Doctor, Doctor Questions Often Asked

The phrase, “A horse of another color,” might ignite your recollection of the movie “Wizard of Oz” in which Dorothy encounters a carriage pulled by a horse, which changes color. Moviegoers were amazed by the magical power of “Technicolor” to change the color of the horse but that was “another matter altogether”, which is exactly what is meant by the phrase, “Horse of another color.” Equally amazing but unfortunately very disconcerting to most people is a change in the color of their urine. An active imagination can conjure up all sorts of frightening ideas as to the cause of such a color change. The usual color of urine is yellow and the intensity of the color is related to water intake. The more water consumed, the paler the urine while dehydration leads to a darker, amber color. Transient changes in urine color are not as important as repeated or persistent color changes. A neon-yellow coloration can result from the use of vitamins while certain laxatives can make urine appear golden. Orange discoloration is caused by Pyridium, a drug used to relieve urinary burning. Other drugs that impart an orange color are Adriamycin, rifampin, and Coumadin. Bluish-green urine can result from asparagus, certain food dyes, methylene blue, amitriptyline and indomethacin. Urine may appear colorless and this, while most often related to excess water ingestion, can be caused by certain liver problems, such as cirrhosis or hepatitis. When your urine is dark-brown but your stool is pale in color and the whites of your eyes are yellow, see your doctor without delay as this may be related to a liver problem. When urine is cloudy or murky a urinary tract infection should be suspected.

Beets, rhubarb, and blackberries are classic examples of foods that can cause a reddish discoloration of the urine. However, when urine appears red, pink, claret, or smokey-brown, no food or drug has been taken to explain the change and the discoloration persists or recurs, it is time to see your doctor since blood, as the cause of the color change must be suspected. Blood in the urine could come from any part of the urinary tract and prompt investigation and diagnosis is required so proper corrective treatment can be given. Remember that the most common cause of blood in the urine in an adult man is benign prostate enlargement and not prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is “A horse of another color.” Treatment for benign prostate enlargement is not to be feared. There is excellent medical therapy which can shrink the size of the prostate and relax the tightness of the muscles within the prostate. For those who are unable or unwilling to take medication for a lifetime, “TherMatrx Microwave Thermotherapy” offers a non-surgical, one-time, long lasting, safe, FDA approved, in-office treatment that does not require anesthesia or the wearing of an uncomfortable catheter.

Have a question? Call Dr. Okun 718-241-6767

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