What Would Cause Protein In Urine

When To See A Doctor

Protein in my urine: Should I Worry?

If a urine test reveals protein in your urine, ask your doctor whether you need further testing. Because protein in urine can be temporary, your doctor might recommend a repeat test first thing in the morning or a few days later.

Your doctor might order other tests, such as a 24-hour urine collection, to determine if there is a cause for concern.

If you have diabetes, your doctor may check for small amounts of protein in urine also known as microalbuminuria once or twice each year. Newly developing or increasing amounts of protein in your urine may be the earliest sign of diabetic kidney damage.

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How Is Protein In Urine Diagnosed

Testing for protein in urine is typically done via a test called a urinalysis. This simple urine test can detect protein levels in the urine and can be conducted in a doctors office. After your urine sample is collected, it is tested with a dipstick. When your urine has large amounts of protein, the strip of paper will change color. Technicians may also examine the sample via microscope.

If a urinalysis detects protein in the urine, your doctor will likely order an additional urine test or tests to determine if you have kidney disease. Your doctor may also conduct blood tests to measure your glomerular filtration rate , which can tell them how well your kidneys are filtering out waste, as well as other blood tests if needed to help identify the cause of the proteinuria. Additional tests may include an ultrasound, CT scan, or kidney biopsy.

When your urine is tested for protein, the test compares the amounts of albumin and creatinine, an amino acid, in your urine. A urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio higher than 30 milligrams per gram observed more than twice over a three-month period may indicate kidney disease.

If you get an abnormal result that detects protein in urine, your doctor will also probably want to check your cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and blood pressure to determine what conditions might be contributing to proteinuria.

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.

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Risks Of Protein In Urine While Pregnant

The risks of protein in urine during pregnancy depend on what is causing the elevated levels. Some of the causes are less serious than others, or easier to treat and resolve.

Most of the causes of protein in urine in early pregnancy do not have serious risks. If protein is found in your urine before 20 weeks, it is less likely to be a concerning symptom, says Maggie Bolton, CNM, ARNP, clinical director of Quilted Health. However, it should still be evaluated.

Increased protein in urine after 20 weeks is where there may be serious risks to you or your baby, especially if coupled with elevated blood pressure, and symptoms like blurred vision, swelling, and shortness of breath. In this case, you may have preeclampsia, and you will need to be monitored and treated.

Preeclampsia is a progressive disorder which can affect many body systems, Bolton describes. It is caused by the placenta and the pregnant persons vascular system and in most cases, it resolves quickly after the birth. Your provider will want to monitor you very closely, and may even recommend induction depending on the severity of the condition.

How Does Eating Diet And Nutrition Affect Nephrotic Syndrome

Bence Jones protein in urine: Tests and causes

Eating, diet, and nutrition have not been shown to play a role in causing or preventing nephrotic syndrome. However, if you have developed nephrotic syndrome, your health care professional may recommend that you

  • limit intake of sodium and fluids to help control swelling
  • reduce the amount of fat and cholesterol in your diet to help control your blood cholesterol levels

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The Importance Of Blood Pressure In The Body

When you pour a kettle of noodles into a kitchen strainer, gravity pulls both noodles and water downwards through the strainer. Inside the body, the force that causes blood to move through the kidneys filter is the blood pressure. Make the blood pressure too low and there isnt enough force to push adequate amounts of blood through the filter, causing a decrease in the amount of blood filtered and lowering the amount of urine produced. In much the same way, one would expect that increasing the blood pressure would cause a rise in the amount of blood filtered and urine produced. However, this does not always happen. The kidney has a sort of built-in gate system that allows it to resist increased blood pressures and keep the filtration rate fairly constant.

In situations where the blood pressure is chronically elevated, this gating mechanism starts to break down. As this happens, the delicate filtering structures of the kidneys are exposed to abnormally high pressures, which they are not designed to handle. One result of this increased pressure is a gradual deterioration of the vessel structures that form the actual filter. This deterioration is much like making the holes on a kitchen strainer larger. As the size of the holes increases, progressively larger substances are able to pass through this initial barrier into the kidney, where they eventually become part of the urine.

How Do Doctors Treat Ckd

Doctors can treat some of the symptoms and health problems CKD causes. For example, your treatment plan may include:

  • Certain medicines to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol
  • Diuretics to help your kidneys get rid of salt and water and lower swelling
  • Dialysis: A treatment that uses a machine to clean your blood when your kidneys are no longer able to.
  • Kidney transplant: A surgery to give you a healthy kidney from someone else’s body. A kidney transplant may be an option for you when your kidneys have failed.

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What Does Protein In Urine Mean

In a non-pregnant individual, a normal amount of protein in urine would be about 150mg/day. But when you are pregnant, that number can increase to up to 300mg/day.

Our bodies go through various changes during pregnancy, says Jee Shim, MD, an OB/GYN at Long Island Jewish Forest Hills Hospital in New York. One of the normal/expected changes is increased levels of protein in the urine.

Whether or not your healthcare provider would be concerned with the amount of protein during pregnancy would depend on the amount, says Dr. Shim.

If the levels are higher than 300mg/day, it will need further evaluation by your OB/GYN doctor, she explains. Less than 300 mg/day is considered normal.

It also depends on where you are in your pregnancy. Elevated levels of protein in urine in early pregnancy may not be as much of a concern as higher levels later on in pregnancy.

For the most part, having a small amount of protein in early pregnancy is considered either normal or may be indicative of a minor infection in your urine, says Amy Wetter, MD, OB/GYN at Northside Womens Specialists, part of Pediatrix Medical Group.

Further investigation of the cause might be indicated in this case, says Dr. Wetter, but its not typically something that worries her. On the other hand, elevated protein in the urine after 20 weeks is usually more concerning.

What Effect Does An Excess Of Protein Have On The Kidneys

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

Protein is required by the body to help build muscle, heal damaged tissue, and fight infection. If you have renal illness, you may need to be cautious about the amount of protein you consume. Consuming an excessive amount of protein might result in waste building up in your blood, which your kidneys may be unable to clear completely.

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Treating Protein In Urine While Pregnant

Treatment for urine in pregnancy will depend on what the cause is, and where you are in your pregnancy.

In early pregnancy, protein in urine often indicated a UTI or other kidney issue. Usually, this can be treated simply.

If I have a patient with a small amount of protein in their urine and that patient is otherwise healthy with no chronic medical problems, my first step is to reassure them, encourage them to drink plenty of water if dehydration is suspected, and then also send a urine culture to evaluate further, says Dr. Wetter.

If you have other conditions that are causing protein in your urine, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or kidney disease, you will need to get a thorough history taken as well as a physical examination, says Dr. Wetter. Special attention will need to be paid to your weight, as well as your blood pressure, she says.

If you are later in your pregnancy and its determined that you have preeclampsia, you will need to be treated promptly and thoroughly for this, so that your health, as well as the health of your baby, is protected.

If you are more than 37 weeks pregnant and are diagnosed with preeclampsia, induction and delivery of the baby will likely be recommended. If you are less than 37 weeks, you will probably be put on bed rest, and you may be given medication like magnesium sulfate to prevent seizures. The health of you and your baby will be closely monitored until you give birth.

Proteinuria And High Blood Pressure

The kidney is essentially a filter that functions to remove certain waste products from the blood. In its simplest form, the kidney functions much like a simple kitchen strainer. Blood passes over a series of holes in the kidney blood vessels, and a small amount of it is allowed to flow through the more complicated regions of the kidney, where more detailed filtering occurs. Though later filtering steps are more complex, this initial filtering functions to exclude certain blood components based solely on size. Proteinuria represents a breakdown in early filtering apparatus of the kidney.

The intricate web of blood vessels and other tissues that form the physical filter of the kidney is quite delicate and functions appropriately only within a narrow range of parameters.

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Other Conditions That Cause Protein In Urine

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.

How Do I Get Rid Of Proteinuria Naturally

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

Your diet should consist of 15-20% protein if you have symptoms of Proteinuria. Long-term damage to your kidneys may be corrected by restricting protein, if you are diabetic, or experiencing kidney problems. Increase fresh vegetables and fiber intake – Up to 55 grams of fiber per day is recommended.

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What If My Kidneys Fail

If your kidneys stop working because of nephrotic syndrome, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to live. If you are interested in getting a transplant, you must have a full health evaluation by a transplant team at a transplant center. The evaluation will help the transplant team decide if you are ready for the kidney transplant. If the transplant team decides you are ready, the next step will be for your transplant team to help you find a kidney match.

What Does It Mean To Have Proteinuria In The Urine

Proteins, which help build muscle and bone, control blood fluid levels, fight infection, and repair tissue, should be kept in the circulation. If they are not, these functions become impaired. The body’s response to this problem is to remove more protein from the blood into the urine.

Renal impairment can cause protein to leak out of your blood vessels and into your urine. This can lead to severe kidney disease if left untreated. Proteinuria is also seen with many other conditions, such as:

High blood pressure – In people with hypertension, there is increased demand on the kidneys to filter salt and water from the blood. This high demand can lead to chronic injury and scarring of the kidney tissues, which may result in proteinuria.

Diabetes mellitus- People with diabetes often have high levels of glucose in their blood. To reduce blood glucose levels, they must pass more sodium and water through their kidneys. This increased demand can lead to proteinuria.

Heart failure- With heart failure, the heart cannot pump enough blood into the circulatory system. This leads to fluid buildup in the legs and lungs. The kidneys respond by trying to eliminate more fluid via the urine.

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Protein In Urine Diagnosis

A urine test called a urinalysis can tell whether you have too much protein in your pee. First, youâll pee into a cup. A lab technician will dip in a stick with chemicals on the end. If the stick changes color, itâs a sign of too much protein. You might need to have this test more than once to find out how long the protein is there.

The technician will also look at the pee under a microscope. Theyâre checking for things that shouldnât be there, which might mean kidney problems. These include red and white blood cells, crystals, and bacteria.

If your doctor suspects kidney disease, you might need to have other urine tests. Your doctor might also order:

  • Blood tests. These measure certain chemicals to check how well your kidneys are working.
  • Imaging tests. CT scans and ultrasounds can spot kidney stones, tumors, or other blockages.
  • A kidney biopsy. Your doctor might need to take a small sample of kidney tissue so a lab technician can look at it under a microscope.

Advice From Patients And Professionals

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Elle Lee, LCSW began her career as a licensed therapist after experiencing kidney failure from IgA Nephropathy in 2009. While on peritoneal dialysis, she experienced worries, stress, and emotional struggles that are common among people with kidney failure, which motivated her to become a therapist to help people cope better.

Elle joins AKF to share tips on how people living with kidney disease can better safeguard their mental health.

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Foamy Urine As A Sign Of Proteinuria

While foamy or frothy urine can be a sign of proteinuria, other factors can cause urine to be foamy on occasion. The foaminess should be persistent over time before considering other causes, like decreased kidney function.

Foamy urine is not diagnostic of proteinuria. In fact, some people may have bilirubinuria or retrograde ejaculation .

If the kidneys have sustained only mild damage, proteinuria may be minimal to moderate, depending upon where in the kidney the damage has occurred. On the other hand, if the loss of kidney function is severe, proteinuria may be a contributor to nephrotic syndrome in which fluids and dyslipidemia present a more serious condition.

Symptoms of nephrotic syndrome include:

  • Foamy urine

Is It Normal To Have Protein In Urine With A Uti


If your urine protein levels are consistently high, it may indicate kidney damage or other medical condition. These include: Urinary tract infection. Lupus.

Likewise, can urinary tract infection cause high creatinine? High serum creatinine levels in the blood indicate that the kidneys arent functioning properly. Your serum creatinine levels may be slightly elevated or higher than normal due to: a blocked urinary tract. kidney problems, such as kidney damage or infection.

Furthermore, is protein in urine bad?

Healthy kidneys act as filters that keep protein in the bloodstream and the body, so most healthy people have very little protein in their urine. The presence of protein in the urine, or proteinuria, is an early indicator of kidney damage and cause for alarm.

What are the side effects of protein in urine?

  • Foamy or frothy urine.
  • Swelling in hands, feet, or face.
  • Dry skin.

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Diagnosis / Testing Of Proteinuria

Routine complete urine examination test uses a multireagent dipstick for screening of protein in the urine. It is low cost, widely available and provides rapid point of care information. These dipstick reagents have a pH-sensitive colorimetric indicator which changes color when proteins bind to it. Based on the color, amount of proteinuria is estimated in a semiquantitative way . These dipsticks predominantly detect albumin and likely to miss non albumin and small LMW proteins. Very dilute urine can give false negative result and very concentrated urine can give false positive result. Blood in the urine can also give a false positive result, which is generally seen in menstruating women if the urine sample is collected during days of menstrual bleeding.

Proteinuria repeatedly positive on dipstick needs to be quantified which can be done by 24-hour urine total protein or albumin quantification for which urine is to be collected over 24 hours.

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