In healthy individuals a certain (small) amount of protein in urine is considered normal. Temporary increase in the amount of protein in urine develops due to strenuous exercise/physical activity, stress, exposure to heat or cold and may be associated with dehydration. However, if there is too much protein in the urine and high amount of protein is continuously lost in this way, this is quite alarming and points to the presence of some medical conditions. The problem becomes even worse if it happens to pregnant women. Increased amount of protein in urine is medically known as proteinuria.
What Are Causes of Proteinuria in Pregnancy?
The kidneys are organs that filter certain substances and do not allow others to leave the body. In case there is a damage to the filtering system kidneys may start excreting substances that are normally not found in the urine or are found but in small amounts. So damage to kidneys is one explanation of increased amount of protein in urine in pregnant women. Furthermore, proteinuria in pregnant women may point to UTI- urinary tract infection. Pregnant women are more susceptible to cystitis and infection of other parts of the urinary tract comparing to other women. And finally, one of the most serious conditions a pregnant woman can suffer from is high blood pressure and subsequent preeclampsia and eclampsia. In this case the level of protein in urine drastically increases and the condition is associated with many complications that can affect both, the mother and her baby.
Symptoms and Treatment for Proteinuria during Pregnancy
The very presence of proteins in urine does not have to be associated with any symptoms at all. Still, patients with too much protein in urine are prone to edema (swelling) that most commonly affects the ankles, hands and eyelids. Many women may neglect the swelling and connect it with pregnancy. Fortunately, by routine examination of urine doctors identify the increase and look further for the underlying cause. Women whose proteinuria develops as consequence of high blood pressure may complain about headaches, vomiting and blurred vision.
Treatment for proteinuria during pregnancy depends on the underlying cause. It is essential to treat all the conditions a pregnant woman is suffering from and this way prevent potential complications. This particularly refers to urinary tract infections, elevated blood pressure, preeclampsia and eclampsia. If doctor chooses medicamentous treatment he/she always prescribed medications that can help pregnant women and can be administered during pregnancy. Allergies of the pregnant woman are also taken into consideration. And finally, depending on the underlying cause the doctor can additionally recommend specific dietary changes.