Bubbles in the urine: Causes, symptoms, and treatment

The color, consistency and the texture of your urine can tell a lot about a person’s health. Normally urine should be of a smooth texture and pale yellow in color. However, if you are seeing the appearance of bubbles in your urinal, then it demands attention.

There a lot of myths regarding the presence of bubbles in the urine. One such misleading idea is that the consumption of too many carbonated drinks cause the urine to appear bubbly. This is totally incorrect. However, there are some conditions which can cause bubbles to appear in the urine.

Causes of bubbles in the urine

Non-dangerous causes of bubbles in urine

There are some very common, non-serious conditions which can cause your urine to appear bubbly. Most of these require little or no treatment and can be easily managed.

Stress:

Whenever the body experiences stress and anxiety, it also experiences some changes in its metabolism and functioning. Albumin is a small protein which is normally not found in the urine. Stress causes the urinary albumin ratios to rise up and lead to the development of bubbles in the urine. A study conducted in 2014 found out that caregivers suffering from caregiver burden had an increased level of albumin in their urine.

Dehydration:

Not consuming enough water on a daily basis can easily lead to dehydration. When the body goes into dehydration, there are many ways by which it starts to conserve water. Due to that the urine becomes concentrated containing the body’s waste substances without water to provide dilution. This buildup of toxic substances causes extra air bubbles to accumulate in the urine. The urine also appears darker in color during dehydration as compared to the light straw color of normal urine.

Menstruation:

This monthly process of removing the lining of the uterus has no direct effect which leads to bubbles in the urine. Instead, menstruation causes the body to lose water and enter into a state of dehydration. Thus this leads to bubbles in the urine. Women will usually see bubbles in their urine during the first two or three days of menstruation after which it all returns back to normal.

Pregnancy:

Women experience a variety of body changes during pregnancy. One such change is the alteration of the kidney and its functioning. Normally the kidney does not let any protein to pass out into the urine. But when women are pregnant, the kidney starts to send proteins into the urine. This causes the urine to be full of bubbles. This is not at all dangerous as the kidney goes back to its normal function as soon as the pregnancy ends.

Rapid urination:

Urinating with a strong and forceful stream can also cause bubbles to appear. Holding your urine for a very long time causes pressure to build up. When you finally urinate after holding it for a long time, the increased pressure causes the urine stream to be extremely powerful. This rapid expulsion of urine causes it to be bubbly and foamy.

Toilet products:

This might seem like an absurd cause but trust me it isn’t. Using various cleaning products and chemical to clean the toilet bowl causes certain gasses to build up. When it comes in contact with urine, bubbles start to develop and the urine appears foamy. You can do a self-experiment by peeing into a toilet bowl which has a toilet cleaner sitting in. You will surely see bubbles and foam in the toilet bowl.

Semen in the urine:

Men can sometimes notice bubbles in their urine right after sexual intercourse. This happens because some semen is left in the urinary passage which causes bubbling when urine is passed. This could be due to a faulty bladder sphincter which causes semen to pass into the bladder.

Dangerous causes of bubbles in the urine

There can be some causes of bubbles in the urine which are worrisome. These conditions are often accompanied by other symptoms as well. These conditions need treatment by a physician, as a failure to treat can cause further problems.

Urinary tract infections:

The environment of the urinary bladder and the urine in it are completely sterile and clean. There are absolutely no bacteria in the urine when it is in the bladder. But sometimes due to various factors, bacteria can grow in the urine. When this happens, gasses are produced and when the urine is passed out, the expulsion of these gasses with it cause bubbling. Foamy urine due to a urinary tract infection is easy to identify as urination becomes painful. People with a urinary tract infection often experience a burning sensation too when urinating.

Proteinuria:

Proteinuria is a condition in which the body starts to pass too much protein in the urine. There are certain diseases in which the kidney is injured and inflamed. This causes an excess protein to be passed in the urine causing the urine to become foamy. Normally the urine should contain no more than 150 grams/deciliter of protein. Any more than this leads to proteinuria. Excretion of more than 3.58 grams of protein within twenty-four hours can be a sign of chronic kidney disease.

Diabetes:

People with long-standing diabetes are prone to kidney problems quite commonly. This is because increased levels of body sugar have a harmful effect on the kidney. The kidney gets scarred and injured and loses the ability to function properly. Thus proteins like albumin start to leak out of the kidney into the urine. This protein causes bubbles to appear in the urine.

Pre-eclampsia:

Pre-eclampsia is a disease which is exclusive to pregnant women. During pregnancy, some women develop severe hypertension along with the passage of protein in the urine which makes the urine foamy. This protein also causes swelling of the body, vision problems and difficulty breathing.

Pregnant women with hypertension and proteinuria should be examined to avoid hazardous consequences.

Elevated blood calcium:

When the blood level of calcium exceeds the normal defined range, the condition is known as Hypercalcemia. Increased level of calcium in the blood causes dehydration. This makes the urine more concentrated than usual and causes bubbles to appear in the urine. Hypercalcemia also causes excessive thirst and frequent urination.

Vesicocolic fistula:

A fistula is an abnormal connection between two structures. When this abnormal connection exists between the bladder and the gut it is known as a vesicocolic fistula. This connection causes air, gas, and bacteria to travel from the gut into the bladder. When urine is passed this air and gas passes with it and causes bubbling in the urine. People with a vesicocolic fistula also suffer from multiple urinary infections. This condition should be urgently treated as it is quite dangerous.

Symptoms which accompany foamy urine

According to the cause, there can be a lot of other symptoms which can accompany bubbly urine.

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Swelling of the hands, feet or the whole body
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Lower back pain
  • Blood in the urine
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy.

Symptoms which should be urgently taken care of:

  • Urine turning cloudy
  • Bloody urine
  • Swelling in the whole body
  • Consistently foamy urine over the period of multiple days.

Treatment of bubbles in the urine

Bubbles in the urine can be eliminated if the cause is removed. The most important step is identifying what is causing the bubbles to appear in the urine. Once the cause is known, adequate treatment can be started.

Urinary tract infection:

Urinary tract infections are very common and can easily be treated by consuming a large quantity of water and antibiotics. The water flushes out the bacteria and the antibiotics kill the ones which remain. Drinking cranberry juice also helps as it has natural antibiotic properties.

Pre-eclampsia:

If pregnancy has to be maintained, then this condition can be managed with anti-hypertensive and close monitoring of the mother. However if conditions are worsening, then delivering the baby and, ending the pregnancy are the ultimate treatment modality.

Dehydration:

Around 8 glasses of water should be consumed every day to stay properly hydrated. This quantity can be increased if you are involved in a strenuous physical activity and are prone to losing body water.

Proteinuria:

Proteinuria can be a sign of kidney disease. The first step of treatment involves visiting a good physician and making dietary and lifestyle modifications according to their guidelines. Blood pressure and blood glucose should also be kept in control to protect the kidney.

Diabetes:

Proper control of blood sugar has to be maintained to protect the kidney. Excess sugar has harmful effects on the kidney. Following a healthy and balanced diet, maintaining medication compliance and being consistent with physician appointments leads to good control of blood sugar and a healthy kidney.

Vesicocolic fistula:

A vesicocolic fistula requires surgical correction if your doctor thinks so. About half of such fistulas end up closing on their own. Your doctor is the one who can decide what to do after a proper examination and series of imaging scans.

Hypercalcemia:

Excess calcium in the body can be reduced with certain calcium-lowering medications. Also, hydration can help to reduce body calcium levels. Tests should be carried out to determine the cause of hypercalcemia and necessary treatment should be initiated to treat the cause.

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