Foamy Urine – Should You be Worried?

Normally, the urine is supposed to appear yellow in color and without any foam. However, various factors such as the diet, medicines, and lifestyle tend to cause a change in the foaminess as well as the color of the urine. Most often, foamy urine is caused when the bladder is filled to its maximum capacity. However, the same is also caused due to a number of other medical conditions.

foamy urine causes, Treatment, Diagnosis, Home Remedies

It is very natural to feel panicky when you see foam in the urine. However, it is not really a reason to panic. In fact, foamy urine is getting very common in the present day, mainly due to the massive changes in the lifestyle. Foamy urine could also be caused if the urine hits the toilet pan before it gets stirred up. As a matter of fact, these are reasons shouldn’t get you worried.  However, you may have reason to be alarmed if the amount of foam is too much or the condition persists for a very long period of time.

So far, there has not been any intensive research on the foaminess of urine. In some cases, it could be just a result of forceful urination. However, at other times, it could also be an indicator of some underlying health issues such as proteinuria or kidney damage. If it is a one-time occurrence, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. However, if the condition continues for a sufficiently long period of time, it would definitely be advisable to go in for a checkup.

Is it Normal to have Foamy Urine?

It is very natural to have foamy urine every once in a while. Sometimes, it could even be caused due to external factors such as the presence of cleaning agents in the toilet pan. The only time you need to be cautious is if it becomes too frequent. Conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, the presence of excessive protein in the body, stress, etc. could also be the reason of foamy urine. Hence, it can be concluded that it is normal to have foamy urine unless it turns into an everyday event.

What Causes Foamy Urine?

Rapid Urination:

When you ignore the feeling need to urinate for a long time, an excess amount of urine gets collected in the bladder. So, when you finally go to the bathroom, the stream comes out with a higher force. Consequently, the liquid hits the toilet bowl forcefully, thereby causing froth formation. However, the foam caused under these circumstances disappears as soon as they are formed.

Dehydration:

Dehydration is another one of the factors that can cause the urine to get frothy. This is because dehydration causes the urine to get concentrated. The excess amount of chemicals present in the urine can then cause the urine to foam. It is not very serious when this happens. However, you should take the cue and drink extra water to make up for the shortage. Things will go back to normal when your body is rehydrated.

Dehydration can also be caused when you do not drink enough water during the summers or after an intense physical workout. Another way to know that the foamy urine has been caused due to dehydration is if the urine has changed in color from pale yellow to a darker color. Also, concentrated urine has a stronger smell than normal urine.

Stress:

Urination is also affected by stress. This is because when the body is under immense stress, it triggers a hormonal imbalance. As a result, the amount of protein albumin that should be present in the urine rises, thereby leading to foam formation. All psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety, and stress can lead to foamy urine. Furthermore, this can also lead to other problems such as weakening of the immune system, increased risk for cardiovascular diseases and indigestion. So if you feel stressed, you can try out remedies such as aromatherapy using soothing essential oils and meditation.

Cleaning Agents:

If there is some cleaning agent left in the toilet bowl after a cleanup, it can react with the urine, thereby causing froth formation. To know if the foam has been caused due to the toilet cleaner, you can urinate in a separate beaker and see if the foaming is still present. If it persists, then you should know that it has been caused due to internal factors.

Semen:

Foamy urine can also be caused when urine is passed out together with semen. Some amount of semen is also left behind in the urethra after an intercourse. However, this amount is too less and should not cause frothing. The case is different when the person has retrograde ejaculation. In this condition, the bladder sphincter is defective. As a result, the semen directly enters the urethra, thereby causing foamy urine.

An Excessive Amount of Protein:

It is natural for a small amount of protein to be excreted via urine. This does not cause frothing. However, there is a condition known as proteinuria, in which there is an excessive amount of protein in the urine. This can cause foamy urine. An excess of protein can also be passed out in the urine if the person has been taking protein supplements or is eating a high protein diet such as fish and chicken. Another reason for excessive protein in the urine is kidney damage. In this case, the glomeruli that are present in the kidneys start malfunctioning. As a result, too much protein ends up in the urine. A urinalysis is the only way to detect if the foamy urine has been caused due to kidney damage.

Pregnancy:

Pregnant women are required to drink more water than normal. Not drinking enough water can easily end up in dehydration and. therefore. foamy urine. However, it could also be caused due to proteinuria or preeclampsia which are much serious conditions. If it is preeclampsia, the person will also have edema and high blood pressure simultaneously.

Urinary Tract Infection:

Urinary Tract Infection is caused when the urinary tract is infected by microorganisms. When this happens, the person will feel a burning sensation during the process of urination. UTI is often caused due to the unhygienic sanitation or sharing of restrooms.

Vesicocolic Fistula:

Vesicocolic Fistula is the connection that is present in the urinary tract and the colon. This might lead to an accumulation of fluid at the bottom of the urinary bladder, thereby leading to forth formation. Upon urination, the froth is passed out together with the urine. If foamy urine has been caused due to vesicocolic fistula, it could be an indicator of serious underlying conditions such as Crohn’s disease, tumor and so on.

Diabetes:

Diabetes is accompanied by a very high level of glucose in the blood. This can eventually cause severe kidney damage. As a result, an excess amount of protein leaks out into the urine, thereby leading to the bubbling of urine. Not maintaining your glucose level can also cause the development of other secondary issues such as diabetic kidney disease. The best way to avoid this complication is to maintain a balanced weight, eat healthy and keep the blood pressure in check.

Cardiovascular Disease:

Research has shown that people who have been experiencing foamy urine on a regular basis are at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and strokes. The risk could be up to 4 times higher if the person also has hypertension. Lifestyle changes such as prevention of alcohol and smoking could lower the risk factors.

Also Read:  Crystals in Urine – Seek An Advice Before It’s Too Late

Symptoms Associated with Foamy Urine

Foamy urine could be caused due to the forceful urination. However, if the condition persists and gets worse over time, it is definitely an indicator of other underlying conditions. Oftentimes, when it has been caused due to medical conditions, it is accompanied by the following symptoms.

  • Swelling of the face, abdomen, hands, and feet. This is caused in case of damaged kidneys
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lethargy and fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Cloudy urine
  • Sleep problems
  • Decrease or increase in the amount of urine
  • Inability to ejaculate semen during orgasms
  • Infertility
  • The foul smell of the urine
  • Back pain
  • General weakness

Diagnosing Foamy Urine

The very first step in the diagnosis of underlying conditions for foamy urine is the testing of urine samples for protein levels. The test is conducted for samples taken at different time intervals to determine the varying levels of albumin and creatinine, the substances that are produced after a breakdown of the muscles. The UACR or the urine albumin to creatinine ratio indicates the efficiency of the kidneys in filtering out urine. If this particular ratio is higher than 30mg/g it is an indication that you may have some kidney disease. In addition to the UACR, the doctors will also conduct other tests to check if the kidneys have been functioning properly.

Treatment of the Causes of Foamy Urine

There can be various different treatment approaches to treating frothy urine depending on the underlying cause. The very first step is to increase the daily water intake. If you have been taking prescriptions drugs or antibiotics, it is best to consult the doctor and discontinue them if possible.  You should also refrain from holding urine so as to avoid forceful urination. If foamy urine has been caused due to proteinuria, then you should immediately stop the consumption of foods that are high in protein and discontinue protein supplements if you had been using any.

If the condition has been caused due to preeclampsia, then it is necessary to take the required medications as suggested by the doctors. In case of the urinary tract infection, the condition can be treated by increasing the fluid intake and taking antibiotics. Increasing the water intake helps in flushing out the microbes. You can also increase your daily intake of fresh fruit and vegetable juices. If the bubbles persist even after you have taken all the necessary steps, then you should consult a doctor for professional help.

Timely treatment of foamy urine will also prevent other secondary health issues such as kidney damage. It is advisable to get a healthy amount of exercise on a daily basis and stick to a well-balanced diet. You should also keep your blood pressure in check and get your blood sugar checked on a regular basis. It is also important to limit salt intake so as to reduce the amount of stress on the kidneys. During the course of the treatment, the doctors may give prescriptions for diuretics, calcium channel blockers and a few other drugs that help in controlling the blood pressure and prevent the progression of kidney damage.

If foamy urine has been caused due to retrograde ejaculation, it may not be entirely necessary to go in for a treatment unless you have been planning to start a family. You may also opt for treatment if you are not pleased with dry orgasms. The condition is treated with drugs that help in constricting the neck of the bladder so as to keep the semen from entering the urine. Some of the common drugs used for the treatment of retrograde ejaculation include:

  • Chlorpheniramine
  • Brompheniramine
  • Imipramine
  • Ephedrine
  • Pseudoephedrine
  • Phenylephrine

In some cases, the doctors may also give prescriptions for an off-label drug, that is, drugs that have been approved for the treatment of some other conditions. However, as long as the drugs have been approved by the FDA, it may be safe to use them.

Risk Factors Involved

There are a number of factors leading up to foamy urine. Neglecting the condition for too long could lead to complications. Therefore, it is best to opt for treatment in the very initial stages. Proper diagnosis could also help you in identifying other underlying health conditions in the body and keep them from progressing. It has been found out that people who have been experiencing foamy urine for a long period of time have a higher risk of developing heart diseases and kidney damages. Therefore, it is best to get the treatment in time.

When should you call a doctor?

If you notice foamy urine very infrequently and the condition does not seem to be progressing, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. Just make sure that you are eating a healthy diet and drink plenty of water on a daily basis. However, if it does not go away even after a very long time and you seem to experience other additional symptoms as mentioned above, it is very much possible that you have been suffering from other underlying health conditions. In this case, it is necessary that you fix an appointment with a doctor. You can first consult a primary physician and if the condition seems to be serious, you will further be referred to a urologist.

Basically, you should know that it is time to see a doctor if

  • The foamy urine continues for about a week
  • You experience swelling of the face, hands, and feet
  • You experience an upset stomach, nausea, and vomiting
  • You feel tired and sluggish
  • The urine seems to have turned cloudy or has some blood present in it
  • There is no sperm ejaculation during orgasms
  • You experience abdominal pain
  • You experience headaches
  • The vision turns blurry.

Conclusion

Continued appearance of foam in the urine is a sign that your kidney has been doing its job the right way. Therefore, proper diagnosis and treatment are important. In some cases, you may only have to discontinue a few drugs and make the necessary lifestyle changes. However, if the condition is serious, prescription drugs are a must. Just make sure that you are closely sticking to the advice as given by the doctor and eating/drinking healthy.