Most of us do not give our urine much thought. A quick flush and it is disposed of and the story is over for at least the next few hours. But the urine itself and urinary habits can serve as important signs of kidney and urinary tract problems. In fact, your urine can also tell you a lot about other aspects of your health beyond the genitourinary system. You do not have to spend copious times inspecting your urine and trying to reach a conclusion of where the problem may lie. The important aspect is knowing what is normal and what is not and seeking medical attention is something seems amiss.
Kidneys and Urinary Tract's Articles Archives
A urinary tract infection, UTI, is a common problem especially among females. It can be effectively treated and complications are unlikely to occur if it is detected early and attended to promptly. While a UTI may be a once off episode, in many cases it tends to recur. The key is not only identifying the symptoms and seeking medical attention but also making dietary and lifestyle changes that can prevent repeated UTIs. However, UTIs are not always obvious. Many people develop urinary tract infections and not even know that they have it. Sometimes the infection can progress to a point where it causes dangerous complications and only then becomes evident.
Our kidneys are working all day and night to ensure that toxic substances and waste products are filtered from our body. It also regulates the amount of fluid in the body as well as the different minerals and salts that are essential for various processes. Although we can remain healthy even if we only have one kidney, both kidneys are constantly working to maintain the state of balance (homeostasis) that marks health. As with any part of the body, the kidneys can become dysfunctional, damaged and diseased. The symptoms may not be immediately obvious unless it is a severe kidney problem that strikes suddenly. But identifying the early and subtle signs of kidney disease and seeking medical attention as soon as possible can drastically improve the outcome.
Do you tend to pass urine a bit too often? It may in fact be a sign of certain diseases but many people experience urinary frequency even though there is no underlying problem. The cause of this urinary frequency may not necessarily be serious and poses little more than an inconvenience in having to visit the toilet many times in a day. The cause can be as simple as drinking too much of water or wearing tight clothing. Even your state of mind can be a factor.
Urination is a natural process that includes urine formation by the kidneys, storage of urine within the bladder and voiding which is the expulsion of the urine into the environment. It is the process that allows the body to get rid of toxins and waste products in the bloodstream as well as regulate the water volume and electrolyte levels in the body. While you should not be urinating too few times in a day, there comes a point when frequent urination, which is not disease related, can affect your life.
Radiation cystitis is condition where the bladder become inflamed because of exposure to radiation. It is rare for most people to be exposed to radiation for other than medical reasons. The bladder itself may be targeted in radiation therapy (radiotherapy) or the other pelvic organs may be irradiated for cancer at these sites with the bladder being incidentally affected due to the close proximity. The extent of the tissue injury associated with radiation exposure can range from minor irritation, to severe inflammation and even death of a portion of bladder tissue.Better targeting and delivery methods these days has helped in minimizing more severe forms of radiation cystitis.
Hyperoxaluria is the term for high levels of oxalate in the urine. It is normal to pass oxalate in the urine but these levels are lower than 40mg (milligrams) per day. In hyperoxaluria the urinary oxalate levels exceed 40mg within a 24 hour period. The oxalate is produced within the body and/or sourced from certain foods. High levels of oxalate greatly increases the risk of urinary stones. It can also progress to oxalosis where the blood levels of oxalate is raised and oxalate is deposited in various tissues throughout the body.
What is lithium nephropathy?
Lithium nephropathy is a kidney disease that occurs as a result of using lithium. Although trace amounts of lithium are present in the human body, it does not seem to serve any specific function. Lithium is used as a medication to treat certain psychiatric disorders and these patients are at risk of developing lithium nephropathy. It can cause a severe loss of fluid volume in the body and disturbances in the electrolyte disturbances as a result of lithium-induced diabetes insipidus It is more likely to be severe in patients who take high doses of lithium or intentionally overdose on lithium in a suicide attempt.
What is pyonephrosis?
Pyonephrosis is a condition where pus collects in the kidney as result of an infection with a urinary tract obstruction. A kidney infection, known as pyelonephritis, is mainly bacterial in origin. If the pus cannot drain out of the kidney due to some obstruction in the ureter usually, it accumulated within the collecting system of the kidney and can lead to the formation of an abscess. Pyoneophrosis is a very serious condition because the pus is under pressure and can therefore lead to a rapid spread of the infection possibly leading to sepsis. This is life-threatening. Pyonephrosis is a very rare condition, both in children and adults. Although it is difficult to estimate how common the condition may be, patients with blockages of the urinary tract are at a greater risk and in particular patients with a compromised immune system.
Polycystic Kidney Disease Definition
Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a condition marked by the formation of cysts in the kidney. In some cases, the sac-like cysts can also be seen in the pancreas, liver, and spleen. It is one of the most common genetic disorders, running in the families and a common cause of kidney failure in adults. This progressive disease shows symptoms usually in adulthood but children and newborns may also have cysts. However, it is important to note that polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a multisystem illness meaning that it can affect many other organs in the body and not just the kidneys.
What is renal vein thrombosis?
Renal vein thrombosis is a blood clot that forms inside the blood vessel that empties blood out of the kidney. Unlike blockage of the artery that brings oxygen-rich blood to the kidney, a renal vein thrombosis is unlikely to cause permanent damage to the kidney or death of any portion of the tissue. However, it does impair kidney function that has a host of consequences. The greater danger is when the clot breaks away from the renal vein and reaches the lung where it causes an obstruction of the blood vessels (pulmonary embolism). Renal vein thrombosis usually does not present with any specific symptoms and may be found incidentally or should be investigated as a possibility with certain conditions that are known to cause it.
What is renal artery stenosis?
Renal artery stenosis is a narrowing of the artery that carries blood to the kidney. It may occur in one or both arteries and its branches. When the artery is fully blocked then it is known as renal artery occlusion. As the artery narrows it reduces the blood flow to the kidney and this gradually compromises kidney function and even structure. As with narrowing of other arteries in the body, it tends to occur as a consequence of atherosclerosis where fatty plaques build up in the artery wall. Eventually blockage arises with a blood clot. Renal artery stenosis more often occurs in older patients and may account for about one-fifth of kidney diseases in people older than 50 years.
What is a floating kidney?
A floating kidney, medically known as nephroptosis, is a condition where the kidney moves from its normal position when a person lies flat or stands upright. This movement is abnormal. Although most organs in the abdomen may descend slightly when a person stands upright, the kidneys usually do not move much, almost not at all. Even when the kidneys do move with a change in body position, it rarely ever causes any symptoms and the movement is usually very slight.
A floating kidney is said to be rare but in reality may not be so. It is estimated that some 20% of women may have a floating kidney but only a minority of patients have symptoms. Although the condition is routinely detected during certain diagnostic investigation, it is not often a cause for concern if a person is asymptomatic. Floating kidney (nephroptosis) can occur in both males and females but is far common in women. It tends to affect the right kidney more often than the left.
What is trigonitis?
Trigonitis is a condition where the the cells lining the lower part of the bladder undergo changes into a different cell type. The affected part of the bladder is known as the trigone, hence the term trigonitis. There is often confusion about trigonitis since the term -itis usually indicates inflammation. While there may have been some inflammation, the condition trigonitis specifically focuses on the changes in the normal cells lining the bladder. The concept of cells undergoing abnormal changes raises the question about cancer. However, the cellular changes in trigonitis is benign (non-cancerous) and does not have any potential to become malignant (cancerous). Trigonitis mainly occurs in women of childbearing age. It occurs in a minority of men and is almost never seen in children.
The urinary tract comprises the passages through which urine is passed out of the body. It terminates at the external urethral orifice which is essentially the hole on the genitalia from where urine is expelled. The lower urinary tract is prone to infections as microbes enter through the external urethral orifice and inflames each segment of the urinary tract. It gradually spreads up the urinary tract and can eventually reach the kidney. This method of spread is known as an ascending infection and accounts for almost all urinary tract infections (UTIs). Sometimes microbes travel through the bloodstream from other sites of infection in the body to reach the kidney or urinary tract. This is less common.
Analgesics, commonly referred to as painkillers, are the most widely used drug globally. Although many of the more frequently used analgesics are safe to use in moderate doses over a short period of time, prolonged analgesic use can lead to a host of adverse effects on the body. This is not limited to any specific organ or system but the kidneys are commonly injured or even permanently damaged in these cases.
At times this occurs in the backdrop of pre-existing kidney disease due to other causes but kidney damage with the excessive use of painkillers can occur even in a previously healthy kidney. Greater understanding of the impact of analgesics has limited the ease of availability of the more harmful drugs but nevertheless the dependence on analgesics for even minor ailments continues globally.
What is bladder fullness?
Bladder fullness is a sensation that the bladder is filled to capacity and there is a need to urinate. This is also known as urinary or bladder urging. It is normal sensation that every person experiences as the bladder fills close to its maximum capacity. It serves as a signal that a person needs to find the appropriate facility to urinate. Although the sensation can be ignored for a period of time if the situation is not suitable, the sensation gradually intensifies until a person can no longer bear it or a person may end up urinating involuntarily.
However, sometimes the bladder fullness sensation occurs even after passing urine or with there being only small amounts of urine contained within the bladder compared to its normal capacity. In these cases the sensation is abnormal and most likely a symptom of some underlying disease of the bladder. It is more correctly known as urinary or vesical (bladder) tenesmus. Although the causes of this bladder fullness sensation is largely the same for both males and females, there are some conditions which are specific to each gender that results in this abnormal feeling.
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