Spotting blood in your urine can be a scary sight. Referred to as hematuria, according to the NIH, nearly 20% of people evaluated by a urologist are diagnosed with this condition. And, according to the Jama Network, hematuria is estimated to be seen in up to 30% of the adult population. While any age group and gender might see blood in their urine, older men are generally considered to be at higher risk. Individuals with a family history of kidney disease are also at higher risk, as well as people who engage in contact sports and marathon running.
Sometimes the change in color of urine could be the result of certain foods (i.e. beets or rhubarb) or medicines. However, it is important to consult a medical practitioner rather than relying on sheer guesswork because if there is, in fact, actual blood in your urine, it could be the sign of a serious health condition.
What are the Types of Hematuria?
There are two types of hematuria. If blood is visible in your urine, it is referred to as gross hematuria. If blood is not visible in your urine (i.e. the amount is too small) and can only be detected through a lab test, it is referred to as microscopic hematuria. If a person experiences difficult, painful or frequent urination, kidney pain or abdominal pain, it may be a symptom of microscopic hematuria.
What Causes the Presence of Blood in Urine?
There are a variety of reasons you might spot blood in your urine, such as
- Urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Kidney infection (pyelonephritis)
- Bladder or kidney stone
- Enlarged prostate
- Kidney disease (glomerulonephritis)
- Kidney, bladder or prostate cancer
- Sickle cell anemia
- Alport syndrome
- Kidney injury
- Certain medicines (i.e. penicillin, aspirin, heparin, warfarin, cyclophosphamide)
Only a medical examination can help you identify the reason.
What Tests are Usually Conducted When Blood is Found in Urine?
Your medical practitioner might ask you to undergo the following tests -
What Treatment is Usually Recommended When Blood is Found in Urine?
Treatment depends entirely on the reason behind blood being present in a patient's urine. It may include -
- Antibiotic medicines for a UTI
- Prescription medicine for an enlarged prostate
- Prescription medicine for stones
- Treatments, such as extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) for stones
Sometimes, no treatment is needed at all. However, if you do undergo treatment, it is important to do a follow-up examination to make sure there is no more blood present in your urine afterward.
What Sort of Questions Will a Doctor Ask?
If you notice blood in your urine, your doctor will ask you a range of questions, including -
- If you have pain
- How frequently you've noticed blood
- How much blood have you seen
- When do you see blood during the urination process
- How often you urinate
- If you are taking medication
- If you've engaged in contact sports
A matter of concern
Why Should the Presence of Blood in Urine Not Be Ignored?
Hematuria could be a warning sign of cancer - ignoring it could lead to tumors advancing. In some cases, if hematuria is linked to an infection, if it goes untreated it could result in kidney failure.
How Can Hematuria Be Prevented?
You can try to prevent hematuria by addressing some of the common underlying causes -
- Infections - Hydrate, maintain good hygiene and pee right after sexual intercourse
- Stones - Hydrate and avoid too much salt intake
- Bladder Cancer - Hydrate and abstain from smoking
Disclaimer: Please note: this blog post is provided for informational purposes and is not intended to replace the guidance of your personal physician. Please consult a medical professional if you have any concerns after reading this or other blog posts on this website.