Blood in urine — hematuria — is not normal and should not be ignored.
There are two types of hematuria. The kind you can see in your urine is called gross hematuria. The other is microscopic hematuria that can only be seen under a microscope when your doctor tests your urine. Either indicates there is something wrong and needs to be further investigated.
When to see your doctor
Any time you suspect blood in your urine, you need to see your doctor.
Some foods, medications and even exercise can cause urine to turn red that may go away in a few days. But blood in the urine is distinctly different. You cannot assume that change in the color of your urine is due to medications or exercise. Take no chances. Make an appointment to see your doctor.
Blood in Urine: Why?
Blood in your urine can be attributed to a number of different reasons in addition to the above-mentioned certain medications and strenuous exercise. However, other serious causes may be due to more critical reasons:
- Urinary tract infection
- Kidney disease or infection
- Kidney stones
- Enlarged prostate
Top 6 Risk Factors
- Age: Many men over 50 have occasional hematuria due to an enlarged prostate gland.
- Gender: 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 that can cause blood in the urine.
- Infection: Kidney inflammation after a viral or bacterial infection is one of the leading causes of visible urinary blood in children.
- History: You may be more prone to urinary bleeding if you have a family history of kidney disease or kidney stones.
- Medications: Aspirin, certain anti-inflammatory pain relievers and antibiotics such as penicillin are known to increase the risk of urinary bleeding.
- Exercise: Long-distance runners and other strenuous exercisers are especially prone to exercise-induced urinary bleeding. In fact, the condition is sometimes called jogger’s hematuria.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor will want to perform any number of tests to determine the cause for possible blood in your urine.
- Physical exam, which includes a discussion of your medical history.
- Urine tests. Even if your bleeding was first discovered through urine testing, you are 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 fine the cause of hematuria. Your doctor might recommend a CT scan, an MRI and an ultrasound exam. Ultrasound uses a combination of high-frequency sound waves and computer processing to produce images of the kidneys and bladder.
- Cystoscopy. In this procedure, a narrow tube fitted with a tiny camera is threaded 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.
Hematuria has no specific treatment. Instead, your doctor will focus on treating the underlying condition of having blood in urine. This might include taking antibiotics to clear a urinary tract infection, medication to shrink an enlarged prostate, or shock therapy to break up bladder or kidney stones.
Changes in the color of urine can indicate anything from slight dehydration to a disease such as diabetes or cancer. So never take a chance. If you see red in your urine, make an appointment to see your doctor or give us a call at Urology Experts to set up an appointment.
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