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What Does It Mean When You Have Foamy Urine?

Is your foamy urine accompanied by other symptoms, such as abdominal pain or different color urine? Read on to learn what these symptoms might mean and how to correct them.

Going to the bathroom min scaled

Going to the bathroom and seeing foamy urine can be alarming. But what does it mean? Is it a sign that your kidneys are not working correctly? Or is it a urinary tract infection?

In some cases, foamy urine may be accompanied by different-colored urine. This can further indicate that there may be something wrong.

In this article, we’ll explore all the possible reasons why bubbles are in your urine and what you can do about it. Our experts also explain what different colors of urine might mean.

Why Do I Have Foamy Urine?

A puddle of urine with bubbles; foamy urine
Foamy urine may indicate an underlying health condition, such as diabetes or lupus.

Foamy urine can indicate kidney, bladder, or urinary tract problems. It may even be a sign of liver malfunction.

According to Western medicine, foamy urine may indicate protein in the urine. This is not normal. Your kidneys are responsible for filtering protein, but it should be kept in the body.

If the kidneys are releasing protein into your urine, it could mean that they are not working properly. This may be due to diseases that impact your kidneys, such as diabetes or lupus, as well as other underlying health conditions.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) states that foam or bubbles in urine, and even other accompanying symptoms like frequent, urgent, painful, and dribbling urination are all classified under the TCM disease chapter named “Stranguria.”  

According to TCM Physician Chu I Ta, the etiology factors are due to:

  • External contraction of Damp-Heat
  • Improper diet
  • Emotional Disturbance
  • Congenital deficiency

These factors transform into the pathogenesis of Damp-Heat accumulation in the lower jiao, resulting in impaired qi transformation of the kidney and bladder. They also lead to the retention of Damp-Heat damage to the anti-pathogenic qi, causing Deficiency of both the Spleen and Kidney. 

How To Use TCM To Help With Syndromes Associated To Foamy Urine

In TCM, treatment is based on the syndrome of differentiation:

Heat Stranguria

Key symptoms include frequent and urgent urination with a burning sensation and stabbing pain. 

  • The recommended formula for treatment is Ba Zheng San
  • The following acupoints can also be included as part of the treatment: Shen Shu (BL23), Pang Guang Shu (BL28), Zhong Ji (CV3), Qu Gu (CV2), Yin Ling Quan (SP9), and San Yin Jiao (SP6).

Stone Stranguria

Key symptoms include painful urination with stones, a sudden interrupted micturition, and severe colic pain in the lumbar region and abdomen. 

  • The recommended formula for treatment is Shi Wei San.
  • Acupressure on these acupoints can also help: Shen Shu (BL23), Jing Men (GB25), Zhong Ji (CV3), Yin Ling Quan (SP9), San Yin Jiao (SP6), Wei Yang (BL39), and Tian Shu (ST25). 

Bloody Stranguria (Excess and Deficient Syndrome) 

Excess Syndrome

Key symptoms include frequent, urgent, and difficult urination with a hot sensation and stabbing pain, and urine that is dark red in color. 

  • The recommended formula for treatment is Xiao Ji Yin Zi.

Deficient Syndrome  

Key symptoms include discharge of rufous urine, light-headedness, and cardiopalmus (heart palpitations). 

  • The recommended formula is Zhi Bai Di Huang Wan
  • Acupoints that may help include Shen Shu (BL23), Jing Men (GB25), Zhong Ji (CV3), Xue Hai (SP10), and Wei Zhong (BL40). 

Stranguria due to Qi Stagnation (Excess and Deficient Syndrome)

Excess Syndrome  

Key symptoms include difficult and dribbling urination, fullness, and pain in the lower abdomen. 

  • The recommended formula is Chen Xiang San

Deficient Syndrome  

Key symptoms include dribbling urination and a down-bearing sensation in the lower abdomen. 

  • The recommended formula is Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang
  • Acupoints that may help: Shen Shu (BL23), Pang Guang Shu (BL28), Zhong Ji (CV3), Guan Yuan (CV4), Zu San Li (ST36), and Pi Shu (BL20)

Stranguria with Chyluria (Excess and Deficient Syndrome)

Excess Syndrome  

Key symptoms include painful urination with a hot sensation and turbid urine like rice-washed water or milky urine. 

  • The recommended formula is Bi Xie Fen Qing Yin.

Deficient Syndrome  

Key symptoms include chronic and recurrent stranguria, mild pain during urination, and oily urine or chyluria. 

  • The recommended formula is Gao Lin Tang
  • These acupoints can help: Pang Guang Shu (BL28), Zhong Ji (CV3), Li Gou (LR5), San Yin Jiao (SP6), and Fu Liu (KI7).

Stranguria due to overstrain

Key symptoms include difficult, dribbling urination and it’s always triggered by fatigue. 

  • The recommended formula is Wu Bi Shan Yao Wan
  • Acupoints that may help include Pi Shu (BL20), Shen Shu (BL23), Wei Shu (BL21), Zhong Ji (CV3), Guan Yuan (CV4), Zu San Li (ST36), and Ming Men (GV4).

What Does Foamy Urine Color Mean?

According to Physician Chu, “We should also consider the color of the urine, and inclusive of other symptoms like pain in urine or even lower back pain, frequent, urgent, or painful and dribbling urination.”

Here is what the color of your urine might mean and how to remedy it:

Clear urine

When drinking too much water, the proportion of urea pigment in urine is lesser. Thus, the color of urine is lighter. If not, it may indicate diabetes insipidus, diabetes, or chronic interstitial nephritis. 

  • The recommended TCM Formula is Fu Tu Dan.

Milky white foamy urine

If accompanied by abnormal urination, lower back pain, or fever, milky white urine should be suspected of severe urinary tract infection (UTI) and suppuration, such as pyelitis, urethritis, cystitis, and renal tuberculosis.

  • The recommended TCM formula is Zhi Zhou Ben Wan.

White-mucus foamy urine

The male urethra is the common channel for semen and urine. It is normal for adult men to appear with white mucus-like urine from the urethra. If white mucus-like urine discharge occurs too much, it may be a sign of prostatitis, gonorrhea, or non-gonococcal urethritis.

  • The recommended TCM formula is Gao Lin Tang.

Orangish-yellow foamy urine

This may occur when you eat a lot of carrots, papaya, other orange foods, or vitamins. Even some Chinese herbs like rhubarb may change the color of the urine to a darker yellow. It will return to normal once you stop taking the ingredients. 

  • The recommended TCM formula is Ba Zheng San.

Dark brown (soy sauce urine)

In certain conditions, like patients with severe burns, transfusion of the wrong blood type, hemolytic anemia, dehydration, acute nephritis, or acute jaundice hepatitis, it will excrete the color of soy sauce urine.

  • The recommended TCM formula is Wu Bi Shan Yao Wan.

Red or pink foamy urine

Urinary blood (hematuria) causes include UTI, enlarged prostate, cancerous and non-cancerous tumors, kidney cysts, and kidney or bladder stones. Some medications like antibiotics may result in red-orange blood.

  • The recommended TCM formula is Xiao Ji Yin Zi and Dao Chi San.

Blue or green foamy urine

Some dyes used to test kidney or bladder function can turn urine blue. A number of medications like amitriptyline, indomethacin, and propofol can produce blue or green urine. Green urine sometimes occurs during UTI caused by pseudomonas bacteria. 

  • The recommended TCM formula is Xiao Ji Yin Zi.

Ready-Made Supplements To Manage Foamy Urine

Dry cordyceps and capsules on top of a green banana leaf
Cordyceps can help protect against chronic kidney disease.

In addition to the above-mentioned treatments, there are many ready-made supplements you can take to support kidney and bladder health.

  • Ning Sun Pills and Luk Mey Pills can help with excessive or frequent urination.
  • Meanwhile, bird’s nest has been shown to contain reno-protective properties that support kidney health.
  • Research shows that Cordyceps may also support kidney health by warding off chronic kidney disease.

If you are concerned about foamy urine or the color of your urine, be sure to talk to your doctor or a TCM physician to determine the exact cause and proper treatment.

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Was This Article Useful to You?

Reviews (5)

Jan 10 2024

The simple, plain and very detailed diagram and description.Very very impressive for me. Thank you very much.

Nov 24 2023


PekachoNov 23 2023

And not accurate info.

PekachoNov 23 2023

Garbage! And not accurate info.

Jun 07 2023

it was NOT helpful at all
it was confusing

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