Authored by Revere Health

Protein in the Urine: Causes, Signs & Treatment

October 13, 2016 | Nephrology

Protein in the Urine: Causes, Signs & Treatment

Protein is great stuff. It helps us build muscle, bone, cartilage and blood. A protein-rich meal makes you feel fuller, longer. But, when excess protein is showing up in your urine, it can cause other health problems.

Causes of Protein in the Urine

Your kidneys, when working properly, filter waste products from your blood. They return protein and other materials that your body needs to function.

Some conditions and diseases can cause the level of protein in your urine to rise. Short term conditions that cause protein in the urine can include strenuous exercise, fever, heat or cold exposure and emotional distress. Long term conditions and diseases that can lead to protein in the urine include high blood pressure, kidney infection or disease, heart disease, diabetes, lupus and malaria.
If a urine test reveals protein in your urine, your doctor may recommend further testing to determine the cause. Test may include a 24-hour urine collection to determine whether the protein in your urine is cause for concern. Your doctor may also follow up with an ultrasound or CT scan to look for issues like kidney stones or a biopsy to see what has caused damage to your kidneys.

How Can You Tell if There Is Protein in Your Urine?

If you have kidney damage and protein is escaping into your urine, you may notice the following symptoms:

  • Swelling in your face, abdomen or hands and feet.
  • Urine that appears bubbly, foamy or frothy.

If you notice either of these symptoms, talk to your doctor about the cause and what the best treatment may be. In some cases, the issue will resolve on its own without further treatment.

Who Should Be Tested for Protein in the Urine?

If you are part of a group that is considered high risk for kidney disease, your doctor will test your urine for protein as part of your regular preventative care. People who are at risk for kidney disease include:

  • Those who are 65 or older.
  • Those who have a family history of kidney disease.
  • Those who have high blood pressure or diabetes.
  • Members of certain ethnic groups, including Hispanics, Native Americans, Asians and African Americans.

What Treatment Follows Protein in the Urine?

Protein from an infection or fever will most likely resolve on its own. If your doctor confirms that you have kidney disease, a treatment plan will be put together. This treatment can include:

  • Changes in your diet.
  • Medication to control kidney disease symptoms that include swelling and high blood pressure.
  • Cessation of smoking and alcohol consumption.
  • Regular exercise.
  • Weight loss.

By making the changes that can reduce damage to your kidneys, you may be able to stop the progression and enjoy better health. If you have symptoms that indicate you have protein in your urine, contact your doctor. An early diagnosis can mean fewer health issues.
Check-ups are important for kidney patients. If you are due for an appointment, get in touch today by contacting Revere Health at (801) 429-8000.


Revere Health Orthopedics is the premier provider of orthopedic specialty care in Utah. We offer a full-range of orthopedic services related to musculoskeletal conditions for residents and athletes alike.




The Live Better Team

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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.