on the base of the bladder. Air bubbles leak out from the middle of the edema, and escape to the urine. This disease, however, is quite rare, and appears in conjunction with Crohn’s disease or tumors.

Infections of the urinary tract may also result to the presence of bubbles in urine. UTI or urinary tract infection commonly occurs in diabetics, but it is common in women, as well. Gas-forming bacteria that have made their way through the urinary tract cause bubbles to appear in the urine.

Diagnosis of Proteinuria

To check if the bubbles in urine are really caused by proteinuria, a simple urine test may be undertaken to check for protein or albumin levels. For more accurate results, a 24-hour urine specimen collection may be required. A protein dipstick test is also used, although this is less accurate than the former two.

Bubbles in urine (proteinuria treatment)

Visit an urologist to get an accurate assessment and identify the cause for the bubbles in your urine. Treatment employed will depend on the cause.

If you do not have any existing kidney disease or health problems, then this might not really be a cause for concern. In many cases, bubbles in urine are simply caused by forceful urination. Emotional stress, exercise, or too much protein in your diet are all possible causes of transient proteinuria. If, however, bubbly urine has occurred several times, then it might be best to consult a physician.

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