Your urine is one of the ways your body removes wastes from itself, and one way to determine if what’s coming out is healthy is its color. Contrary to what many may believe, your urine shouldn’t be clear; that’s actually an indication you’re overhydrated. A pale or transparent yellow is a healthy color, and the darker it gets from there, the worse off you are. Dark yellow or orange can indicate dehydration ora lack of certain vitamins, but darker shades of brown may indicate liver problems.
Another color to be concerned about is pink in your urine, as it is an indication of blood in your urine, a condition known as hematuria. Traces of blood can be a reason enough for concern, but pinkish or deeper shades of red indicates the presence of enough blood that it’s indicative of one of many conditions, including bladder cancer. To best determine what hematuria can mean for your health, let’s look at some facts about this problem, what conditions can lead to it, and what needs to be done if it is bladder cancer.
If you live in the Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, or South Florida area and you’re seeing signs of hematuria or other issues with your urine, Drs. Craig Herman and Steven Kester and the dedicated medical staff at the Urology Center of Florida can help.
Facts about hematuria
Blood in urine sounds serious, but it is common enough that up to 30% of American adults have been diagnosed with it. Hematuria is more a symptom than a condition, although there are different types depending on how much blood is present:
- Microscopic: this means trace amounts of blood and is known as an occult blood reading; this is in small enough amounts to not be visible to the naked eye.
- Gross: when blood is visible in urine, it can range is color from light pink to red.
- Dipstick: when using a urine test strip, the oxidation can lead to a color change that may not actually be a positive hematuria reading.
Multiple methods can be used to both detect hematuria and check for abnormalities in your urinary tract, including urinalysis, urine cultures, urine cytology, cystoscopy, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) scan, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Conditions that can cause it
Bladder cancer can cause blood in your urine, but several other conditions of varying severity can as well, such as bladder or gall stones, enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia), kidney disease, and hemophilia. In addition to bladder cancer, prostate and kidney cancer may also be the culprit. Some medications can also cause this problem, like blood thinners, penicillins, cytoxan, and sulfa-containing drugs like bactrim.
Other risk factors for urinary bleeding include vigorous exercise, sexual activity, injuries, inflammation of your urinary system, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
What to do if it’s bladder cancer
This illness results from the growth of abnormal cells in your bladder, and if left unchecked can spread to other organs and tissue (metastasize). It is one of the common types of cancer, and comes with many other symptoms, like painful urination, urinary incontinence, abdominal pain, lower back pain, loss of appetite, unintentional weight loss, swollen feet, and fatigue.
Treatment options will vary depending on what stage the cancer is in, such as:
Stages 0-1: removing the cancer, immunotherapy, and chemotherapy
Stages 2-3: removal of part of or the whole bladder, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and immunotherapy
Stage 4: removal of the whole bladder, removal of neighboring lymph nodes, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, clinical trial drugs regimen
The key to managing an illness like bladder cancer is to catch it early to increase your chances of survival, so if there’s hematuria, get it checked out as soon as possible.
And, remember, it may not be that serious; a lot of things can cause blood in your urine. If you notice blood in your urine, or other types of discolorations when you urinate, make an appointment with Drs. Herman or Kester and the team at the Urology Center of Florida today. You can call us or use our online booking tool.