Looking Into The "Crystal Bowl" What Your "Pee" Can Foresee

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Changes in Urine Color or Flow Can Signal a Problem; Noted Urogynecologist/Author Explains

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Urine color changes can appear temporarily sometimes, so it is important to note if they continue to return and what you may have eaten, including medications, vitamins, etc., that could have triggered a color change

One of the best ways to gauge what's going on inside your bladder may be to take a look at what's coming out…literally. According to a leading expert in cystitis, changes in urine, such as in the color, concentration and clarity, as well as the actual urinary flow or "stream," can be the first indicator of possible medical issues.

Larrian Gillespie, retired urologist/urogynecologist and author of the best-selling book, You Don't Have to Live with Cystitis (HarperCollins), says it's very important to pay attention to the physical changes in one's urine, which when healthy, is a straw-yellow color.

"Pigments that affect the color of urine are often the result of certain medications, diet or disease," says Gillespie. "These changes are often temporary, but if they become chronic, it is very important to investigate the problem further by consulting with your healthcare provider."

Here, Gillespie offers her thoughts on urinary changes and what steps to take:

What You See When You Pee: -- Clear Urine

  •     Most Likely Means: You've been drinking more liquids, such as increased water intake.
  •     What to Do: Typically, clear urine signals good hydration and health. However, if you do not consume many beverages or much water and your urine remains consistently clear, contact a physician because it could be a sign of a kidney or liver disorder.

What You See When You Pee:-- Dark Yellow Urine

  •     Most Likely Means: You have not been drinking enough liquids and are likely dehydrated.
  •     What to Do: Drink more liquids. Gillespie recommends drinking as much as one feels comfortable, given your level of activity, the climate and your diet. On average, we need at least 32 ounces of fluids per day.

What You See When You Pee-- Fluorescent Yellow/Orange Urine

  •     Most Likely Means: You've been consuming a lot of darker colored foods, such as beets, carrots, too much vitamin C, etc. However, this could also be an early sign of liver dysfunction if urine is consistently a dark yellow/orange or brownish color.
  •     What to Do: It is very important to make sure that you are drinking enough liquids. However, if this condition persists, it highly recommended that you consult with your primary care physician for an accurate diagnosis.

What You See When You Pee-- Blood-Tinged or Rust -Colored Urine

  •     Most Likely Means: If accompanied by pain, burning and frequent urination, it is most likely a urinary tract infection (UTI). In some cases, the urine is also cloudy and/or has an odor.
  •     What to do: Contact your healthcare provider for a urine culture to these if you have a bacterial infection, for which you'll need a prescription antibiotic. However, a culture can take a few days, so in the meantime, Gillespie recommends taking Cystex® Urinary Pain Relief Tablets, available over-the-counter at drug stores. "Not only will it help alleviate any painful symptoms that you experience with a UTI, but it will also help stop the progression of the bacterial infection until you can start the antibiotic."

What You See When You Pee-- Brown Urine

  •     Most Likely Means: Brown urine can be an indication of a serious condition. This may be caused by either liver or kidney diseases. There are other symptoms related to these ailments that should also be considered as indicators.
  •     What to Do: See your physician as soon as possible for an accurate diagnosis.

What You See When You Pee-- Green or Blue Urine

  •     Most Likely Means: Artificial coloring in food or drugs (i.e. dyes) can cause urine to turn green or blue. Urine in the brighter green color can also be an indication of an excess of B vitamins.
  •     What to Do: Scale back on the supplements and artificial foods that might be changing your urine color. If nothing changes, then consult with your physician.

What You See When You Pee-- Murky, Cloudy Urine

  •     Most Likely Means: It could be related to either bacterial vaginosis or a yeast infection, a bad case of a UTI, kidney stones or other urinary tract diseases. Some urinary complaints might accompany the change in urine color, including painful urination, reduced urine outflow and increased urinary frequency.
  •     What to do: It is important that you see your physician at once for an accurate diagnosis. Be sure to also alert your doctor to any changes in the way that you urinate (i.e. flow, pain, and urgency).

"Urine color changes can appear temporarily sometimes, so it is important to note if they continue to return and what you may have eaten, including medications, vitamins, etc., that could have triggered a color change," explains Gillespie. "Anything that doesn't go away within a few days should be addressed by your healthcare provider."

Gillespie also notes that the strength of the urine stream is important to pay attention to, as well. "Inflammation in the bladder can cause a weaker stream, so if this occurs, make an effort to get a urine culture to rule out a UTI. If the results are negative, see a urologist and ask for a uroflow exam to assess whether or not you are voiding - urinating - efficiently, no matter what the color."
For more information on urinary tract health, as well as other important information about urinary tract infection (UTI) prevention and care, visit http://www.cystex.com , or visit the new Ladies Room Blog.

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Alyson O'Mahoney
Cystex
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