The sight of blood in the urine is enough to make anyone panic. It may or may not be a cause for concern, but you should have it checked out by a doctor to rule out any serious conditions.
Medically, blood in the urine is known as hematuria. There are two forms of hematuria:
- Gross Hematuria: This is when you can see blood in the urine. The urine may look pink, red, or cola-colored due to the presence of red blood cells (RBCs). Most of the time, other than the change in appearance in urine, most people do not have other symptoms.
- Microscopic Hematuria: This is when you cannot see blood in the urine with a naked eye but it can be seen when the urine is examined with a microscope. Most people with microscopic hematuria have no symptoms.
When a person has hematuria, the kidneys or other parts of the urinary tract allow blood cells to leak into the urine. Anyone, including children, can be at risk for blood in the urine. Appearance of blood in urine does not automatically mean you have a serious condition. There are many causes of hematuria including:
- Vigorous or strenuous exercise
- Sexual activity
- Urinary tract infection
- Kidney infection
- Kidney or bladder stone
- Bacterial or viral infection
- Family history of kidney disease
More serious problems that could be causing blood in your urine might be:
- Kidney or bladder cancer
- Polycystic kidney disease
- Irritation or swelling in the kidney, prostate in men, or another part of the urinary tract
- Blood clots
- Sickle cell disease
- Enlarged prostate
- Medications, such as the anti-cancer drug cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) and penicillin
Hematuria is diagnosed with a urine sample called a urinalysis. A lab technician places a strip of chemically treated paper called a dipstick in the urine. If RBCs are present, patches on the dipstick change color. When RBCs are noted, then the urine is further examined under a microscope to make the diagnosis of hematuria.
Depending on the circumstances, the doctor may order further testing such as a urinalysis, blood test, biopsy, cystoscopy, or a kidney imaging test.
To treat hematuria, you need to treat its underlying cause. If the reason for hematuria isn’t serious, no treatment may be necessary. If it is caused by a urinary tract infection, it will be treated with antibiotics. A urinalysis should be repeated six weeks after antibiotic treatment ends to be sure the infection is gone.
Dr. Samadi is a board-certified urologic oncologist trained in open and traditional and laparoscopic surgery and is an expert in robotic prostate surgery. He is chairman of urology, chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital. He is a medical correspondent for the Fox News Channel’s Medical A-Team. Follow Dr. Samadi on Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, SamadiMD.com and Facebook