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What causes foamy urination? - Online Doctor Chats

Date : 11-Apr-2014
User rating for this question
Very Good Posted in: Urinary and Bladder Problems
Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 1775 Questions
User:I'm worried because I have intermittent bubbles and few foam patches on urine. It's surface and not all over or layered up like a beer mug... Just varying amount of few bubbles or small areas of tiny bubbles, often with a large one in the middle. It's less or none when well hydrated. They pop and disappear in a little while. I'm really looking since I read about it on the internet so often I wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't looked so intently.
Doctor:So I see that you are worried about the frothy nature of the urine stream
Doctor:It's a pretty common thing. Most of the time, it's because a tiny bit of protein is leaking into the urine
Doctor:It happens very commonly when you are dehydrated
User:I see some in toilet bowl. Just patches of bubbles. Not all the time. Don't know that it's in the stream.
Doctor:I understand
User:Usually if I go into a container it's not there.
Doctor:Right, because the urine is hitting the water which has a different surface viscocity
Doctor:Whereas if you go into a container, its all the same liquid.
User:I drink a lot of water.
Doctor:Do you think you drink enough water?
User:Hydration seems to affect it and also amount.
Doctor:Yhea, the excess water in the urine will lower the surface tension.
Doctor:Overall, it's nothing to worry about
User:I'm also inspecting it because I'm worried about it. I read about it on Internet so started looking. Only ocassionallly is there enough patches that u would have noticed otherwise.
Doctor:But if you feel you need to get this tested, you can get a Urinalysis done on your next physical
Doctor:There are also, OTC testing strips that test for protein in your urine. That's the main issue when you think of excessively frothy urine.
User:This morning there were like 3 small patches of the bubbles that continued to pop and disappear in about 10 minutes. So I drank water. Then went in a cup and it was like water. No bubbles but a few very tiny particles like dust. But it wasn't a sterile cup. Wasn't cloudy. Looked like water. I had to look close to see the few particles.
User:Please defines excessive. It's never all over or piled up. It's more a collection of bubbles in an area
Doctor:Again, a few tiny particles are to be expected. There will be tiny nephrons and cells in the urinary tract that are sloughing off normally. So again, to be expected.
Doctor:When a person has proteinuria.. It's kind of crazy.. The froth looks like it's coming out of soapwater in a washing machine, it sort of piles up
Doctor:When I was in med school. We used to have to test urine samples by boiling them (please imagine a biochem lab with 30 students boiling urine samples and know how much we are tortured as med students)
Doctor:In those situations we would get to see what high protein content in urine behaves like.
User:Okay doesn't pile up. Like I said the very worse it gets is all patches of bubbles of varying sizes that graduallypop. TThe bigger the bubble, the faster they pop.
Doctor:I wouldn't worry. It's pretty normal. I do recommend that your try and increase your plain water intake a bit
Doctor:As long as you are not on any fluid restrictions for heart or kidney issues, you will be better off
User:I drink plain water all day. It makes a difference. Like I said, this morning after I drank water, it looked like water . And yes imagining med student torture... Lol
Doctor:The smell, the horrid smell... yeesh
Doctor:ok. Anyways. Like I said. Don't worry. It's normal
Doctor:Is there anything else I can help you with?
User:But sometimes a little around the edge
User:Even when hydrated... But I have to look for it... Bend down and look for the little bubbles around the edge... Sick, huh?
Doctor:Even the healthiest person will have some frothing, the urine contains uric acid and other chemicals which will alter it's surface tension
Doctor:Not sick... but definitely not something you need to worry about
User:So if I had a real problem there would be significant frothing like soap suds pretty much all over and all the time?
Doctor:Also, along with the heavy froth in the urine, you would notice swelling in your face and other places where the skin is thin, like the ankles.
Doctor:That's one of the key symptoms of proteinuria
User:And trace amounts of protein in urine sample is okay isn't it? Had that once. Doctor said okay. Drank more and did it again. Then no protein bit over hydrated!
Doctor:Trace proteins are completely normal. Nothing to worry about
Doctor:And you may think your overhydrated, but most people tend to skew tword dehydration. I can't say that in your case. But I would definitely try and drink a little more plain water than you normally do
User:I had my doctor check my ankles. I always imagine there swollen. They don't hurt and I don't have large anklesbbut they're not bony like some people. He always says no fluid and quit worrying.
Doctor:I'd listen to the doc. Sounds like you are on the right track with them.
User:Thanks. And I know about smelly urine. I volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center. Do urin ttests the dehydrated samples, I can barely breathe so I recommend one water!
User:More water
Doctor:Ahh, a fellow suffering soul
Doctor:Take care. And I'm grateful to you for the work you do
Doctor:Anything else I can help you with?
User:So do yourrecommend not reading the
Doctor:I recommend being very careful with the internet, and always checking with your doc first before you get worried about something you've read
User:Thankyou it's very rewarding
Doctor:Always Happy to help!
Doctor:Take Care!
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