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Why Is My Urine Foamy? | Muack.net

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So you’re doing your thing, but today, you notice that your urine looks…foamy. Is that bad weird or just weird? It depends. Foamy urine can indicate health problems, but it also may be totally harmless. “First of all, it could just be that your stream is really strong,” says Joshua R. Gonzalez, MD, a urologist and sexual health expert practicing in Los Angeles.

If that doesn’t seem right, have you recently cleaned your commode? It’s possible that the chemicals in the products you used may be producing the foam.

If neither of these things check out, it’s time to take a look at what health issues could be at play.

 

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One clue is the color. According to the Cleveland Clinic, your urine shouldn’t be completely clear (that can indicate you’re drinking too much water) or too cloudy (that could mean you have a urinary tract infection or kidney stones). Your pee should optimally appear pale to dark yellow. True foamy urine will be white, and will remain in your toilet after a flush, according to Northwestern Medicine.

These are some of the reasons your pee can come out foamy, and when to let a doctor know about it.

What Causes Foamy Urine?

The most likely reason behind foamy urine: dehydration. “Just drink more water,” says Dr. Gonzalez. As long as you’re consistent about downing enough H20, it should resolve. Here’s how much water you should drink in a day.

Other likely causes of foamy urine:

Protein in your urine. According to the Mayo Clinic, protein in your urine, which is also called proteinuria, is a waste product that your kidneys normally get rid of. Sometimes, though, protein passes through the filters of your kidneys and ends up in your urine. This doesn’t necessarily indicate something serious; it can happen if you run a fever, if you’ve been in extremely cold temperatures, or if you’ve worked out really hard.

Protein in your urine can also be serious, and indicate that your kidneys are damaged. This damage could be due to inflammation in the kidney cells that remove waste from your body, or could be small blood vessel damage in your kidneys. Protein in your pee can also indicate a condition like chronic kidney disease, Dr. Gonzalez points out, especially if you find you’re making less urine than usual.

Protein in your urine can also potentially mean you have heart disease, lupus, high blood pressure, or multiple myeloma (white blood cell cancer).

Another protein-related condition is amyloidosis. This rare disorder happens when a protein called amyloid builds up somewhere your body. In your kidneys, this can cause fluids to build up, and your urine can come out foamy. Nearly 70 percent of amyloidosis patients are men.

Retrograde ejaculation. According to data from Harvard Medical School, retrograde ejaculation happens when you have an orgasm, but your semen doesn’t come out of your penis. “Some of all of the semen goes backward into your bladder,” explains Dr. Gonzalez. The semen can show up in your urine, making it foamy. Retrograde ejaculation isn’t a condition that can impact your sex life, but it can cause male infertility, so you may want to seek treatment for that reason.

Your prescription meds. Foamy urine could also be due to a medication you’re taking. Phenazopyridines are drugs used to treat UTIs, and a side effect of these drugs can be foamy pee. The problem should clear up once you finish taking the meds.

When Should I Talk to a Doctor About Foamy Urine?

“If foamy urine is an isolated symptom, it might not be anything to worry about,” says Dr. Gonzalez. “If, however, you have other symptoms–like the color of your urine changes, you see blood, or you feel a burning sensation when you pee–then you could have an infection or another condition.”

There are a wide range of symptoms that might co-exist with foamy urine, depending on the underlying problem. An important rule: “fever, nausea, vomiting or fatigue, along with foamy urine, should be checked out,” Dr. Gonzalez stresses.

Other symptoms you shouldn’t ignore include:

• Swelling of your hands or feet, or swelling in your face or stomach. This could mean your kidneys are damaged, and that you’re retaining fluid.

• Loss of appetite

• Feeling really tired, or not being able to sleep

Tests you might get when you have foamy urine

Your doctor will perform a urinalysis to test for infection or disease. According to the National Kidney Foundation, you’ll provide two tablespoons of urine by peeing in a cup. Then your doctor will do the following:

  • Check the color and clearness of your urine
  • Look at your urine under a microscope to check your blood cells, see if any bacteria is present, or see if there are any crystals (these are the precursor to kidney stones)
  • Do a dipstick test. This analyzes how much acid is in your urine, and can reveal diabetes, kidney issues, liver problems, or infections.

What is the Treatment for Foamy Urine?

If you’re diagnosed with a medical condition, the condition itself will be treated. Most likely, that will clear up the problem.

You might feel weird or embarrassed about foamy urine, but don’t avoid getting the answer as to why you have it. “It’s way better to come in to see your doctor and be told it’s OK than not to do anything about it,” says Dr. Gonzalez.

Headshot of Lisa Mulcahy

Contributing Writer

Lisa is an internationally established health writer whose credits include Good Housekeeping, Prevention, Oprah Daily, Woman’s Day, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Parade, Health, Self, Family Circle and Seventeen. She is the author of eight best-selling books, including The Essentials of Theater.

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