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Steroids

You may have heard of anabolic steroids, which can have harmful effects. But there's another type of steroid - sometimes called a corticosteroid - that treats a variety of problems. These steroids are similar to hormones that your adrenal glands make to fight stress associated with illnesses and injuries. They reduce inflammation and affect the immune system.

You may need to take corticosteroids to treat

  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Autoimmune diseases such as lupus and multiple sclerosis
  • Skin conditions such as eczema and rashes
  • Some kinds of cancer

Steroids are strong medicines, and they can have side effects, including weakened bones and cataracts. Because of this, you usually take them for as short a time as possible.

Ureteral Disorders

Your kidneys make urine by filtering wastes and extra water from your blood. The urine travels from the kidneys to the bladder in two thin tubes called ureters.

The ureters are about 8 to 10 inches long. Muscles in the ureter walls tighten and relax to force urine down and away from the kidneys. Small amounts of urine flow from the ureters into the bladder about every 10 to 15 seconds.

Sometimes the ureters can become blocked or injured. This can block the flow of urine to the bladder. If urine stands still or backs up the ureter, you may get a urinary tract infections.

Doctors diagnose problems with the ureters using different tests. These include urine tests, x-rays, and examination of the ureter with a scope called a cystoscope. Treatment depends on the cause of the problem. It may include medicines and, in severe cases, surgery.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Urethral Disorders

The urethra is the tube that allows urine to pass out of the body. In men, it's a long tube that runs through the penis. It also carries semen in men. In women, it's short and is just above the vagina. Urethral problems may happen due to aging, illness, or injury. They include

  • Urethral cancer - a rare cancer that happens more often in men
  • Urethral stricture - a narrowing of the opening of the urethra
  • Urethritis - inflammation of the urethra, sometimes caused by infection

Urethral problems may cause pain or difficulty passing urine. You may also have bleeding or discharge from the urethra.

Doctors diagnose urethral problems using different tests. These include urine tests, x-rays and an examination of the urethra with a scope called a cystoscope. Treatment depends on the cause of the problem. It may include medicines and, in severe cases, surgery.

Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence (UI) is loss of bladder control. Symptoms can range from mild leaking to uncontrollable wetting. It can happen to anyone, but it becomes more common with age. Women experience UI twice as often as men.

Most bladder control problems happen when muscles are too weak or too active. If the muscles that keep your bladder closed are weak, you may have accidents when you sneeze, laugh or lift a heavy object. This is stress incontinence. If bladder muscles become too active, you may feel a strong urge to go to the bathroom when you have little urine in your bladder. This is urge incontinence or overactive bladder. There are other causes of incontinence, such as prostate problems and nerve damage.

Treatment depends on the type of problem you have and what best fits your lifestyle. It may include simple exercises, medicines, special devices or procedures prescribed by your doctor, or surgery.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Urinary Tract Infections

The urinary system is the body's drainage system for removing wastes and extra water. It includes two kidneys, two ureters, a bladder, and a urethra. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the second most common type of infection in the body.

You may have a UTI if you notice

  • Pain or burning when you urinate
  • Fever, tiredness, or shakiness
  • An urge to urinate often
  • Pressure in your lower belly
  • Urine that smells bad or looks cloudy or reddish
  • Pain in your back or side below the ribs

People of any age or sex can get UTIs. But about four times as many women get UTIs as men. You're also at higher risk if you have diabetes, need a tube to drain your bladder, or have a spinal cord injury.

If you think you have a UTI it is important to see your doctor. Your doctor can tell if you have a UTI with a urine test. Treatment is with antibiotics.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases