Kidney and urinary tract

Flowers, chocolates, organ donation — are you in?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

February 14th is more than Valentine’s Day –– it’s also National Donor Day, when health organizations sponsor sign-ups for organ and tissue donation. For those in need, such a donation can be life-changing — or lifesaving. If you wonder what can be donated or how, read on.

What’s behind racial disparities in kidney disease?

Kidney disease requiring dialysis or transplant is far more common among African Americans than among white Americans, but genetics and biology play only a small role in this excess risk; the difference is linked to social and economic injustice rooted in systemic racism, and all the added burdens associated with it.

An emerging link between the urinary microbiome and urinary incontinence

The discovery that the urinary tract has a microbiome analogous to the one in the digestive tract has led to research showing that in women with urinary incontinence, their urinary microbiome differs from those in women who do not have urinary incontinence.

Antibiotic-resistant urinary tract infections are on the rise

Lisa Bebell, MD

Contributor

Rising resistance to antibiotics driven by overpresciption and overuse has led to a decline in the effectiveness of antibiotics in treating urinary tract infections. If your doctor wants to prescribe an antibiotic, be sure to ask if it’s necessary, and what alternatives there might be.

Kidney stones: What are your treatment options?

There are several treatment options for kidney stones. Which is best for you may depend on size and number of stones and their location in the kidney. Imaging and blood tests can help your doctor determine the right course of treatment.

What causes kidney stones (and what to do)

You’re more likely to get kidney stones, or have them recur, if you don’t drink enough fluid each day. Proper hydration, medication, and attention to diet are the most common treatments.

More water, fewer UTIs?

Huma Farid, MD

Contributor

Many women have urinary tract infections (UTIs), but researchers found that when women with recurring UTIs drank significantly more water each day, their frequency of infection was cut in half.

5 things that can help you take a pass on kidney stones

Matthew Solan

Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

If you’ve ever passed a kidney stone, you’ll probably do anything to avoid doing having to go through that again. There are some simple things you can do to help you sidestep the misery of a kidney stone altogether, or at least lower the chances of getting another one.

Urinary incontinence: Common and manageable

Nearly half of all women will experience some form of urinary incontinence during their lives. In addition to the discomfort, it can affect a person’s emotional health as well. But the condition can be managed for many women with lifestyle changes behavior therapy, or physical therapy.

Is it safe to take ibuprofen for the aches and pains of exercise?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A study of endurance athletes who took ibuprofen during marathon running raises questions about the wisdom of ibuprofen during exercise, and in addition that people with kidney disease may want to exercise caution when taking these medications.