The sight of foamy urine on urination often rings the siren of alarm! However, it's no reason to panic. Presence of foam in the toilet bowl after urination is becoming even more common these days. Are the lifestyle changes to be blamed, or is it something else? There hasn't been much research conducted with regards to foamy urine, especially in the area of amount of foam being an indicator of severity of health condition.
From what we know, foamy urine need not necessarily indicate something is wrong. It can occur due to various simple reasons, such as forceful urination, however, it also can be an indicator of kidney damage or proteinuria. However, before getting to any conclusions, it's important to check if this condition persists over a period of time, or was just something that happened once.
Causes of Foamy Urine
Rapid UrinationFoamy urine can be caused by rapid urination. At times, when you delay a visit to the washroom, large amounts of urine gets collected in the bladder. Finally when you do urinate, you may end up urinating forcefully, in an attempt to let it all out as fast as possible. This causes the urine stream to hit the toilet bowl rapidly, thereby spearheading foam formation. When people are in a hurry, they tend to urinate as quickly and forcibly as possible, which can again result in foamy urine. Foam due to rapid urination should disappear within the next few minutes.
Concentrated UrineLow amounts of fluid intake results in formation of concentrated urine, which also leads to foamy urine. Concentrated urine also means mild dehydration. Foamy urine caused by concentrated or dehydration is not deleterious. To stop the bubble formation, drink lots of water and hydrate your body. The foam should disappear once you have hydrated yourself. However, if the foam persists, the underlying reason may be something else.
Toilet CleanerSometimes foam is created due to a reaction taking place between the toiler cleaners used and the urine. To confirm if the foam is caused by this reaction, urinate in a sterile beaker and check if the foam persists. If foam is still present in the beaker, the toiler cleaner is not responsible for the foam.
Presence of SemenThe presence of semen in the urine released from the body, can result in foamy urine. Usually after intercourse, small amounts of semen gets left behind in the urethra. However, this amount is insignificant and cannot lead to foamy urine. On the other hand, in the case of retrograde ejaculation (bladder sphincter not functioning properly), the semen is forced into the urinary bladder. This may now result in foamy urine.
ProteinuriaProteinuria or presence of significant amounts of protein in the urine, is one of the most common causes of foamy urine. A small amount of protein is naturally excreted in our urine. However, when this small amount turns to large amounts, the condition is called proteinuria. Excess amounts of protein may be found in urine if a person has eaten large amounts of chicken, fish or other high-protein food items. If the body does not break down the protein efficiently, the protein ingested will be passed out through the urine, thereby making it foamy. People taking protein supplements may also end up with protein in their urine. In such cases, one must stop eating high-protein food items and supplements and check if the condition persists.
The other reason for protein in the urine can be kidney damage. This is because, the responsibility of regulating protein levels in the urine lies with the glomeruli of the kidneys. Times when the glomeruli get infected or damaged and are unable to prevent protein from leaving the body in the urine, proteinuria occurs. When the protein from the urine hits the toilet bowl after urination, foamy urine is produced. This can be confirmed by doing a urinalysis.
PregnancySometimes pregnant women fail to drink enough water and end up being mildly dehydrated. This results in formation of concentrated urine, which causes foamy urine. However, foamy urine can also be an indicator of proteinuria during pregnancy. Presence of protein in the urine can further be an indicator of preeclampsia, which is a serious condition. However, in preeclampsia, besides protein in urine, the expectant mother will also have high blood pressure (greater than 140/90), and edema.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)When microorganisms attack the urinary tract, urinary tract infection is caused. Foamy urine symptoms are one of the symptoms of UTI and is mostly accompanied by burning sensation. The infection-triggering microorganism causes the foam in the urine.
Vesicocolic FistulaVesicocolic fistula is an abnormal connection formed between the colon and the urinary tract. An edema is formed at the base of the urinary bladder. The fluid gets accumulated under the skin and foam is produced. On urination, this foam produced in the bladder is released into the toilet bowl. However, foamy urine due to vesicocolic fistula can be an indicator of grave medical conditions like tumors, Crohn's disease, etc.
Kidney ProblemFrothy or foamy urine is also a symptom of kidney malfunction or damage. Since the kidneys are responsible for filtration, any damage caused to it interferes in the filtration system. The kidneys are not able to function efficiently and protein is lost in the urine. This protein causes foamy urine. People with kidney stones and diabetes may also observe foamy urine.
To find out what exactly is causing the foamy urine, you need to consult the medical practitioner, who will ask you to have a simple urinalysis done. This test will check if the foam is being caused by too much protein in urine. Usually for urine testing, sample of urine is collected for 24 hours and sent for testing for accurate results. The test will identify which one of these foamy urine causes is relevant to you.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.