Hematuria is the medical term for blood in your urine.
Several different conditions and diseases can cause hematuria. These include infections, kidney disease, cancer, and rare blood disorders. The blood may be visible or in such small quantities that it can’t be seen with the naked eye.
Any blood in the urine can be a sign of a serious health problem, even if it happens only once. Ignoring hematuria can lead to the worsening of serious conditions like cancer and kidney disease, so you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible.
What are the types of hematuria?
There are two main types of hematuria: gross hematuria and microscopic hematuria.
If there’s enough blood in your urine that your urine appears pink or red or has spots of visible blood, you have “gross hematuria.”
When you can’t see the blood because the amount is so small, you have “microscopic hematuria.” Only a lab test that detects blood or looking at a sample of urine under a microscope can confirm microscopic hematuria.
Blood in Urine Hematuria Causes
Reasons people may have blood in the urine include:
- infection in the bladder, kidney, or prostate
- vigorous exercise
- viral illness, such as hepatitis—a virus that causes liver disease and inflammation of the liver
- sexual activity
- endometriosis—a problem in women that occurs when the kind of tissue that normally lines the uterus grows somewhere else, such as the bladder
More serious reasons people may have hematuria include:
- bladder or kidney cancer
- inflammation of the kidney, urethra, bladder, or prostate—a walnut-shaped gland in men that surrounds the urethra and helps make semen
- blood-clotting disorders, such as hemophilia
- sickle cell disease—a genetic disorder in which a person’s body makes abnormally shaped red blood cells
- polycystic kidney disease—a genetic disorder in which many cysts grow on a person’s kidneys
Who is more likely to develop hematuria?
People who are more likely to develop hematuria may
- have an enlarged prostate
- urinary stones
- take certain medications, including blood thinners, aspirin and other pain relievers, and antibiotics
- do strenuous exercise, such as long-distance running
- bacterial or viral infection, such as streptococcus or hepatitis
- family history of kidney disease
- disease or condition that affects one or more organs
What are the symptoms of blood in urine?
As mentioned previously, blood in the urine may be visible with the naked eye or first identified through microscopic examination of the urine. Blood in the urine is a symptom of multiple different conditions.
Whether in men, women, or children, it may occur on its own or may be found in association with other symptoms and signs, depending upon the cause. UTI as a source of blood in the urine may be accompanied by painful urination, needing to urinate frequently or urgently, and pus in the urine. Kidney stones may cause flank or abdominal pain that can be quite severe. Some of the conditions that cause blood in the urine in children may not cause any other symptoms.
Blood in Urine Hematuria Treatment
The cause of your hematuria will determine what type of treatment you receive.
If an infection, such as a UTI, is responsible for your hematuria, your healthcare provider will prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria causing the infection.
Hematuria caused by large kidney stones can be painful if left untreated. Prescription medications and treatments can help you pass stones.
Your healthcare provider may suggest using a procedure called extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) to break up the stones.
ESWL involves using sound waves to break the kidney stones into tiny pieces that can pass in your urine. The procedure usually takes around one hour and may be done under light anesthesia.
If an enlarged prostate is causing your hematuria, your healthcare provider may prescribe medication, such as alpha blockers or 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. In some cases, surgery may be an option.