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Date of last update: 8/11/2017.

Forum Name: Urology Topics

Question: Bubbly or Foaming Urine

rybakgirl - Wed Jun 22, 2005 2:11 pm

For the last 3 weeks or so I have had a lot of bubbles in my urine, sometimes it is worse than others and there is times I go and there is no bubbles. It appears foamy almost. Is this something that I should be concerned about and maybe see a doctor? It has never been like this before.
Dr. Tamer Fouad - Tue Nov 21, 2006 5:18 am


Foam formation in urine could be a manifestation of excess proteins in urine especially albumen.

The most general definition of foam is a substance that is formed by trapping many gas bubbles in a liquid. Excess protein can cause the urine to foam in water. This occurs because protein changes the surface tension between urine and water in much the same way that a detergent decreases water surface tension. Protein, as well as detergent, in this case is what physicists call a surface active substance.

Normally proteins are not found in urine (less than150 mg per day) and their presence could be due to many factors which could be a manifestation of a kidney disease. Albumin makes up about 30mg per day. Hence, total protein above 150 mg or albumin above 30 mg per day are abnormal. Total protein above 300 mg per day is known as clinical proteinuria and is usually accompanied by various other clinical manifestations such as generalized edema.

Before we jump to any conclusions you should have a dipstick test for urinary protein or a simple urine analysis. For a more precise measurement, you may need to collect urine for 24 hours (microalbumin study - positive between 30 - 300 mg albumin per day).

It may also be something as simple as a forceful flow of urine that could make a foamy type of appearance due to excess trapping of air in urine as it contacts water.

Best regards,

Dr. Tamer Fouad.

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