What Causes Protein In Urine

Risk Factors For Proteinuria

Urine Analysis: Protein

Certain people are more likely to develop proteinuria. Common risk factors include:

  • Age. Adults 65 and older are more susceptible to dehydration and kidney issues. Pregnant people older than 40 have a greater risk of preeclampsia.
  • High blood pressure. People with high blood pressure have higher risk for diabetes and kidney disorders.
  • Diabetes. Diabetes is the most common cause of CKD. Its also associated with preeclampsia and glomerulonephritis.
  • Family history. Youre more likely to develop proteinuria if you have a family history of kidney disease or preeclampsia.
  • Certain ethnicities. People of African American, Latino, American Indian, and Asian descent have a greater risk of kidney issues.
  • Being overweight or obese. High blood pressure, diabetes, and preeclampsia are associated with being overweight or obese.

In the early stages of kidney damage, you wont have any symptoms. Thats because there are only small amounts of protein in your urine.

But as kidney damage progresses, more protein will pass into your urine. This may cause symptoms like:

Causes Of High Protein

There may be various factors responsible for high protein amount in urine. Dehydration, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, glomerulonephritis, autoimmune problems, and chronic kidney disease, etc. Apart from that, many other factors such as intake of certain medicines, dehydration, and intense physical activities may be responsible for protein loss in urine. proteinuria treatment emphasises on managing its causative factors.

How Is Proteinuria Diagnosed

Proteinuria is diagnosed through a urine test. The patient provides a urine sample, which is examined in a lab. Doctors use a dipstick a thin plastic stick with chemicals on the tip to test part of the sample right away. If too much of any substance is in the urine, the chemical tip changes color.

The remainder of the urine is then examined under a microscope. Doctors look for substances that dont belong in urine. These substances include red and white blood cells, bacteria and crystals that can grow and develop into kidney stones.

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How Is The Test Used

Urine protein testing is used to detect excess protein in the urine . A semi-quantitative test such as a dipstick urine protein may be used to screen for the presence of protein in the urine as part of a routine urinalysis.

A urine protein test may be used to screen for, help evaluate, and monitor kidney function and to help detect and diagnose early kidney damage and/or disease. However, the test can also help screen for several other conditions that can cause proteinuria.

If slight to moderate amounts of protein are detected, then a repeat urinalysis and dipstick protein may be performed at a later time to see if there is still protein in the urine or if it has become undetectable.

If there is a large amount of protein in the first sample, repeat testing will be ordered. If increased levels of urine protein are observed in follow-up specimens, then a 24-hour urine protein may be ordered along with certain blood tests. Since the dipstick method primarily measures the protein albumin, and if follow-up, repeat urine samples are positive, a 24-hour urine test also may be ordered to obtain more detailed information.

Either a 24-hour urine protein or a random protein to creatinine ratio may be used to monitor a person with known kidney disease or damage. A dipstick urine protein and/or a protein to creatinine ratio may be used to screen people on a regular basis when they are taking a medication that may affect their kidney function.

What Else Causes Protein In Urine


Proteinuria causes are linked to other conditions. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two leading causes of chronic kidney disease , and kidney damage from those two conditions can result in proteinuria. Lupus, arthritis and other immune system disorders can also cause proteinuria. Protein in the urine can even be a warning sign of pre-eclampsia during pregnancy.

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What Are The Causes Behind It

Time to time rise in protein levels in the urine is mostly a temporary condition caused by fever, mental stress, consumption of excess protein, exercise, or exposure to heat and cold.

The key health complications that elevate protein levels consistently are:

What Is Nephrotic Syndrome

Nephrotic syndrome happens when there’s too much protein in urine because of a kidney problem. This causes:

  • swelling in parts of the body like the face, hands, belly, and feet
  • sudden weight gain

Most of the time, nephrotic syndrome goes away with medicine, and kids outgrow it by the time they’re teens.

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Fluctuations In Protein Excretion

The following conditions can cause transient increase in protein excretion:

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Drugs
  • Upright posture

Proteinuria can be seen in otherwise healthy young adults because of upright posture. This is called postural proteinuria, which is usually less than 1 gram/day. In this condition, random sample of urine shows protein but first morning sample of urine does not show any protein. This condition is benign and does not denote a kidney disease. Normal people and those with chronic kidney disease have diurnal variation in excretion of protein. At night, protein excretion is lower and less variable than in daytime. Samples taken at first void in the morning are more likely to accurately predict 24-hour protein and albumin excretion.

Other Conditions That Cause Protein In Urine

Protein in Urine Levels | Proteinuria Causes | Protein Loss in Urine | Protein in Urine Treatment

There are several conditions that can lead to elevated protein levels in the urine. The most common are:

  • Certain medications
  • Pale skin
  • Dry, itchy skin

Treatment for proteinuria depends on the underlying cause of the condition. If it is caused by diabetes or high blood pressure, these can be managed with medications. If acute kidney failure is causing proteinuria, a medical professional should treat the illness directly.

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How Is Proteinuria Treated

Treatment depends on the underlying condition that caused proteinuria. Each condition requires different treatments.

If kidney disease is confirmed, a treatment plan might include medication, diet changes, weight loss and exercise. Diabetes and hypertension patients with proteinuria might need blood pressure medication, and those with diabetes will have to control their blood sugar. Diabetes patients should receive glomerular filtration rate blood tests every year and may be referred to a nephrologist, a doctor who specializes in the kidneys.

Pregnant women with preeclampsia should be watched carefully. The condition, although serious during pregnancy, usually resolves itself once the baby is born. Proteinuria patients with low blood pressure should schedule annual urine tests and blood pressure checks.

If proteinuria isnt accompanied by diabetes, high blood pressure or any other medical condition, blood pressure medication still might be prescribed to prevent kidney damage. Blood pressure and urine should be checked every six months to make sure kidney disease isnt present. As for those with mild or temporary proteinuria, treatment may not be necessary.

What Are The Symptoms Of Nephrotic Syndrome

You may not know that you have nephrotic syndrome until you have routine blood and urine tests at a doctors appointment. The results of your tests can show that you have too much protein in your urine, not enough protein in your blood, or too much fat or cholesterol in your blood. Signs of nephrotic syndrome that you may notice are:

  • Swelling in your legs, feet, ankles, and sometimes face and hands
  • Weight gain

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Does Kidney Damage Go Away

In general, it does not. The goal is to detect kidney disease and damage early to minimize the damage and prolong kidney function. If the proteinuria detected is due to a kidney infection or urinary tract infection, the kidneys frequently will return to normal function as the infection resolves. If it is due to a medication, then in most cases the kidneys are likely to return to normal or near-normal function when the medication is stopped.

What Happens In Nephrotic Syndrome

Protein In Urine When Pregnant: Causes And Ways To Treat It

Glomeruli are balls of tiny blood vessels that help remove waste products from the blood. When the filters stop working correctly, too much protein gets into pee.

Protein helps hold fluids in the blood. With less protein in the blood, fluids can move to other parts of the body and cause swelling in the face, belly, hands, arms, and feet.

Many things can damage the glomeruli and cause nephrotic syndrome. But in kids it’s usually due to minimal change disease. The damage to the glomeruli is so small that it can be seen only under a strong microscope called an electron microscope.

Why kids get minimal change disease isn’t always known. It is believed to be due to an immune system problem. Often, it happens after an infection. Most kids outgrow minimal change disease by their teen years, with no kidney damage.

Rarely, kids can get other types of nephrotic syndrome due to things like:

  • cancer and tumors

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Protein In Urine And Life Expectancy

Your urine can give you an idea of how long you will live. Not convinced? The American Journal of Kidney Disease published by the National Kidney Foundation is behind the claim. So, according to the online report, your urine can say about your life expectancy. A strong link exists between the protein in urine and the mortality.

The study conducted on more than 810,000 patients in Canada confirms it. The patients with high levels of protein in the urine have a lower life expectancy. Men and women have both shown the same results. Therefore, it indicates that the patients have damaged the kidney. It allows the protein to enter the urine.

How To Reduce Protein In Urine

This article was co-authored by Robert Dhir, MD. Dr. Robert Dhir is a board certified Urologist, Urological Surgeon, and the Founder of HTX Urology in Houston, Texas. With over 10 years of experience, Dr. Dhirs expertise includes minimally-invasive treatments for enlarged prostate , kidney stone disease, surgical management of urological cancers, and mens health . His practice has been named a Center of Excellence for the UroLift procedure, and is a pioneer in non-surgical procedures for ED using his patented Wave Therapy. He earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from Georgetown University and was awarded honors in pre-medical studies, urology, orthopedics, and ophthalmology. Dr. Dhir served as chief resident during his urological surgical residency at University of Texas at Houston / MD Anderson Cancer Center in addition to completing his internship in general surgery. Dr. Dhir was voted Top Doctor in Urology for 2018 to 2019, one of the top three Best Rated Urologists in 2019 & 2020 for Houston Texas, and Texas Monthly has named him to the 2019 & 2020 Texas Super Doctors Rising Stars list.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, several readers have written to tell us that this article was helpful to them, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 218,664 times.

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Who Should Go For Urinalysis For Proteinuria

Several factors or medical conditions can increase your risk for protein loss in urine. People with the below factors should go for routine testing for proteinuria. People should go for testing for proteinuria if they have

  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure or hypertension
  • heart or blood vessels related disease
  • family history of kidney failure or any genetic kidney disease
  • blood in urine
  • certain medical conditions

How Do I Do A 24

Protein in my urine: Should I Worry?

In children who are potty-trained, you should start the collection on a day when your child doesn’t go to school, usually on a Sunday. As soon as your child gets out of bed in the morning, have him or her urinate into the toilet. This urine is not saved just flush it down the toilet. Write down the exact time your child urinates.

After this, whenever your child needs to urinate, have your child urinate in the special container the doctor or the laboratory gives you. For girls, collect the urine first in a urine hat, then pour it into the special container. You don’t need to mark the times when these urine samples are collected.

It’s important to collect all the urine your child produces all day and in the night. The next morning, wake your child up at about the same time as you did the day before. Have your child urinate into the container one last time. This ends the 24-hour collection. Now write the date and the time on the container label. Bring the container to the laboratory on this day. Since bacteria can grow in urine at room temperature, it’s important to keep the urine container in a refrigerator during the collection and before you deliver it to the laboratory. Be sure to wash your hands after handling the container.

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What To Do Next If Protein Is Found In Urine

If protein is found on complete urine examination it needs to be reconfirmed by repeat testing. If there is persistent proteinuria found on complete urine examination and transient causes of protein excretion ruled out, then the amount of protein in the urine needs to be quantified and nephrologist consultation to be done for further evaluation and management.

Next steps in the management includes urine examination and microscopy to check for red blood cells in urine and estimation of kidney function along with ultrasound of kidneys and urinary bladder to look for their size and evidence of any infection or stones. Based on the information obtained after the above testing and clinical examination, kidney biopsy may be required for further identification of specific cause of proteinuria, which will guide the treatment further.

Diagnosis Tests Of Protein In The Urine

First, you need to tell your doctor about the symptoms you are observing, the medicines you are taking, about pregnancy , and your medical history.

You will need to undergo the following tests for the presence of protein in the urine.

Dipstick test- In this case, color changes in the strip will indicate the presence or absence of urine. If protein is present, you may need to undergo further Urine Albumin-to-Creatinine Ratio test.

24-hour urine-protein test- You need to collect 24 hours of urine samples in containers which will be tested in the laboratory for protein

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How Will I Know If I Have Protein In My Urine

The only way to know if you have protein in your urine is to have a urine test. The test will measure the levels of protein in your urine.The name of the urine test that measures the level of albumin in your urine is called the urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio . A UACR compares the level of albumin to the level of creatinine . A normal UACR is less than 30mg/g. If your UACR is 30 mg/g or higher, it can be a sign of kidney disease, and you should ask your doctor if you should have other tests for kidney disease.

What Do My Test Results Mean

Protein in Urine Normal, Low, High Ranges

Test results may vary depending on your age, gender, health history, the method used for the test, and other things. Your test results may not mean you have a problem. Ask your healthcare provider what your test results mean for you.

Results are given in milligrams . Normal urine protein in adults is less than 150 mg within a 24-hour period.

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In The Lab You Follow The Steps Provided Below:

  • Clean your hands by washing it well.
  • Use a cleansing pad provided in the lab to clean the genital area. Women need to clean their labia from front to back. Men need to clean the tip of their genital organ.
  • Start urinating in the toilet.
  • Take the collection container offered and move it into the urine stream.
  • Collect the urine. It must contain at least one to two ounce. The lab requires the amount to test properly.
  • Finish urinating.
  • Return the sample to the lab as instructed.

If I Have Albuminuria Does It Mean I Have Kidney Disease

It may be an early sign of kidney disease, but your doctor will check you again to make sure albuminuria is not caused by something else, like not drinking enough water. If your doctor suspects that you have kidney disease, the urine test for albumin will be repeated. Three positive results over three months or more is a sign of kidney disease.

You will also be given a simple blood test to estimateGFR. GFR stands for glomerular filtration rate. Your GFR number tells you how well your kidneys are working.

You may also be given:

  • Imaging tests. . This produces a picture of your kidneys and urinary tract. It can show whether your kidneys have kidney stones or other problems.

  • A kidney biopsy. This can help find out what caused your kidney disease and how much damage to the kidneys has happened.

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Protein In Urine Symptoms

Most people who have proteinuria wonât notice any signs, especially in early or mild cases. Over time, as it gets worse, you might have symptoms including:

  • Foamy or bubbly pee
  • A family history of kidney disease
  • African American, Native American, Hispanic, or Pacific Islander descent

Some people get more protein into their urine while standing than while lying down. This condition is called orthostatic proteinuria.

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