It's natural to be worried when you notice blood in your urine. However, it's important for you to know that this symptom doesn't always point to a severe health issue. Hematuria is the medical term for blood appearing in your urine, and this condition is categorized into two different types:

  1. Gross hematuria: There is visible blood in the urine, which can appear red, pink, or brownish. The blood is usually more noticeable and concerning.
  2. Microscopic hematuria: The blood cells in the urine are only detectable when examined under a microscope or through laboratory testing of a urine sample. You may not know there is blood in your urine.

What Causes Hematuria?

Hematuria can happen when the bladder or kidneys are injured or if there is a problem within the urinary tract. Here are eight possible reasons you may experience hematuria:

1. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

You might get a UTI if bacteria enter the tube that urine travels through as it exits the body, called the urethra. Once inside your bladder, bacteria can multiply, causing you to experience pain, burning, and a strong urge to urinate. Your urine may turn red, pink, or brown and have a strong odor.

2. Kidney Infections (Pyelonephritis)

The medical name for kidney infections is called pyelonephritis. This type of UTI begins when bacteria move to your kidneys from your bloodstream or through the tubes connecting your kidneys and bladder, called the ureters. Similar to other UTIs, kidney infections can cause fever and pain in your back, side, or groin.

3. Bladder or Kidney Stones

If minerals in your urine form crystals, they can become stones in your bladder or kidneys. Although the stones may not immediately cause discomfort, they can result in visible or microscopic hematuria and cause you a lot of pain if they block your urinary tract.

4. Enlarged Prostate

Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) is a common condition men face as they age. BPH can cause pressure on the urethra, causing difficulty urinating and potentially leading to blood in the urine. Symptoms may also include frequent urges to urinate, incomplete bladder emptying, or the development of a urinary tract infection.

5. Inflammation

Glomerulonephritis is the medical term for a condition where the kidney's filters are inflamed, causing microscopic blood in the urine. Glomerulonephritis can occur alone or with diseases like diabetes.

6. Cancer

If you see visible blood in your urine, it could be a sign of advanced kidney, bladder, or prostate cancer.

7. Inherited Disorders

Conditions like sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, and low platelets can cause visible or microscopic blood in your urine.

8. Medications

Certain medications can cause blood in your urine, including:

  • Aminoglycosides
  • Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan)
  • Diuretics
  • Analgesics
  • Penicillins
  • Blood thinners


Diagnosis of Hematuria

Sometimes, the exact cause of hematuria might not be clear. If you notice any signs of blood in your urine, it's important to consult your doctor for evaluation. To determine the cause of hematuria, healthcare providers may use several approaches:

  • A medical history to gather information about your symptoms, lifestyle, and family history.
  • A physical examination to check your stomach and pelvic areas evaluate for pain or abnormalities.
  • A urinalysis to look for signs of infections, the presence of blood, and other abnormalities.
  • A blood test to check kidney function and look for related issues.
  • Imaging tests such as ultrasounds, CT scans, or MRIs to visualize the urinary tract and identify abnormalities.
  • A cystoscopy to visually inspect the bladder with a small camera to look for abnormalities.

Treatment and Management

The right treatment for you will depend on the specific cause of your hematuria. Your doctor will guide you through understanding your diagnosis and the best treatment path for your situation. Here are treatment options for some of the common causes of hematuria:

1. Infection

If your hematuria is caused by a urinary tract infection (UTI), antibiotics will be prescribed. These medications are effective in clearing the infection, which will resolve the presence of blood in your urine.

2. Kidney Stones

The treatment for kidney stones depends on their size and severity. For smaller stones, managing pain and increasing fluid intake might be enough to help them pass naturally. However, larger stones might require surgical procedures to remove them.

3. Prostate Issues

For men with prostate-related hematuria, often associated with prostate inflammation, several treatments are available. These can range from medications to manage symptoms to minimally invasive procedures or even surgery, particularly in cases of significant prostate enlargement.

4. Kidney Disease

When kidney disease is the underlying cause of hematuria, your treatment plan will be tailored to the specific condition. This could include a combination of medications, dietary changes, and modifications in your lifestyle to manage the disease effectively.

5. Cancer

In cases where cancer is identified as the cause of your hematuria, treatment options are varied. Depending on the type and stage of cancer, you might undergo surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy. Each of these treatments aims to target and eliminate cancer cells.

6. Medications

Your doctor may want to review and adjust your medications to identify which one might be causing hematuria.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can changes in diet or lifestyle impact hematuria?

While certain foods, medications, and strenuous activities can sometimes cause temporary hematuria, it's important to distinguish between that and true blood in the urine. For instance, foods with strong pigments like beets or berries might make the urine appear red. Dehydration and extreme exercise can also lead to hematuria. Your doctor can help determine if your diet or lifestyle is a contributing factor.

2. What factors increase the likelihood of developing hematuria?

Several factors can increase the risk of hematuria, including a family history of kidney disease, personal history of kidney stones, certain medications like blood thinners, age (especially those older than 50), and engaging in contact sports or other activities that may injure the kidneys.

3. What are the potential complications of untreated hematuria?

If left untreated, hematuria caused by a serious underlying condition can lead to complications. For instance, if it's due to a urinary tract infection, it could progress to a kidney infection.

Find a Solution for Your Hematuria

Hematuria is a symptom that should not be ignored. Although it can be a sign of a harmless condition, it could also indicate a more serious issue. Early evaluation and a prompt diagnosis are important for effective treatment.

If you notice any signs of hematuria, schedule an appointment for a thorough assessment.

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