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Most people will have some kind of urinary problem or injury in their lifetime. Urinary tract problems and injuries can range from minor to more serious. Sometimes, minor and serious problems can start with the same symptoms. Many urinary problems and injuries are minor, and home treatment is all that is needed to relieve your symptoms.
Many things can affect urine color, including fluid balance, diet, medicines, and diseases. How dark or light the color is tells you how much water is in it. Vitamin B supplements can turn urine bright yellow. Some medicines, blackberries, beets, rhubarb, or blood in the urine can turn urine red-brown.
Some foods (such as asparagus), vitamins, and antibiotics (such as penicillin) can cause urine to have a different odor. A sweet, fruity odor may be caused by uncontrolled diabetes. A urinary tract infection (UTI) can cause a bad odor.
Common symptoms of a urinary problem include:
When you only have one symptom or if your symptoms are vague, it can be harder to figure out what the problem is. If you are slightly dehydrated, your urine will be more concentrated, and urinating may cause discomfort. Drink more fluids—enough to keep your urine light yellow or clear like water—to help decrease discomfort.
When you have a urinary tract infection (UTI), you may have several urinary symptoms. UTIs are more common in women than in men. This is because the urethra is shorter in women and comes into contact with bacteria from the skin, anus, and vagina. You can reduce your chance of having a UTI by controlling risk factors that can cause these infections.
Infections that commonly cause UTI symptoms include:
Kidney stones are another urinary problem that can cause mild to severe urinary symptoms. Men ages 20 to 30 are affected most often with kidney stones, but anyone can get stones at any age. For more information, see the topic Kidney Stones.
An injury to the genital area can cause severe pain. Usually the pain subsides over the course of a few minutes to an hour. The severity of the pain is not always an indicator of the severity of the injury. After an injury such as a hit to the genital area, it is important to watch for urinary problems. You usually need to see your doctor if you are having trouble urinating, can't urinate, have blood in your urine, have swelling, or have ongoing pain.
In women and girls, genital skin irritation can cause pain with urination.
As people age, some urinary problems become more common. Stress incontinence is the most common form of urinary incontinence in older women. Multiple childbirths, aging, and decreasing hormone levels may cause changes in the pelvic muscles and supportive structures that lead to stress incontinence. It may also occur in men, especially those who have had prostate surgery. For more information, see the topic Urinary Incontinence in Women or Urinary Incontinence in Men.
Check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor.
Starting home treatment at the first minor signs of a bladder infection may prevent the problem from getting worse, clear up your infection, and prevent complications.
If you have frequent bladder infections without complications, you and your doctor may develop a self-treatment plan. The plan usually includes taking antibiotics at the first sign of a bladder infection. Contacting your doctor is not necessary. For more information, see the topic Urinary Tract Infections in Teens and Adults.
If you are certain that your symptoms are caused by a bladder infection, follow your doctor's instructions for taking the medicine and monitoring your symptoms. Keep a diary of the number of times you use your self-treatment plan. Call your doctor if:
Your self-treatment plan is developed for your health needs. Do not take antibiotics that have not been specifically prescribed for this bladder infection. Do not take antibiotics left over from a previous prescription or antibiotics prescribed for someone else.
Urinary incontinence is common, especially among older adults. Home treatment can often help decrease your symptoms.
For information about home treatment for other urinary problems, see the following:
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:
You can help prevent urinary problems by following these tips:
The following tips can help women prevent urinary symptoms:
For information about preventing kidney stone formation, see the topic Kidney Stones.
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the following questions:
Remember that a urine specimen will probably be collected during your office visit. Try not to urinate immediately before the visit.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine|
|Last Revised||April 12, 2011|
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