Protein in urine may be normal


December 08, 1992|By Dr. Modena Wilson and Dr. Alain Joffe | Dr. Modena Wilson and Dr. Alain Joffe,Contributing Writers

Q: My son had a physical for high school basketball. They checked his urine and found a little bit of protein. Should we worry?

A: Chances are there is nothing wrong with your son's health, but we would need some additional information to reassure you completely.

Sometimes, protein in the urine can be a sign of kidney problems. Some teen-agers, however, will have a bit of protein in the urine after exercising. Even in the absence of exercise, it is not unusual for otherwise healthy adolescents to have a small amount of protein in their urine; the cause of this is unknown.

In such situations, urine produced during the day contains protein, whereas urine produced overnight (when the individual is asleep and lying down) does not. Such a condition is called orthostatic proteinuria.

Dr. Wilson is director of general pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center; Dr. Joffe is director of adolescent medicine.

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