Foamy Urine: Here’s Why You Have Bubbles in Your Urine

Foamy Urine: Here’s Why You Have Bubbles in Your Urine
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Passing foamy urine every once in a while is usually nothing to worry about. There are a number of factors that can make your urine look foamy. For example, urine can foam up if your bladder is full and urine hits the water faster than usual. Or, the foam in the toilet after peeing could be a reaction to chemical residue left over from cleaning.

In some cases, persistent foamy urine could indicate that you have a kidney problem. The foamy bubbles in your urine could be caused by too much protein in your pee. In other cases, urine will tend to foam up if you are dehydrated, under a lot of stress, have diabetes, or suffer from cardiovascular disease.

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Usually, foamy urine is nothing to worry about and the foam in your urine should only be a ‘passing’ occurrence. However, if your urine continues to get foamy and you are drinking enough fluids, you should see your doctor.

In this article, I am going to look at the various reasons for having foamy urine. You will find out in more detail reasons that cause urine to bubble up and what you can do about it.

Common Reason Why You Can Have Foamy Urine

First, let’s look at some common reasons for having foamy urine that aren’t connected with serious health issues. In these cases, the foam in your urine should clear up quite quickly and only happen occasionally.

Rapid urination

One of the most common reasons why urine foams in the toilet bowl is rapid urination.

Dr. Erik Castle from the Mayo Clinic says that the speed of urination can affect the look of urine and cause bubbles in the water. This often happens if you have a full bladder, and the force of urine on the water causes a foam-like reaction.1

Chemical reaction

A chemical reaction to residue left in the toilet water may cause bubbles and your pee to look foamy.

According to the journal Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology, urine consists of a number of substances like salts, urea, nitrogen and hydrogen. Depending on an individual’s diet, these chemical concentrations can change.2

When using some cleaning products, chemical residue is left over in the toilet, and this may react with chemicals in your urine causing it to become foamy.

Dehydration can cause bubbles in urine

Dehydration can be a factor that makes urine look bubbly when you pee because there is a higher concentration of chemicals in your urine.

According to a report in the journal American Family Physician, being dehydrated can cause foamy urine. Dehydration can occur from not drinking enough water or from intense physical exercise.3

Being dehydrated can cause more problems in your body than just foamy urine. Your body needs to take in enough fluids to get rid of toxins and keep all your organs functioning correctly. Actually, the color of your urine can tell a lot about your health. Healthy urine should be a very pale color and your pee shouldn’t smell of ammonia. Urine that is dark yellow is often a sign that you may be dehydrated and should drink more water.

If you are drinking enough fluids throughout the day, you should notice that the foam in your urine should stop and your pee will be a clear to light yellow color.

The connection between stress and foamy urine

Passing foamy urine can also happen if you are under a lot of psychological or emotional stress.

Stress can upset your hormonal balance and alter the amount of protein in your urine. For example, a study published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research found that prolonged mental stress or anxiety causes more protein albumin in urine. Conditions like anxiety, depression, and psychological stress can all affect kidney function, causing more protein in urine which causes it to foam up.4

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It is known that stress can also cause other problems in your body like an increased risk of heart disease, problems with digestion, and weaken your immune system.

If you feel that stress is affecting your daily activities, you can try some of my natural remedies to relieve stress and anxiety. Also, using essential oils to help relax can help improve your general well-being and also help boost your immune system.

You should notice that when you reduce your stress levels, foam in your urine should stop.

Pregnancy

If you are pregnant, you may notice that your urine is often foamy and there are bubbles floating in the water after you pee.

Of course, having a full bladder, stress, and dehydration can be reasons why you have foamy urine when you are pregnant.

However, according to a study published in the journal BMJ, urine that foams could be a sign of preeclampsia in pregnancy. Preeclampsia causes excess protein in your urine and high blood pressure. You may also notice puffiness in your face and hands.5

Usually, warning signs of preeclampsia are picked up during your prenatal visits. Doctors from the Mayo Clinic advise that you seek emergency help if you are pregnant and suddenly get severe headaches, abdominal pains, and shortness of breath.6

Other Health Conditions That Can Cause Foamy Urine

Frequently passing foamy bubbly urine could be a sign of a more serious health condition. Usually, taking a urine test can help to identify the cause of bubbles when you pee.

Here are some of the health conditions that may cause urine to frequently foam up.

Too much protein

Too much protein in your urine can cause bubbly urine that looks like foam on the toilet water.

Usually, urine should have very little or no traces of protein. However, if your kidneys aren’t functioning properly, you might have a condition called proteinuria.

According to the Kidney Research UK, urine that has a foamy appearance can be a result of abnormally high levels of protein in urine. Along with the frothy urine, you may notice that you have swelling in your hands and feet.7

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Foamy urine is just one sign of kidney disease. Sometimes, problems with your kidneys can cause pain under your right ribs, a metallic taste in your mouth, or chronic itching in your body. To help keep your kidneys in good health, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids, exercise regularly, avoid nutritional deficiencies and get enough sleep.

Diabetes

Diabetes can affect your kidney function and result in urine foaming up when you use the bathroom.

According to Dr. Colin Tidy on Patient.info, high blood glucose levels can damage your kidneys over time. The damage to your kidneys can cause protein to leak into your urine that causes bubbles when you pee. Kidney damage caused by diabetes can leave scarring and be the start of diabetic kidney disease.8

If you are diabetic, other risk factors that can have a negative impact on your health are high blood pressure, being overweight, and not controlling blood sugar levels properly.

It is important to be aware of the early warning signs of developing diabetes. Staying physically active, keeping a healthy weight, and enjoying a balanced, healthy diet can greatly reduce your risk of diabetes.

Urinary tract infections

If you have a burning sensation when you pee and your urine looks foamy, it could be a sign of a urinary tract infection (UTI).

UTIs happen when bacteria get into your urinary tract and cause an infection in your urinary system. This can turn your pee a dark color that emits a foul smell.

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Urinary tract infections also cause excess protein in urine which will cause frothy urine along with other UTI symptoms. For example, the journal Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation reported that proteinuria is often associated with urinary tract infections.9

You should treat symptoms of a urinary tract infection as soon as possible. Sometimes, a doctor will take a urine sample to check for nitrites in urine.

Dr. Traci Johnson on WebMD says that if you have a UTI, you should drink plenty of water to help flush bacteria from your system. If symptoms of a urinary tract infection persist after 2 days, you should see your doctor.10

You could also try some of my natural home remedies for UTIs.

Cardiovascular disease

Constantly having foamy urine even when you are drinking enough water could be a sign of cardiovascular disease.

According to the International Journal of Nephrology and Renovascular Disease, patients who have excess protein in their urine are also at greater risk of stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, and heart failure. Studies have shown that patients with hypertension (high blood pressure) have a 4-times greater risk of heart disease if they have proteinuria.11

There are many lifestyle changes you can make to improve the health of your heart and cardiovascular system. For example, some of the natural ways to reduce your risk of heart attack include regular exercise, reducing body weight, stopping smoking, and limiting alcohol consumption.

You should also be aware of the signs of heart disease and never ignore squeezing pains in your chest, especially if they spread to your arms.

Foamy Urine – When to See a Doctor

It’s good to remember that most of us have foamy urine from time to time and it is nothing to worry about. If you notice that your urine often gets foamy and it is not a pale color, you should increase your fluid intake. However, what should you do if your urine continues to look foamy?

According to urologist Dr. Erik Castle, if urine persistently is foamy, you should visit your doctor. A simple urine test will check urine protein levels and other substances in your urine. This will help your doctor diagnose the cause of foamy urine and recommend the best treatment.1

Read these other related articles:
1. What Can Your Urine Tell You about Your Health
2. How to Make Yourself Pee: Natural Ways That Actually Work
3. Leukocytes in Urine and Stool – Causes and Possible Solutions
4. What Do Nitrites In Urine Mean

Scientific Research Referenced in this Article

  1. MayoClinic. What does it mean when urine looks foamy?
  2. Crit Rev Environ Sci Tech. 2015; 45(17).
  3. Am Fam Physician.2000 Sep 15;62(6):1333-1340.
  4. Indian J Med Res. 2014 Jan; 139(1): 174–177.
  5. BMJ. 2008;336:968
  6. MayoClinic. Preeclampsia.
  7. KidneyResearchUK. Proteinuria.
  8. PatientInfo. Diabetic kidney disease.
  9. Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2006 Nov;21(11):3031-7.
  10. WebMD. A guide to urinary tract infections.
  11. Int J Nephrol Renovasc Dis. 2014; 7: 13–24.
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