If your urine looks or feels suspicious, should you blame a medical goblin?
We understand if you do, especially this time of year. The extended darkness and cooler temperatures of Halloween season tend to make us more cautious, and that could extend to health. But if going to the bathroom is spooking you, there may be reasons beyond a potential illness. It could be an innocent change in bodily function.
The trick is knowing the difference between a condition you can manage yourself, and one that requires a doctor.
Here are four common urinary symptoms that, like the costumed children about to trudge to your door, are scary on the outside, but often harmless.
- The sight of blood – or is it? You don’t have to be afraid of the dark. While amber-colored urine can indicate hematuria, or blood in the urine, it can also simply be the result of dehydration. Other causes include intense exercise, vitamin supplements and medications. Drink lots of liquids for a couple of days and see if there is a change. If not, call your urologist. Kidney or liver infections, viruses and some medications can cause blood in the urine.
- A burning omen? Painful or burning urination is a common sign of a urinary tract infection (UTI), which is usually treatable with antibiotics. However, it may also result from chemical irritations. If you’ve changed soaps or detergents, are taking more bubble baths or are using a new spermicide, try changing them out. Note: Painful bladder syndrome, or interstitial cystitis is another common culprit of painful urination and is frequently mistaken for a UTI. If you’re not sure, see a urologist.
- Is my toilet becoming a cauldron? If your urine feels hotter than usual, but doesn’t burn, don’t be alarmed. Urine should reflect one’s body temperature, so those who have been working out, are pregnant or are in warmer climates may notice their urine is hotter as well. If it does not cool down an hour after body temperatures normalize, the cause may be a fever caused by an infection.
- I can’t hear my bladder scream. The brain normally tells the bladder when it’s time to pee. When the message doesn’t get through, it could be the result of a nerve disorder, such as from a stroke or diabetes. The urine flow also may be blocked due to a swelling urethra or prostate. However, some medications – including muscle relaxants, antihistamines, blood pressure-lowering drugs and hormonal agents – also affect the bladder muscle.
It’s easy to get worked into a fright when our bodies start acting differently, but sometimes there is no cause for alarm. If any of these symptoms persist after changing activities, if you have a history of health scares or if you just can’t shake that eerie feeling something isn’t right, call your urologist.
We should never be afraid of going to the doctor.