Diabetes Complications

Glycosuria What You Need To Know

Glycosuria or the presence of glucose in urine, is a condition that is often associated with diabetes but can have many other causes. Understanding the .


Glycosuria or the presence of glucose in urine, is a condition that is often associated with diabetes but can have many other causes. Understanding the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of this condition is essential for those who experience it. In this article, we look at what glycosuria is, how it is caused and how it can be managed. We explore how diabetes can influence glycosuria, what the symptoms are and how it is diagnosed. Finally, we examine treatment strategies that can help manage this condition.

What is Glycosuria?

Glycosuria is a health condition that occurs when the body is unable to process glucose and it comes in the urine. The glucose is normally sent to the kidneys where it is reabsorbed into the body again but when the kidneys are unable to do this, glucose starts leaking out in urine and it is said to have glycosuria.

Although glycosuria can be an early indicator of certain health issues, it is often caused by diet or behavior. Eating too much sugar or carbohydrates or consuming too much alcohol are both potential causes of glycosuria. Additionally, diabetes, kidney problems and other endocrine disorders may trigger the condition.

When glycosuria is present. This can be detected through a simple urinalysis. Depending on the results the doctor may order further testing to determine the cause of the condition.

The most common symptom of glycosuria is increased urination, particularly at night. Other symptoms include thirst, blurred vision, fatigue and frequent infections. If left untreated, glycosuria can lead to serious health problems such as kidney failure and cardiovascular disease.

Treatment for glycosuria will depend on the underlying cause. If it is due to lifestyle the doctor may recommend dietary changes or weight loss. If diabetes is the cause, medication may be necessary to control blood sugar levels. If the underlying cause is kidney problems the doctor may recommend specific treatments such as medications, surgery or dialysis.

It is important to note that glycosuria is not a condition to be taken lightly. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the symptoms, it is important to speak to a doctor right away as the condition needs to be treated as soon as possible. With the right treatment and lifestyle changes, glycosuria can be managed effectively.

How does glucose get in your Urine?

The presence of glucose in the urine is referred to as “sugar in the urine” or “glucosuria.” The main cause of glycosuria is diabetes but there are many other possible causes as well.

Glycosuria occurs when there is too much glucose in the blood and the body is unable to process it properly. When this happens the kidneys are unable to reabsorb the glucose and it ends up in the urine. This excess glucose can cause the urine to look cloudy or have a sweet taste.

The body’s cells normally rely on glucose as a source of energy. When the body is unable to process glucose properly, it is an indication that there is an underlying medical issue. Diabetes is the most common cause of glycosuria but there are many other causes as well such as certain medications, kidney disease, liver disease and certain hormonal imbalances.

If a person has elevated levels of glucose in the urine they may need further medical testing and evaluation to determine the underlying cause. A doctor may order a blood test to check for glucose levels in the blood and a urine test to see if there is glucose in the urine. If glucose is detected in the urine the doctor may order further tests such as an A1C test to measure blood glucose levels and a kidney function test to check the kidneys’ ability to filter glucose.

It is important to treat the underlying cause of glycosuria in order to prevent further complications. Diabetes is a common cause and can be managed through diet, exercise and medications if necessary. If the underlying problem is a kidney or liver disorder, treatment may involve medication, lifestyle changes or dialysis.

If glycosuria persists despite treatment, it may be necessary to monitor urine for sugar levels regularly as this can indicate a worsening of the condition. Monitoring can involve self-testing at home or frequent visits to a doctor or laboratory.

Causes of glycosuria

High blood sugar levels

As we know that glycosuria occurs when blood sugar levels are too high and glucose is released into the urine. In other words, glycosuria is a symptom of high blood sugar levels, usually caused by diabetes.

When the body has high blood sugar levels the kidneys will try to rid the body of the excess glucose by filtering it into the urine. The excess glucose will then cause the urine to become cloudy and sweet smelling which is a classic sign of glycosuria. Though not common, it is also possible for the urine to appear foamy in severe cases.

Some people may not show any outward signs of glycosuria. However, it is important to keep an eye on your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes or any other condition that increases the risk of glycosuria. The best way to diagnose glycosuria is to take a urine sample and have it tested for glucose. If the test is positive, your doctor will likely order a blood sugar test to confirm the diagnosis.


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Kidney problems

Glycosuria can be a sign of kidney problems and detects glucose levels that are too high for the kidney to process. This means that the kidneys are unable to properly filter the glucose from the blood, causing it to spill over into the urine. While this may not always be a cause for concern, it is important to monitor your glucose levels regularly to ensure your health.

It is essential to take action and monitor your glucose levels if you have been diagnosed with glycosuria. It’s important to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and make sure that your diet includes healthy, whole-foods such as fruits, vegetables and proteins. Additionally, exercising regularly can help to reduce your risk for diabetes and other chronic conditions.

Genetic factors

The most common genetic causes of glycosuria are mutations in two genes: the SLC16A1 gene and the ABCC8 gene. Mutations in the SLC16A1 gene can cause renal glycosuria which is a form of glycosuria that is caused by a defect in the kidneys. People with this condition typically have higher levels of glucose in their urine than normal, usually in the range of 30 to 300 mg/dL.

In addition to genetic causes of glycosuria some people may be at an increased risk of developing this condition due to lifestyle factors. People who are overweight or obese, for example, are more likely to develop glycosuria than those of normal weight. Other lifestyle factors that can increase the risk of glycosuria include poor diet, lack of physical activity and certain medications.

Although glycosuria is not usually caused by genetics, it is important to be aware of the potential genetic risk factors such as mutations in the SLC16A1 gene and the ABCC8 gene that can increase the chances of developing this condition. If you have a family history of glycosuria, it is important to speak to your healthcare provider so that they can determine if genetic testing is right for you. Knowing your family’s genetic history can help you take steps to reduce your risk of developing glycosuria.

Other Health Conditions

Although glycosuria is usually associated with diabetes there are certain other health conditions that can also cause it. In addition to diabetes some of the most common health conditions linked to glycosuria are insulin resistance, Cushing’s syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome and certain types of kidney disorders.

Insulin resistance is a condition where the body’s cells become resistant to the action of the hormone insulin. This can lead to high blood sugar levels which, in turn can cause glycosuria. Cushing’s syndrome, on the other hand, is a hormonal disorder caused by an overproduction of the hormone cortisol. This leads to higher levels of blood sugar, causing glycosuria. Polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormonal disorder that can also lead to higher levels of glucose in the blood, resulting in glycosuria.

In conclusion, glycosuria can be caused by other health conditions besides diabetes. Insulin resistance, Cushing’s syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome and certain types of kidney disorders are some of the most common conditions linked to glycosuria. It is important to be aware of these conditions so that adequate treatment can be provided if needed.

Diabetes and Glycosuria

Glycosuria is a symptom of diabetes and is typically caused by increased levels of glucose in the body. Therefore, it is a sign that the person should be screened for diabetes as glucose in urine mostly associated with diabetes. From there, if we diagnose and manage it early the person can have better outcomes with easily manageable diabetes with less to no complications.

Therefore, if you have glycosuria, it is important to talk to your doctor about lifestyle changes to help manage diabetes and glycosuria. Eating a balanced diet and getting regular physical activity are important for managing diabetes. Working with a healthcare provider to create a personalized diabetes management plan is important to keep glucose levels under control and prevent complications associated with high glucose levels such as kidney disease and heart disease.

Symptoms of glycosuria

The most common symptom of glycosuria is an unusually sweet smell to your urine. This is attributed to the presence of glucose molecules in the urine which break down into substances known as simple sugars. If you notice that your urine smells sweet or even fruity, it could be a sign of glycosuria. It is also possible for your urine to appear bubbly, due to the release of gas bubbles being produced by the breakdown of glucose.

Other symptoms are:

Increased thirst

Glycosuria can lead to increased thirst as the body uses water to regulate glucose levels. When too much glucose is present in the blood, it is excreted into the urine, resulting in increased urine production and the desire for increased levels of hydration. People with glycosuria may find themselves drinking more water than is their usual standard which can cause feelings of intense thirst.

In addition to increased thirst, other symptoms associated with glycosuria include frequent urination, fatigue, weight loss and blurry vision. It is important to note that these symptoms may be indicative of other medical conditions so it is important to contact your healthcare provider to receive an accurate diagnosis.

Frequent urination

Frequent urination is one of the most common symptoms of glycosuria. It is important to note that glycosuria can occur even if a person does not have diabetes as high levels of sugar in the blood can be due to a variety of factors such as certain medications, obesity, stress or an unhealthy diet.

For people with glycosuria, frequent urination is a major symptom. This is because when there is too much sugar in the blood the kidneys have to work overtime to process it. As a result they will pass more urine than usual which can result in frequent trips to the bathroom.


Fatigue is one of the earliest and most common symptoms of glycosuria or excess sugar in the urine. This fatigue can be extreme, leaving those affected feeling drained, overwhelmed and unable to concentrate or find motivation. A person with glycosuria may experience greater fatigue when their blood sugar levels are high but this is usually relieved after eating or taking a glucose-lowering medication.

A person with glycosuria may also notice that they tire easily after physical activity and find it difficult to recover afterwards. Fatigue can also be worsened by dehydration, a common side effect of glycosuria. Other factors that can contribute to fatigue include poor sleep, an underlying health condition or medications.

It’s important to speak to your doctor if you think you may be experiencing fatigue related to glycosuria. It’s possible that their glucose levels may need to be monitored and regulated more closely or that they may need to adjust their medications or lifestyle.

Diagnosis of glycosuria

The diagnosis of glycosuria will usually involve the doctor taking a sample of the patient’s urine and testing it for glucose levels. A normal level of glucose in the urine should be less than 0.8 mmol/L in adults and any level above this is considered to be indicative of glycosuria. If the results come back positive the doctor may also order further tests to confirm the diagnosis such as a fasting plasma glucose test or an oral glucose tolerance test.

In some cases the doctor may order imaging tests to determine the source of the excess glucose in the urine. These tests could include an ultrasound or x-ray, to help locate any masses or tumors in the abdomen or to observe any blocked or dilated areas in the blood vessels or urinary tract.

In addition to laboratory tests and imaging scans the doctor may also ask the patient to undergo a physical examination. This is often done to look for other signs and symptoms of glycosuria such as excessive thirst, fatigue and frequent urination. The doctor may also look for other medical conditions that could be contributing to the glycosuria such as diabetes, renal failure or pancreatic cancer.

The diagnosis of glycosuria can help the doctor determine the underlying cause and take the appropriate steps to treat it. Treatment options may include lifestyle changes such as reducing food and liquid intake, increasing physical activity and quitting smoking. Medication may also be prescribed to reduce the symptoms and help manage the condition.

Treatment of Glycosuria

Treating glycosuria involves addressing the underlying cause that can lead to excessive sugar in the urine. If the underlying condition is diabetes, keeping blood sugar levels under control through diet, exercise and medication can reduce glycosuria. Dietary interventions may include limiting foods that are high in refined carbohydrates such as white bread and pasta as well as sugars and sweets which can cause your blood sugar levels to spike. Monitoring your blood sugar levels closely and taking your medications as prescribed by your doctor can also help reduce glycosuria.

Insulin therapy: Insulin therapy is a common treatment for diabetes, including glycosuria. It is an injectable medication that replaces the insulin that the body is not producing or not producing enough of. Insulin helps glucose move from the bloodstream into the body’s cells, reducing the concentration of glucose in the blood. There are different types of insulin and a healthcare provider can determine the right dosage and frequency of insulin injections.

Other medications: Other medications such as oral antidiabetic drugs can also be used to treat glycosuria. These medications work in different ways to help manage blood glucose levels such as increasing insulin production, reducing glucose production in the liver or slowing down the absorption of glucose in the intestines. Healthcare providers can determine the best medications to use based on a person’s individual needs and health status.

Monitoring blood sugar levels: Monitoring blood sugar levels is a critical part of diabetes management, including the treatment of glycosuria. Blood sugar levels can be monitored at home using a blood glucose meter. This device measures the concentration of glucose in a small drop of blood taken from the finger. By monitoring blood sugar levels regularly, people with diabetes can identify trends in their glucose levels and adjust their treatment accordingly. Healthcare providers can also order laboratory tests to monitor long-term blood glucose control.

It is essential to note that medication and monitoring are not the only components of diabetes management. Lifestyle changes such as healthy eating, regular physical activity and stress management, are also important. A balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods such as whole grains, lean protein, fruits and vegetables can help manage blood sugar levels. Physical activity can also help lower blood sugar levels by increasing the body’s sensitivity to insulin. Additionally, stress management techniques such as mindfulness and meditation can help reduce stress hormones that can raise blood sugar levels.

If the underlying cause is not diabetes such as a kidney or urinary tract infection, treatment may involve taking antibiotics to clear up the infection and reduce glycosuria. In rare cases, glycosuria may be caused by a genetic disorder such as Fanconi Syndrome and treatment will involve addressing the specific symptoms of the disorder.

In addition to treating the underlying cause, lifestyle modifications and dietary changes can be beneficial in managing glycosuria. Increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grains and limiting refined carbohydrates and sugars can help to maintain normal blood sugar levels and reduce glycosuria. Additionally, regular physical activity can help to improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin and reduce glycosuria.

Complications of Glycosuria

Glycosuria or the presence of sugar in the urine can lead to several complications if left untreated. Some of the most common complications associated with glycosuria include an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, kidney damage and eye problems.

1.Increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes:

Individuals with glycosuria are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a chronic condition that affects how the body metabolizes sugar. In glycosuria, high levels of glucose in the blood can damage the cells that produce insulin which is the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels. Over time, this can lead to insulin resistance, a condition in which the body becomes less responsive to insulin. As a result the body produces more insulin to compensate which can eventually lead to the development of type 2 diabetes.

2. Kidney damage:

Another complication associated with glycosuria is kidney damage. High levels of sugar in the urine can damage the small blood vessels in the kidneys, leading to a condition known as diabetic nephropathy. This condition can cause the kidneys to become less effective at filtering waste from the blood, leading to a buildup of toxins in the body. Over time, this can lead to kidney failure, a serious and potentially life-threatening condition.

3. Eye problems:

Glycosuria can also lead to eye problems. High levels of glucose in the blood can damage the small blood vessels in the eyes, leading to a condition known as diabetic retinopathy. This condition can cause the blood vessels in the retina to become weak and leaky, leading to blurred vision, vision loss and even blindness. Additionally, glycosuria can also increase the risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma, two other eye conditions that can cause vision loss.

It’s important to note that while these complications are serious they can be prevented with proper treatment and management of glycosuria. This typically involves lifestyle changes such as following a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight. Additionally, medication may be prescribed to help regulate blood sugar levels and prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. Regular check-ups with a healthcare provider are also important for monitoring kidney and eye health and catching any potential issues early on.



Glycosuria is an important symptom to recognize as it is a sign of underlying medical conditions. It is important to note that when glucose shows up in the urine, your body is warning you of an issue and it is important to get it checked out to ensure that you are in good health. The causes and treatments of glycosuria vary depending on the medical condition but can often be treated with lifestyle changes, medications and/or further testing. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned of glycosuria, it is important to speak to a medical professional as soon as you can. It is important to remember that glycosuria is a sign of underlying medical conditions and that proper monitoring and treatment is critical for your long-term health.


About The Author

Meet Dr. Ahmet Ergin a highly skilled and dedicated endocrinologist with a passion for diabetes care. Dr. Ergin’s journey in the medical field began with earning his medical degree with honors from Marmara University School of Medicine in Istanbul Turkey. He then went on to complete his internal medicine residency and endocrinology fellowship at Cleveland Clinic one of the top medical centers in the United States located in Cleveland Ohio.

With a wealth of knowledge and experience in his field Dr. Ergin is board-certified in Internal Medicine Endocrinology Diabetes and Metabolism making him a respected and highly qualified physician. He is also a certified diabetes education specialist author of the book “The Ultimate Diabetes Book” and the founder of the SugarMD YouTube channel where he shares valuable insights and information on diabetes management and care. Currently Dr. Ergin practices in Port Saint Lucie FL where he provides exceptional care to his patients and helps them to effectively manage their diabetes.

It is important to note that the information on diseases and treatments provided on this website is for general guidance only and should never be considered a substitute for the advice provided by a qualified healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your physician health provider or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding your health.