What is urinary problems and injuries?

Urinary Problems and Injuries
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Urinary problems and injuries in teens and adults: Overview

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's needed to relieve your symptoms.

Urine color and odor

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, and blood in the urine can turn urine red-brown. A urinary tract infection (UTI) can make urine cloudy, darker than normal, or both cloudy and darker.

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 UTI can cause a bad odor.

Urinary symptoms

Common symptoms of a urinary problem include:

  • A burning feeling when you urinate (dysuria). This is the most common symptom of a urinary tract infection.
  • A frequent urge to urinate without being able to pass much urine (frequency).
  • Pain in the flank. This is felt just below the rib cage and above the waist on one or both sides of the back.
  • A fever.
  • An urgent need to urinate (urgency).
  • Feeling like you can't completely empty your bladder.
  • Blood or blood clots in the urine (hematuria). Your urine may look red, brown, or pink. Blood in the urine may occur after intense exercise, such as running or biking.
  • Leaking urine (incontinence).
  • Nausea and vomiting.

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. Urinating may cause discomfort. Drink more fluids to help decrease discomfort.

Urinary tract infections

When you have a urinary tract infection (UTI), you may have several urinary symptoms. UTIs are more common in women than in men. That's because the urethra is shorter in women. It comes into contact with bacteria from the skin, anus, and vagina.

Infections that commonly cause UTI symptoms include:

  • Bladder infections. They are the most common type of UTI. They occur most often in sexually active women. An estimated 50% of women get bladder infections sometime during their lives.
  • Kidney infections. They are less common and more serious than bladder infections.
  • Prostatitis and epididymitis. These are urinary tract problems in men.
  • Urethritis. It can occur with sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It causes pain when you urinate.
  • Interstitial cystitis. It causes symptoms like a UTI, but no infection is present.

Other urinary problems

Kidney stones are another urinary problem that can cause mild to severe urinary symptoms.

An injury to the genital area can cause severe pain. But how bad the pain is doesn't always match how severe the injury is. After an injury such as a hit to the genital area, it's important to watch for urinary problems. You will usually need to see your doctor if you have 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.

Urinary problems related to aging

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. These changes can lead to stress incontinence. It may also occur in men, especially those who have had prostate surgery.

In men, trouble urinating or not being able to urinate is often caused by prostate enlargement.

Caring for a urinary problem or injury

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. Here are some things you can do.

  • Drink more fluids.

    Start drinking extra fluids as soon as you notice the symptoms and for the next 24 hours. This will help dilute the urine, flush bacteria out of the bladder, and decrease irritation. But if a medical condition such as a kidney or heart problem prevents you from drinking more fluids, just make sure to drink your usual amount of fluids.

  • Urinate when you feel the urge.

    Don't wait until a more convenient time.

  • Don't drink alcohol, caffeine, or fizzy drinks.

    They can irritate the bladder.

  • Take a warm bath.

    A bath may help relieve pain and itching. Avoid using bubble bath. It may cause more irritation.

  • Use gentle soaps, such as hypoallergenic ones.

    Avoid deodorant soaps. Use as little soap as you can. Don't use perfumes or feminine hygiene sprays on the genital area.

  • Apply a heating pad over your genital area to help relieve the pain.

    Set the heating pad temperature on low. Never go to sleep with a heating pad in place.

  • Examine your genital area.

    Increased redness may mean skin irritation.

  • Wear loose clothing and soft cotton underwear.
  • Avoid intercourse until symptoms improve.

    Don't use a diaphragm or spermicidal cream, foam, or gel. A diaphragm may put pressure on your urethra. This pressure may slow down or prevent your bladder from emptying completely. Spermicides can cause genital skin irritation.

What injuries can cause urinary problems?

Injuries that can cause problems with the urinary tract include:

  • Genital injuries.
  • A blow to your back.
  • A penetrating injury (trauma) or a pelvic fracture.
  • Sexual abuse.
  • Placing an object in the urethra.

Diet for a healthy bladder: Overview

You can help your bladder stay healthy. Drink lots of water and eat a healthy diet. This may help prevent urinary tract infections and other bladder problems.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.