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Urinary Problems and Injuries, Age 12 and Older - Topic Overview

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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.

See pictures of the female urinary system camera.gif and male urinary system camera.gif.

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:

  • Burning with urination (dysuria). This is the most common symptom of a urinary tract infection.
  • Frequent urge to urinate without being able to pass much urine (frequency).
  • Pain in the flank, which is felt just below the rib cage and above the waist on one or both sides of the back.
  • Fever.
  • Urgent need to urinate (urgency).
  • Feeling like you can't completely empty your bladder.
  • Blood 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 bicycling.
  • 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, 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:

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