Glycosuria or glucosuria is the presence of glucose in the urine. At times, people may commonly refer to this as sugar in urine. Ordinarily, glucose is absorbed by tubes in the renal system before urine is passed to the kidneys, which means that the presence of glucose in urine is a sign of a medical problem. Glycosuria can be caused by a variety of conditions of varying severity.
Diabetes is a disease that causes a shortage of insulin to be produced in the body. Insulin is a hormone that is used to break down and process sugar in the bloodstream, and if the body is unable to produce enough insulin, glucose will build in the body, causing a number of complications. When there is too much glucose in the body, the renal system is unable to remove all of the sugar, allowing some of it to be passed through in the urine, which results in Glycosuria.
The thyroid is a gland that produces hormones which are important to metabolism and organ function. Patients with hyperthyroidism have a thyroid that begins to work too hard, producing an overabundance of thyroid hormones. This high concentration of thyroid hormones may cause difficulties in various organ systems, including the renal system, where increased thyroid hormones can lead to poor absorption of glucose from the body's waste fluids. The end result is that glucose is not properly filtered from the urine as it passes out of the body. In other words, the excess thyroid hormone can lead to glycosuria.
The human liver is responsible for a variety of functions, including the processing of carbohydrates, which leads to the formation of blood glucose that is required for brain and other bodily functions. Cirrhosis of the liver caused by the over-consumption of alcohol as well as liver disease and cancer can all affect the processing of carbohydrates. If not broken down correctly, excess glucose can be released into the bloodstream, leading to poor absorption in the renal system and the passage of sugar into urine or glycosuria. While it is unusual for liver problems to be the result of glycosuria, it has been documented in some cases, especially in advanced stages of illness or early liver failure.
Because the kidneys and the renal system are responsible for removing sugar from urine, kidney problems can result in glycosuria. Simple bacterial infections of the kidney can cause a dysfunction in glucose filtration, which is relieved by the use of antibiotics. Kidney disease can also lead to glycosuria, and often the progression of kidney disease can be measured by the amount of sugar in urine, with increases in the presence being indicative of a worsening in the conditions.
During pregnancy, it is normal for women to have small amounts of sugar leak from the kidneys into the supply of urine, causing glycosuria. This is most common after pregnant women consume large meals or have sugary drinks. As long as pregnant women do not have other symptoms such as fatigue, weight loss or excessive thirst, doctors are typically not concerned about a one-time presence of glucose in urine. Pregnant women who do experience additional symptoms may be tested for gestational diabetes, a form of diabetes experienced by pregnant women that is usually temporary.