Causes of foamy urine: Proteinuria, urinary tract infection, and kidney disease

Foamy urine causesThere are numerous causes of foamy urine, including proteinuria, urinary tract infection, and kidney disease. Foamy urine appears to have a lot of bubbles resembling foam. Causes of foamy urine can range from completely being harmless to being indicative of a more serious health condition.

If foamy urine occurs occasionally, you probably don’t have anything to worry about, but if it is persistent, then you may want to make an appointment with your doctor in order to run some tests to make sure your urinary tract system is working properly.

Causes of foamy urine


Proteinuria: This is a condition in which protein is released in the urine in high amounts. Protein is normally released in the urine but in small amounts. When these levels become high, the urine can appear foamy. This can be a sign of an impending kidney problem as the kidneys are not filtering urine properly and thus release too much protein. Untreated high blood pressure and diabetes may contribute to kidney filtration problems, along with other factors like toxins, infections, or trauma to the kidneys.

Urinary tract infection: When bacteria enter any part of the urinary tract system you may develop an infection. Along with pain, higher urinary frequency and urgency, and burning while urinating, your urine may appear foamy as well. You should see a doctor if you begin to experience UTI symptoms because the earlier the treatment begins the less of a risk of complications you will have.

Kidney disease: Foamy urine can be a sign of kidney disease resulting from kidney stones or diabetes. A simple urine test will determine whether you have kidney disease.

Preeclampsia during pregnancy: Preeclampsia during pregnancy results in swollen legs, proteinuria, high blood pressure, and headaches. This can be a fatal condition to both mother and fetus, and all symptoms can worsen with its progression.

Vesicocolic fistula: A fistula is an abnormal connection which in this case develops between the bladder and the colon. This allows air, gas, and bacteria to travel into the bladder. Along with foamy urine, a person with vesicocolic fistula will have frequent infections. Symptoms may be similar to those of a UTI.

Rapid urination: Urinating too quickly or forcing urine to come out can be responsible for its foamy appearance. This is because air is introduced into the urine stream causing the bubbles. This type of foam typically disappears within a few minutes.

Concentrated urine: If you’re mildly dehydrated, the urine may become more concentrated, so it appears foamy. This can easily be resolved by drinking more fluids.
Toilet cleaner: Sometimes urine reacts with toilet cleaner which causes bubbles. If you’re unsure if your urine is foamy or whether it’s the toilet cleaner causing it to foam, you can urinate in a separate container that has not been treated with the cleaner and watch for foam.

Semen in urine: After sex, small amounts of semen are left in the male urethra. This small amount won’t cause foamy urine unless the bladder sphincter malfunctions, causing the semen to go back into the bladder. In this case, urine will appear foamy.


Other causes: Other causes of foamy urine include amyloidosis, cancer, chemical poisoning, diabetes, heart conditions like an enlarged heart, high blood pressure, infections, kidney failure, liver disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis, and sickle cell anemia.

If you notice frequent foamy urine, see your doctor to have your urine tested.

Related: Urine specific gravity test: How well your kidneys are diluting your urine


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