Lupus can produce urine changes or affect the kidneys which produce urine. Foamy urine or urine with lots of bubbles may be a sign of protein in the urine. Protein can leak out into the urine when inflammation from lupus injures the filtering structures inside the kidney. When lupus causes inflammation in the kidneys, it is called lupus nephritis
Red tinted urine may be due to the presence of blood cells. Blood in the urine may be caused from inflammation from lupus. Other common causes of blood in the urine include bladder infections or kidney stones.
Foul smelling urine, pain with urination, frequent urination, or feeling like you are unable to fully empty your bladder may be a sign of a bladder infection. Bladder infections may occur more frequently in people with lupus who take immunosuppressive therapy.
Changes to kidney function may also cause symptoms such as high blood pressure and swelling in hands, ankles and feet. Inflammation from lupus can cause imapired kidney function or kidney failure.
Seeing a Doctor for Urine Changes
If you are having new urine symptoms, call your primary care doctor or rheumatologist. If you are experiencing any new high blood pressure changes or swelling, call your doctor right away. You may be asked to provide laboratory samples including a urine analysis (UA) and blood tests to check for signs of infection, inflammation, and kidney function. You may be asked to see a kidney specialist, called a nephrologist. They may recommend performing an ultrasound of the kidneys or performing a kidney biopsy to see if lupus has caused damage to the kidneys.