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The fellowship-trained, board-certified pediatric nephrologists with Norton Children’s Nephrology, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, have the training and experience to treat children experiencing high levels of protein in the urine, called proteinuria. Our kidney specialists can work with you and your child to improve symptoms and limit damage to the kidneys.

What Is Proteinuria?

Proteinuria is a condition in which there is protein in the urine. This happens when the kidneys improperly spill protein into the urine.

What Causes Protein in Urine?

Having protein in the urine can be normal, as it can occur when exercising or during a fever. However, it also can be a sign of kidney disease.

Children with certain conditions can be more at risk for proteinuria, including:

  • Acute kidney injury
  • Congenital anomalies of kidneys or urinary tract
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Family history of kidney disease
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes

Proteinuria Symptoms

At low levels, protein in the urine does not cause noticeable symptoms. It usually is detected in a urine test. At higher levels, protein in urine can be noticed by the following:

  • Bubbles in the urine
  • Foamy urine
  • Frothy urine
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling in the hands, feet, abdomen or face

Proteinuria Treatment

Proteinuria treatment is focused on addressing the cause of the condition and minimizing damage to the kidneys. If conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes are involved, the pediatric nephrologists with Norton Children’s Nephrology will work with you, your child and any other pediatric specialists your child sees to manage these conditions. Proteinuria treatments can include:

  • Diet and exercise modifications
  • Insulin therapy for diabetes
  • Medicines to manage high blood pressure, such as ACE inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)

If proteinuria is left untreated, chronic kidney disease can occur and progress to end-stage renal disease, which may need treatment with:

  • Dialysis
  • Kidney transplant

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