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13 Year Old With Protein in Urine

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I am 13 years old. I went for a sports physical and was told I have protein in my urine. I was sent to a lab for another urine test, which also showed protein. Then I saw a pediatric nephrologist who says my protein level is 3+, which I guess is pretty high. Now I have to have a blood test, ultrasound, and 24-hour urine collection test. I'm worried about what this could be. I don't have any other symptoms and I'm very active. My father's half-sister has a daughter with glomerular nephritis and is on her second transplant. Could you please tell me what I might have and whether glomerular nephritis is hereditary?
Signed: 13 Year Old With Protein in Urine

Dear 13 Year Old With Protein in Urine,


Proteinuria (protein in the urine) may be a sign of kidney disease in some people. However, sometimes the proteinuria is associated with an infection and resolves within a few weeks (transient proteinuria). This is, generally speaking, not a problem. Many patients with proteinuria have what is known as "postural proteinuria". It is thought to be a benign problem in which protein is found in the urine but disappears. In well teenagers, medical specialists often find that the proteinuria is "postural." That means the proteinuria will disappear after a period of lying flat. This is not associated with serious kidney disease. To make the diagnosis a first morning urine is collected and found to have not protein.


If protein is detected, as was probably your case, further investigations should be made to determine the cause. The pediatric nephrologist you have been referred to is an expert in this area. Glomerulonephritis is the term used for several related diseases that damage the glomeruli, the tiny filtering units in your kidneys. TeenHealthFX cannot diagnose you over the Internet but we recommend you follow through with your specialist to determine your diagnosis and any and all necessary treatments.

Signed: TeenHealthFX