A color-coded guide to urine

Normal urine has a yellow color, thanks to the pigment urochrome.  Urochrome is a yellow pigment formed when urobilinogen produced during the breakdown of hemoglobin is exposed to air. 

The pigment is specific to urine, but the intensity of its yellow color depends on the amount of water present in the urine. So generally normal urine can be straw-colored, yellow, or amber, depending on how dilute it is.

What color is abnormal?

Pale yellow to amber urine is normal. But the intensity of the color depends on whether it is dilute or concentrated.  Healthy urine may be clear or colorless if you drink a lot of water. But when you drink less, your urine becomes more concentrated and darker. That is why normal urine may appear honey or golden when you drink less water or are dehydrated.

Apart from fluid intake, several other factors determine the color of urine. For instance, urine color is affected by diet, vitamins, exercise, and medicines. A bright yellow pee color may be due to a high dose of vitamin B. 

When your pee color turns from the normal pale yellow to colors such as red, blue, brown, orange, or green, something may be wrong.  Of course, the usual causes of such changes may be diet, exercise, or medications, but these colors may also signal a serious health issue that requires urgent medical attention.

Here is a color-coded guide to urine appearance

  1. Clear urine

Clear urine indicates that you’re probably drinking more water than the daily recommended amount. Of course, being well-hydrated is good, but drinking too much can rob your body of some essential electrolytes.

If your urine is only occasionally clear, you shouldn’t be bothered. However, when it is always clear, then you should cut back on how much water you drink. 

Persistently clear urine even after reducing the volume of water you drink may indicate viral hepatitis or liver cirrhosis. Hence, if your urine is clear for a while and you’re not drinking large amounts of water, then you should see your doctor.

  1. Pink or red urine

Your urine can have a pink or red color after you eat foods with naturally deep pink or magenta colors, such as beets, rhubarb and blackberries. But certain medications may also give a red or pink color. For instance, medications like senna or senna-containing laxatives, phenazopyridine (Pyridium), and antibiotic Rifampin, can give a red or pink color to urine.

If you can rule out these foods and medications, then a red color indicates hematuria (blood in urine). Hematuria can be due to a range of health problems, such as kidney or bladder stones, urinary tract infections, an enlarged prostate, and tumors of the bladder and kidneys.

 Extreme exercise can also cause hematuria if it produces muscle damage, a condition called “runner’s bladder.”

  1. Light brown or orange urine

Urine can be orange when you are dehydrated. But your urine can also be light brown or orange when it has a high amount of blood due to urinary tract infection or bleeding from the bladder (especially in bladder cancer). 

Some medications, such as phenazopyridine (Pyridium), the anti-inflammatory drug sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), chemotherapy drugs, and some laxatives can equally cause urine to appear reddish-orange.

  1. Dark brown urine

If your urine looks like cola, it may be due to dehydration or to some foods, such as fava beans, aloe and rhubarb. Some medications, like laxatives, antibiotics, and muscle relaxants may also give urine a dark brown color.

When these are ruled out, then the dark brown color may be due to hepatitis, other liver disorder, or kidney malfunction, especially if you also have yellowing skin and eyes and pale stools.

  1. Blue or green urine

Food dyes can turn urine green or blue. For example, methylene blue dye found in many types of candy gives urine a bluish tinge. Also, some dyes used to test kidney or bladder function can turn urine blue. 

Besides, your urine may be blue or green due to medications, such as pain-relievers, anti-depressant drugs, urinary tract infections (green), or the rare inherited disorder called “blue diaper syndrome” that occurs in children.

When should you seek medical attention?

You should generally be proactive in seeking medical attention when your urine maintains an alarming color that gets your attention. Colors such as red or pink may be due to a serious health condition requiring urgent medical attention.

At Advanced Urology Institute, we work with our patients to ensure they appreciate the importance of a healthy urinary system on their overall health. For more information on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of urologic disorders, visit our website “Advanced Urology Institute.”

Causes of a Weak Urine Flow

The inability to start or maintain urine flow, causing dribbling or weak urine flow, is called urinary hesitancy. It can occur at any age for all genders, but it is by far most common among aging men. Urinary hesitancy develops gradually but if left untreated, it can lead to a complete inability to pass urine, also known as urine retention. Due to its prevalence among older men, weak urine flow has always been associated with an enlarged prostate gland, a condition very common in older men. This, however, is not the only cause of a weak urine flow.

Causes of a weak Urine Flow

1. Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH)

Benign prostate hyperplasia is the medical term for an enlarged prostate. As a man ages, the prostate grows to a size larger than what is normal. The prostate’s location around the tip of the urethra means that the enlarged prostate presses on the urethra and blocks the passage of urine. This whole or partial obstruction slows down the flow of urine. BPH is the main cause of a weak urine flow in men over the age of 45.

2. Underactive Bladder (UAB)

Dr. Jonathan Jay: Naples, FLAn underactive bladder is a medical condition characterized by weak urine flow and an inability to empty the bladder completely. The condition is best understood as the opposite of the overactive bladder (OAB) which has received wider attention and is known to cause urinary incontinence, the urgent and frequent urges to urinate. Patients suffering from an underactive bladder have a diminished sense of when their bladder is full and are not able to contract the bladder fully. The condition can occur when there is damage to the bladder peripheral pathways or to the lumbosacral spinal cord. It is also common in patients suffering from diabetes mellitus, neurological diseases, Parkinson’s disease and pelvic fractures.

3. Bladder Outlet Obstruction (BOO)

As the name suggests, this is a condition that occurs when there is a blockage at the neck or the base of the bladder. The blockage completely prevents or reduces urine flow from the bladder. It occurs in both women and men, but is more common in older men. It can be caused by bladder stones, scar tissue in the urethra, bladder cancer or an enlarged prostate.

It is clear that weak urine flow has a variety of causes. It is very important to see a urologist to determine the exact cause of a weak flow. An appropriate plan of treatment can be set up once it has been determined what is creating the problem. It is recommended that you consider seeking out trained, experienced and board approved urologists if you are having problems with weak urine flow.

At AUI, we offer patient-friendly and multidisciplinary urology services for a wide range of problems, including weak urine flow. For more information, visit the “Advanced Urology Institute” site.

For more information, visit the “Advanced Urology Institute” website.

8 Easy Ways to Cleanse Your Kidneys

The kidneys are amazing little organs. Each day, they process about 200 quarts of blood, getting rid of excess water and waste products, removing toxins and keeping the body functioning smoothly. If the kidneys are not able to remove toxins and waste from the body, they will build up in the body and hinder the normal function of kidneys, liver and other organs, resulting in exhaustion, stomach pain, headaches, water retention and other problems. Buildup of toxins and waste also may lead to kidney stones, a mass of crystals or unprocessed minerals which can grow to the size of a golf ball. Kidney stones affect 10-15 percent of American adults, but also may be found in children as young as five.

Kidney stones causes and symptoms

There are many causes of kidney stones, such as dehydration, excessively acidic urine, urinary tract infections, buildup of waste and toxins in the kidneys, among others. The symptoms of kidney stones include excessive lower back, abdominal or urinary tract pain which may be sharp, mild or excruciating, severe vomiting or feeling nauseated, persistent urge to pass urine, and constant chills or sweating. While the symptoms vary depending on the size of the stones, unceasing pain and discomfort on the sides is a good reason to see a urologist. Kidney stones are easily curable if diagnosed early.

Why you should cleanse your kidneys

There are several reasons why you should flush out toxins and waste from your body. For instance, cleansing your kidneys improves their function and reduces bloating. Likewise, cleansing your kidney improves your ability to process certain foods, absorb nutrients and convert food to energy, preventing fatigue. Flushing out waste and toxins prevents potential infection and reduce the risk for bladder problems. Similarly, cleansing the kidneys reduces the chances of having painful kidney stones, corrects hormonal imbalances and prevents skin breakouts such as acne, eczema and rashes.

Below are 8 easy ways to cleanse your kidneys

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is effective in preventing oxidative stress of the kidneys. It increases the levels of antioxidants in the body, balances blood sugar levels and reduces blood pressure, creating optimum conditions for kidney health. Apple cider vinegar contains citric acid which dissolves kidney stones. Frequent intake of apple cider vinegar also flushes out toxins from the kidneys.

2. Kidney Beans

Kidney beans not only resemble the kidneys but also remove waste and toxins from the kidney and flush out kidney stones effectively. Kidney beans are rich in Vitamin B, fiber and several minerals which help to clean the kidney and boost the function of the urinary tract.

3. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is naturally acidic and increases citrate levels in urine, hence discouraging the formation of kidney stones. Lemon juice also filters blood and flushes out wastes and other toxins. Daily intake of diluted lemon juice reduces the rate of kidney stone formation and dissolves calcium oxalate crystals, which is the most common constituent of kidney stones. For people with kidney stones, combining lemon with olive oil ensures smooth passage of the stones.

4. Watermelon

Watermelon is a mild diuretic. It hydrates and cleanses the kidneys. It is also rich in lycopene, which improves cardiovascular health and ensures well-functioning kidneys. Watermelon also has large quantities of potassium salts which regulate acidity of urine and prevents stone formation. In fact, eating watermelon regularly is great for kidney health.

5. Pomegranate

Both the juice and seeds of pomegranate contain large amounts of potassium and therefore are effective in removing kidney stones. Potassium lowers acidity of urine, prevents stone formation because of its astringent properties, curtails crystallization of minerals, and flushes out toxins and waste from the kidneys.

6. Basil

Basil is an effective diuretic. It removes kidney stones and improves kidney functioning. Basil also lowers the level of uric acid in blood and improves kidney health. Its ingredients such as essential oils and acetic acid break down kidney stones and allow for smooth removal. Basil is also a pain killer.

7. Dates

When dates are soaked in water for 24 hours and then consumed after seeds are removed, they are effective in dissolving and flushing out kidney stones. Dates are rich in fiber, helping to reduce the risk of kidney stones. The magnesium ingredient in dates also cleanses the kidneys.

8. Dandelion

Consuming tea made using dried organic dandelion or fresh dandelion root (pulled from the ground) helps to cleanse the kidneys. Dandelion is a kidney tonic, but also stimulates bile production to improve digestion and minimize the waste reaching the kidneys.

Another effective cleansing agent for the kidneys is cranberry juice which supports the urinary tract, fights urinary tract infections and removes excess calcium oxalate. Beets and their juices contain Betaine which increases urine acidity, prevents build-up of struvite and calcium phosphate and reduces the chances of kidney stone formation. Other effective cleansing agents are coconut water, cucumber juice and cherries. For more information on preventing and treating kidney problems, visit the site, Advanced Urology Institute.

What Are The Types of Hematuria?

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Hematuria is a health condition that is characterized by the presence of blood in the urine. There are two main types of hematuria: microscopic and macroscopic.

In microscopic hematuria, there is no visual evidence of the presence of blood, unless the urine is view under a microscope. Macroscopic hematuria, on the other hand, is evident immediately with red discoloration of the urine.

Hematuria can also be classified according to the cause of the blood in the urine. Both of these types are detailed further below.

Microscopic Hematuria

The concentration of blood in the urine is not visible to the naked eye in microscopic hematuria and can only be detected under a microscope.

Some individuals are affected by microscopic hematuria without an identifiable cause, which is referred to as idiopathic hematuria. This is thought to result from an increased excretion of red blood cells in respect to what is considered to be normal, although may not be associated with adverse effects on the individual.

Macroscopic Hematuria

Also known as frank or gross hematuria, macroscopic hematuria involves visible discoloration of the urine as a result of a greater concentration of blood in the urine. The color is usually described as pink, red or dark brown. Additionally, there may also be evidence of small or large blood clots in some cases.

It is not necessary for a large volume of blood to be present for the color of the urine to be altered. In fact, 1 mL of blood is sufficient to precipitate a change in color. Additionally, the volume of blood may not be an accurate indicator of the severity of the underlying cause, and even a small quantity of blood may have serious repercussion and vice versa.

Joggers Hematuria

“Joggers hematuria” is a specific type of hematuria that occurs as a result of recurrent damage to the bladder during activities such as jogging and long-distance running.

Classification by Cause

Hematuria can also be classified according to the cause of the condition, as follows:

  • Infective hematuria: due to pyelonephritis, cystitis or urethritis
  • Stones-related hematuria: due to staghorn calculi, calcium stones or uric acid stones
  • Trauma-related hematuria: due to pelvic trauma, renal injuries or foreign bodies
  • Renal hematuria: due to IgA nephropathy, hereditary nephritis, medullary sponge kidney or thin basement membrane diseases
  • Iatrogenic hematuria: due to recent endoscopic procedure, trans-rectal ultrasound, traumatic catheterization, radiation, indwelling ureteric stents, renal biopsy or extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy
  • Benign hematuria: due to strictures, renal masses or benign prostatic hypertrophy
  • Malignant hematuria: due to prostate acinar adenocarcinoma or renal cell, transitional cell, squamous cell or urothelial cell carcinoma

Other Causes of Red Discoloration

While red discoloration is the most distinctive feature of hematuria, there are various other causes of this discoloration, which can result from numerous factors. These may include the presence of pigments such as:

  • Myoglobin (indicative of myoglobinuria)
  • Porphyrins (indicative of porphyria)
  • Betanin (in beets)

Additionally, some drugs can have a similar effect, including rifampicin, phenazopyridine, sulphonamides and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

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