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Bubbly, foamy, smelly urine - Causes
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Bubbly, foamy, smelly urine - Causes

Normal Conditions of Bubbles in Urine

The presence of bubbles in urine is not always a sign of an underlying medical condition. Here are some benign conditions that can cause urine to bubble.

Bubbles during Pregnancy
During pregnancy some women experience kidney enlargement. This enlargement can result in urine that bubbles. Furthermore, during pregnancy a woman's kidneys must also filter higher amounts of amino acids. When the amount of amino acids exceeds the renal tubules ability to absorb the acids, protein can escape into the urine. Protein in the urine can cause the urine to bubble.

Bubbles due to Mild Dehydration
Mild dehydration can result in bubbles in urine. This occurs because mild dehydration causes the urine to concentrate and highly concentrated urine tends to bubble. Because people with diabetes are at high risk for dehydration, they may experience bubbles in their urine more often than those who do not have diabetes. Maintaining adequate hydration levels will reverse this finding if the underlying cause is truly mild dehydration. 

Bubbles during Rapid Urination
Urinating rapidly can result in bubbles in urine. Dehydration can cause people to urinate rapidly. If bubbles in urine are due to dehydration, increasing the level of hydration can help reverse this finding.

Abnormal Conditions of Bubbles in Urine

There are times when bubbles in urine are indicative of medical disorders such as kidney disease or urinary tract infections. Here are some conditions that can cause frothy urine.

Proteinuria, or protein in the urine, can result in bubbles in urine that gives off a foamy appearance.Infrequent bubbles in urine can occur after ingesting large amounts of protein found in protein drinks, muscle protein gaining supplements, or a large meal of fish or other protein. When a normal amount of protein is consumed in excess the healthy body is able to gets rid of the extra by eliminating it through urine. But when protein is consumed in excess amounts, the kidneys can have a more difficult time getting rid of the excess waste.

Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infectionscan also cause urine to bubble. In this circumstance, the bubbles result from microorganisms entering into a sterile urinary tract that releases a gas, which results in bubbles. The bubbles found during urination are often accompanied by pain or a burning sensation. This condition needs to be assessed by a physician who can order a urinalysis to determine whether an infection is present. If a diagnosis of a urinary tract infection is made then the bubbles in urine should disappear after the infection is treated with a round of antibiotics.

Vesicocolic Fistula
A fistula is a connection between two organs or blood vessels that does not normally exist. A vesicocolic fistula can form between the bladder and colon and is more commonly found in men than in women by a 3:1 ratio.

When bubbles form in urine due to a vesicocolic fistula it is called pneumaturia. In this case bubbles are introduced into urine when the base of the bladder becomes inflamed or swollen and the surrounding fluid builds up under the skin. The bubbles contained in the fluid are then released in the urine. In this case you should consult your physician to uncover the exact cause of the bubbles.

Foamy Urine
Some people fail to differentiate between bubbles in urine and foamy urine. Frothy or foamy urine is often just a result of forceful urination that comes from ignoring the need to urinate. The foamy appearance of urine in the toilet bowl is a result of excess air getting trapped in the urine. However, if the urine is consistently foamy there may be protein in the urine, which can be indicative of kidney disease. If you consistently have foamy urine it is important that you consult your physician to rule out potential kidney disease.


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