Bloody urine may make you wonder, “Am I sick?” It can be alarming. It can signify many things, from a minor infection to a severe condition. Here are some things you need to know about blood in urine and what it might mean for your health.
Symptoms of Blood in the Urine
Also known as blood in the urine, Hematuria is a condition in which blood is found in the urine. Hematuria occurs when blood leaks into the urine from the urinary tract. The two types of Hermaturia are Gross Hematuria and Microscopic Hematuria.
When you have Gross Hematuria, you can see blood in your urine, while Microscopic Hematuria means the blood is not visible. Due to this, it will only be visible under a microscope during tests by your doctor.
Gross Hematuria appears in a cola-colored, red, or pink form because of the red blood cells. A small amount of blood is necessary to make red urine, and the bleeding is usually not painful. A blood clot in your urine, however, can make you very uncomfortable.
Blood in the urine often appears without any other symptoms.
Causes of Blood in the Urine
Gross Hematuria can result from one of the following:
- An enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hypertrophy): The most common cause of blood in the urine for men over 50 is an enlarged prostate pressing against the bladder and causing bleeding. This condition is prevalent but does not usually cause other symptoms. An enlarged prostate may also make urination difficult.
- kidney stones: Small kidney stones can often pass without causing any symptoms other than blood in the urine and some mild pain, but larger kidney stones could cause severe flank pain that radiates to the groin. If you feel that you have a kidney stone, visit urgent care at your nearest hospital emergency room.
- Urinary tract infection (UTI): UTIs are more common in women and may cause discomfort or burning with urination along with frequent urination and urinary urgency. They are not often associated with flank pain, but if they are not treated promptly, they may cause kidney.
- Blood clots in the urinary tract: Blood clots can form when urine flow stops or slows down, like kidney stones or after surgery. Blood clots can damage the lining of the urinary tract and cause bleeding.
- Bladder infection: A bladder infection (cystitis) may produce enough blood to make your urine look red. Infections are easier to cause when bacteria are able to penetrate the bladder. The risk of bladder infections is higher in women than in men, probably because women have a shorter urethra (urinary tube).
- Kidney infection: A kidney infection (pyelonephritis) may also cause blood to appear in your urine. Kidney infections are not as common as bladder infections and can be very serious if not trnb neated promptly.
Other factors that cause blood in the urine are kidney injuries, engaging in strenuous exercises, inherited disorders, and medications.
The risk factors for blood in the urine are:
- Age: Most men above 50 experience Hematuria due to an enlarged prostate.
- The family history: If you have a family history of kidney disease or kidney stones, you might be more likely to experience urinary bleeding.
- A recent infection: Children with visible urinary blood most often have inflammation of their kidneys after a viral or bacterial infection (post-infectious glomerulonephritis).
- Strenuous exercises: Exercise-induced urinary bleeding is particularly prevalent in long-distance runners. It is commonly called jogger’s Hematuria. However, it can affect anyone who exercises vigorously.
- Certain medications: There is evidence to suggest that aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers, and antibiotics such as penicillin increase the risk of bleeding in the urinary tract.
How to Diagnose Blood in Urine
Your physician can detect blood in the urine using the following tests and exams:
- A physical examination: It involves a regular physical and discussing your medical history.
- Urine tests. You will likely undergo another test to determine if your urine still has red blood cells in it, even if the bleeding was discovered through urine testing (urinalysis). Urinalysis can also reveal the presence of kidney stones and urinary tract infections.
- Imaging tests. Hematuria is often diagnosed with an imaging test. Your doctor may recommend MRI or CT scans or ultrasound exams.
- Cystoscopy. Your physician will use a narrow tube fitted with a tiny camera to examine your bladder and urethra during the examination.
Urine bleeding problems can sometimes be impossible to diagnose.
If you have a history of radiation therapy or a risk factor for bladder cancer, your doctor may recommend regular follow-up tests.
Treatment for Blood in Urine
You may not need treatment in some cases. If you have Hematuria caused by a urinary tract infection, antibiotics might clear it, shrinking an enlarged prostate may require prescription medication. In addition, shock wave therapy may be necessary to break up kidney or bladder stones.
If you have blood in your urine after treatment, talk to your doctor to ensure the problem is not recurring.