Your kidneys filter waste products from your blood while retaining what your body needs — including proteins. However, some diseases and conditions allow proteins to pass through the filters of your kidneys, causing protein in urine.
Conditions that can cause a temporary rise in the levels of protein in urine, but don't necessarily indicate kidney damage, include:
- Emotional stress
- Exposure to extreme cold
- Strenuous exercise
Diseases and conditions that can cause persistently elevated levels of protein in urine, which might indicate kidney disease, include:
- Amyloidosis (buildup of abnormal proteins in your organs)
- Certain drugs, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Chronic kidney disease
- Endocarditis (an infection of the inner lining of the heart)
- Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS)
- Glomerulonephritis (inflammation in the kidney cells that filter waste from the blood)
- Heart disease
- Heart failure
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Hodgkin's lymphoma (Hodgkin's disease)
- IgA nephropathy (Berger's disease) (kidney inflammation resulting from a buildup of the antibody immunoglobulin A)
- Kidney infection (pyelonephritis)
- Multiple myeloma
- Nephrotic syndrome (damage to small filtering blood vessels in the kidneys)
- Orthostatic proteinuria (urine protein level rises when in an upright position)
- Rheumatoid arthritis (inflammatory joint disease)
- Sarcoidosis (collections of inflammatory cells in the body)
- Sickle cell anemia
April 21, 2020
Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.
- What you should know about albuminuria (proteinuria). National Kidney Foundation. https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/proteinuriawyska. Accessed Jan. 19, 2017.
- Protein in urine. American Kidney Fund. http://www.kidneyfund.org/kidney-disease/kidney-problems/protein-in-urine.html. Accessed Jan. 19, 2017.
- Proteinuria. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/genitourinary-disorders/symptoms-of-genitourinary-disorders/proteinuria. Accessed Jan. 19, 2017.
- Rovin BH. Assessment of urinary protein excretion and evaluation of isolated non-nephrotic proteinuria in adults. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed April 14, 2020.
- Albuminuria: Albumin in the urine. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd/tests-diagnosis/albuminuria-albumin-urine. Accessed Jan. 19, 2017.
- Somers MJ. Orthostatic (postural) proteinuria. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed April 14, 2020.
- Kelepouris E, et al. Overview of heavy proteinuria and the nephrotic syndrome. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed April 14, 2020.
- O'Connell TX. Proteinuria. In: Instant Work-Ups: A Clinical Guide to Medicine. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2017. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 20, 2017.