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7 Most Costly Urological Diseases
What Your Pee Is Telling You
Constant Urge to Urinate? 12 Tips to Manage OAB Naturally
7 Most Costly Urological Diseases
Those figures appear in a new report funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The report comes from researchers including Mark Litwin, MD, MPH, professor of urology and health services at the David Geffen School of Medicine and School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Litwin's team gathered data on the cost of outpatient visits, emergency room visits, and hospitalizations for urologic diseases in 2000. Compiling the 716-page report took five years, states an NIH news release. Here are America's seven most costly urologic diseases, along with their 2000 national medical care tab, according to the report:
"This research sharply illustrates the immense burden of urologic diseases and the importance of studies to preempt disease processes and develop targeted treatments," says NIH Director Elias Zerhouni, MD, in an NIH news release.
The report, titled "Urologic Diseases in America," is posted on the web site of the NIH's National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse.
Sources: Litwin, M. "Urologic Diseases in
America." News release, National Institutes of Health.
What Your Pee Is Telling
Urine has been a useful diagnostic tool since the beginning of medicine. The color, density, smell, and frequency of your urine can reveal useful information about your health. It can also tell if you are properly hydrated, taking medication or vitamins, or have an infection.
What Color Is the Right Color for Urine?
If you dont see any color, you might be drinking too much water or coffee. Deeper shades of yellow and amber can indicate that you are dehydrated. The color of urine can range from completely clear to gold, and can include unusual colors like red and blue.
Here are some clues about what different urine colors may indicate:
Blue-green urine may be the result of certain medications such as laxatives, chemotherapy drugs, or vitamins. If you arent taking any of these meds, and you continue to see this color for more than a few days, call your doctor to discuss.
Bright yellow or orange urine can indicate youve consumed a lot of vitamin C, carrots, beets, or other foods in the orange family. Some medications can turn your urine this color as well.
Dark orange or brown urine is cause for concern. This may mean you have bile in your urine or a problem with your liver.
Pink or red urine can simply indicate youve eaten red-tinted food. On a more serious note, this can also be a sign of blood in your urine. Bloody urine may indicate internal injury, kidney issues, or cancer.
Cloudy urine has been found to suggest the presence of phosphates, which can be a precursor to kidney stones. Cloudiness can also indicate an infection. If cloudiness worsens and you experience burning or urgency, make sure to see a doctor.
You May Be Able to Smell a Health Issue
Most of the time, if you are healthy and well hydrated, your urine will not have a strong smell. But these odors may spell trouble:
Foul smell. The bacteria that cause urinary tract infections (UTIs) can produce a foul smell. Symptoms of a UTI include burning during urination, fever, chills, and back pain. If you have a urinary infection, you will need to be prescribed an antibiotic.
Sweet smell. Sweet-smelling urine may be a sign of diabetes or liver disease.
Musty smell. Certain metabolic disorders may cause musty-smelling urine as well.
Keep in mind that consuming certain foods and beverages coffee and asparagus in particular can give urine a stronger smell as well, which is completely normal.
You Have to Go NOW, or You Have to Go Often
Most people take bathroom breaks about six to eight times a day, depending on how much they drink. If youre constantly feeling the urge to go (without drinking any extra fluids), the frequency of urination can indicate an overactive bladder, urinary tract infection, interstitial cystitis (painful urination without an infection), or diabetes.
Urgency means you need to go right away, have difficulty holding it in, and wake up several times during the night to use the bathroom. For men, urgency and frequency, could be symptoms of a bladder problem or, more commonly, an enlarged prostate known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). The prostate gland surrounds the urethra, through which urine leaves the body. As the gland grows bigger, it can press on the urethra and cause a variety of changes in urination.
Some men assume drinking less water will lessen urgency and frequency, but dehydration can cause urinary issues as well. BPH can also cause incomplete emptying of your bladder, so you still feel like you have to go again minutes later. This isnt a medical condition to be ignored, and it typically wont go away on its own.
Increased frequency and urgency in women may be a symptom of an infection, kidney stones, or a more serious condition.
The Importance of a Tried-and-True Urinalysis
You can learn a lot about whats going on inside your body by looking at your urine. For example, blood in your urine can indicate a significant health issue, and it isnt always visible to the human eye. You may need a urinalysis to find it. The same can be said for the volume of sugar in your urine, which could indicate an increased risk of diabetes.
Only a proper urinalysis, one taken at your doctors office or medical lab, can accurately diagnose potential medical issues like these.
Were all tempted to roll our eyes when the doctor hands us a plastic cup, requesting a urine sample. But that sample can provide a number of important insights regarding your health. Its one of the easiest and most valuable tests you can undergo every year, regardless of your age or medical history.
Source: Troy Sukkarieh, MD is a board-certified
urologic surgeon with fellowship training in robotics and advanced
laparoscopic surgery. He is on staff at CentraState Medical Center in
Freehold, New Jersey, where he also maintains a private practice.
Constant Urge to
Urinate? 12 Tips to Manage OAB Naturally
Do you have the path to the mall restroom mapped? Are you afraid to leave home because a restroom wont be nearby when you need one?
Thats the reality for the millions of women who suffer from overactive bladder (OAB).
In fact, 17% of all women over age 18 have OAB, according to the National Association for Incontinence (NAFI), an education and advocacy association.
So why does OAB have you living in the ladies room? And what exactly are the underlying causes of the urge to urinate?
The condition occurs when your brain sends signals to the bladder at the wrong time, telling the organ that you need to urinate. Your bladder responds by contracting and you feel the urge to go frequently, sometimes urgently and certainly more than normal.
While its causes are unknown and the condition isnt dangerous, OABs symptoms are annoying and embarrassing, forcing women to plan their lives around it.
But heres good news: OAB is very treatable and a range of medical and surgical options are available. However, changing daily habits is the first course of treatment simple steps, such as watching fluid intake and doing Kegel exercises. Here are 6 dos and 6 donts to get you started:
1. Dont squat when you pee. Its important to really empty your bladder every time you go, says Elizabeth Kavaler, MD, a New York urologist and author of A Seat on the Aisle, Please! (Springer). When you hover over the toilet, you cant empty your bladder well.
[Women] squat and dont take the time they need, Dr. Kavaler says.
Her tips? Dont squeeze your legs and dont restrain and hurry.
You need to take the extra 30 seconds, she says.
What if youre using a public restroom?
Put paper on the toilet seat and sit.
2. Dont drink 8 glasses of water a day. The adage that 8 glasses of water is good for your health doesnt apply if you have OAB. In fact, it may be the cause of it, says Sandra Valaitis, MD, chief of Gynecology/Reconstructive Surgery at University of Chicago Medical Center.
As part of OAB treatment, Dr. Valaitis asks her patients to keep a diary of everything they drink and when they urinate.
Im amazed so many times what patients are drinking without even realizing it, she says. I had one 25-year-old woman [who] was drinking 120 ounces of Pepsi a day and hadnt even thought about how that would impact her bladder control.
Whats the right amount? Four to six glasses of water a day is enough for most people a little more if you exercise vigorously and sweat, says Ariana Smith, MD, urologist and assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
3. Dont drink too little. You want to decrease your fluid intake but not too much: Too little can irritate the bladder, so you still may feel that constant urge to urinate.It can also lead to urinary tract infections (UTIs), because the urine becomes concentrated (and turns dark yellow and smells) due to dehydration. That leaves bacteria behind.
How do you know if youre drinking the right amount? "Piss Clear" Your urine should be clear and odor-free.
4. Dont go for the cranberry cure. Even though cranberry juice is a UTI folk remedy, its not good for your bladder, says Dr. Kavaler. It doesnt hydrate well or flush out toxins. In fact, its a sugary diuretic and OAB sufferers should steer clear.
Drink water when youre thirsty and eat a well-balanced diet as part of a healthy lifestyle, she says.
5. Dont give up sex. Sex doesnt cause OAB or make it worse, so theres no reason to give it up, says Dr. Smith.
Sure, the condition can make women uncomfortable during sex because they feel the urge to urinate and worry they might have an accident. But these conditions go away when OAB is treated, she says.
Limiting fluid intake before having sex also may relieve discomfort, Dr. Kavaler suggests.
6. Dont obsess about peeing. Theres no such thing as normal urination, she says. Whatever makes you functional is normal.
Obsessing when, where and how you go, she says, only leads to stress. And that can make many women experience even more frequent urination because when theyre stressed, they tend to drink more liquid creating an endless cycle.
If youre urinating more than is practical and its bothersome, see your doctor, Dr. Kavaler says.
1. Do Kegel exercises. Kegel exercises strengthen pelvic-floor muscles and short-circuit the urge to urinate, Dr. Smith says.
If you have good pelvic floor muscles, you can suppress your urge to go, she says.
Kegel exercises are simple squeezes you can do at home, contracting your pelvic-floor muscles as if youre trying not to pee. (Dont do these if you have a full or partially empty bladder, says Edward Geehr, MD, Lifescript Chief Medical Officer. It can lead to UTIs.)
Even better: You can do them anywhere without anyone noticing at your desk at work or while watching TV.
2. Cut back on the mocha lattes. Caffeine in coffee, tea, soda even chocolate has a diuretic effect: It makes your bladder fill quicker so you have to urinate. It may also irritate it.
Eight ounces of coffee seems to be harder on the bladder than 8 ounces of water, Dr. Smith says. So go with water.
The good news: A lot of women come back after theyve eliminated caffeine and their OAB symptoms are significantly better, she adds.
3. Set a pee schedule. The brain can tell your body that you have to go, even if you dont.
Your bladder might get used to holding a smaller amount and it doesnt want to stretch [to hold more urine], Dr. Valaitis says. So you need to train it to go when you want to go, she says.
One treatment is to teach patients how to gradually increase intervals between voidings, she says.
To do this, you have to keep a diary of when you urinate to find a pattern. You may also be asked to measure your output in provided containers to determine when you really need to go and when you dont.
A recommended interval between bathroom breaks is 2-1/2 hours, Dr. Valaitis says.
If youre going more often, longer intervals between restroom breaks will gradually be introduced, Dr. Kavaler says. But finding your own rhythm is whats most important for managing overactive bladders.
Everyone has their issues and you have to know your body and its requirements, she says.
4. Manage your medications. Drugs you take for other conditions may trigger OAB, including blood-pressure drugs, diuretics, muscle relaxants, sedatives and antidepressants, Dr. Valaitis says. Others cause dry mouth, which may make you drink more water, causing OAB symptoms.
Its good to take a look and maybe change the time of day when you take your medication, she says.
You may be able to make simple adjustments, such as not taking the medication at night or when youre going out.
5. Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight puts extra pressure on the bladder and increases the risk of developing bladder problems.
Even if you lose a little weight as little as 5% in overweight or obese women you can regain bladder control, according to a study of 338 heavy-set women conducted by a University of California, San Francisco researcher, which was published in 2009 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
6. Do seek further treatment. If a change in habits doesnt work, anticholinergic medications may alleviate the urge to urinate by blocking the nerve signals to the bladder.
Minimally invasive surgery is also an option either the insertion of a bladder pacemaker or Botox injected into the organ to relax the muscle and minimize the sensation that you need to urinate all the time.
Are You Having Bladder Problems?
Leak when you laugh? Have a constant urge to pee? Incontinence is
a problem that can be managed. Knowing the causes and common triggers
can help you stay dry and out of the bathroom.