standard-title Hematuria (Blood in Urine)

Hematuria (Blood in Urine)

Hematuria (Blood in Urine)


About the Condition

Seeing blood in your urine can cause anxiety. While in many instances there are benign causes, blood in urine (hematuria) can also indicate a serious disorder.

Blood that you can see is called gross hematuria. Urinary blood that’s visible only under a microscope is known as microscopic hematuria and is found when your doctor tests your urine. Either way, it’s important to determine the reason for the bleeding. Treatment depends on the underlying cause.

 

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Signs and Symptoms

The visible sign of hematuria is pink, red or cola-colored urine — the result of the presence of red blood cells. It takes very little blood to produce red urine, and the bleeding usually isn’t painful. If you’re also passing blood clots in your urine, that can be painful. Bloody urine often occurs without other signs or symptoms.

It’s possible to have blood in your urine that’s visible only under a microscope (microscopic hematuria).

 

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Risk Factors

Almost anyone — including children and teens — can have red blood cells in the urine. Factors that make this more likely include:

  • Age. Many men older than 50 have occasional hematuria due to an enlarged prostate gland.
  • Your sex. More than half of all women will have a urinary tract infection at least once in their lives, possibly with some urinary bleeding. Younger men are more likely to have kidney stones or Alport syndrome, a form of hereditary nephritis that can cause blood in the urine.
  • A recent infection. Kidney inflammation after a viral or bacterial infection (post-infectious glomerulonephritis) is one of the leading causes of visible urinary blood in children.
  • Family history. You may be more prone to urinary bleeding if you have a family history of kidney disease or kidney stones.
  • Certain medications. Aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers and antibiotics such as penicillin are known to increase the risk of urinary bleeding.
  • Strenuous exercise. Long-distance runners are especially prone to exercise-induced urinary bleeding. In fact, the condition is sometimes called jogger’s hematuria. But anyone who works out strenuously can develop symptoms.

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Diagnostic Process

To find a cause for urinary bleeding, the following tests and exams play a key role:

  • Physical exam, which includes a discussion of your medical history.
  • Urine tests. Even if your bleeding was first discovered through urine testing (urinalysis), you’re likely to have another test to see if your urine still contains red blood cells. Urinalysis can also check for urinary tract infection or the presence of minerals that cause kidney stones.
  • Imaging tests. Often, an imaging test is required to find the cause of hematuria. Your doctor might recommend a computerized tomography (CT) scan, which uses radiation and a powerful computer to create cross-sectional images of the inside of the body; magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which uses a magnetic field and radio waves instead of X-rays to produce images; or an ultrasound exam. Ultrasound uses a combination of high-frequency sound waves and computer processing to produce images of your kidneys and bladder.
  • Cystoscopy. In this procedure, your doctor threads a narrow tube fitted with a tiny camera into your bladder to closely examine both the bladder and urethra for signs of disease.

Sometimes, the cause of urinary bleeding may not be found. In that case, your doctor may recommend regular follow-up tests, especially if you have risk factors for bladder cancer, such as smoking, exposure to environmental toxins or a history of radiation therapy.

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Treatment Options

Hematuria has no specific treatment. Instead, your doctor will focus on treating the underlying condition. This might include, for instance, taking antibiotics to clear a urinary tract infection, trying a prescription medication to shrink an enlarged prostate, or shock wave therapy to break up bladder or kidney stones.

If the underlying condition isn’t serious, no treatment is necessary.

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Patient Stories


 

 

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