Why is there blood in my urine?
Anxious to see blood in urine – it could indicate nothing or a serious medical disorder. Find out the cause and cure of your worry.
What is Hematuria?
Appearance of blood in the urine is medically known as ‘hematuria.’ It may occur due to heavy exercise or a serious underlying disorder like kidney disease. There exist two types of blood in the urine:
- Gross hematuria when blood can be seen in the urine with naked eye.
- Microscopic hematuria when blood can be examined only under the microscope by a physician and not by naked eye.
Blood cells appear in the urine when kidneys allow them to leak into the urine.
What are the symptoms of hematuria?
Microscopic hematuria does not have any visible symptoms.
The color of urine changes for people with gross hematuria. This occurs due to the presence of blood cells in the urine which makes it pink, red or dark brown. Those who have blood clots in the urine also experience lot of pain.
If any time you notice blood in the urine, it is important you see a doctor immediately rather than making your own guesses.
What are the causes of hematuria?
Hematuria may occur due to one or more of the below factors:
- Urinary Tract Infections: When bacteria enter in the body through urethra and go to bladder where they grow and multiply, it leads to urgency to urinate, pain, burning and smell in the urine.
- Kidney Infections: When bacteria reach your kidneys or ureters through the bloodstream, high fever and abdominal pain accompany blood in urine.
- Stones in bladder or kidney
- Enlarged prostate
- Renal disease such as inflammation of the kidney which may be a related complication with diabetes, immune problems, nephropathy and viral infections
- Bladder, prostate or kidney cancer
- Genetic disorders such as sickle cell anaemia, polycystic kidney disease and haemophilia
- Injury to kidney
- Certain medications such as aspirin, penicillin or anti-cancer drugs
- Heavy exercise may cause dehydration or injury to the bladder. Athletes may experience after an intense workout. Hematuria due to heavy exercise is a temporary condition and goes away on its own after few days.
- Rigorous sexual activity and menstruation
What are the risk factors for hematuria?
- More common in men above 50 years of age due to enlarged prostate
- Women being more susceptible to UTIs are likely to get urinary bleeding
- Viral or bacterial infection which may cause inflammation of kidneys
- A family history of hematuria
- Those who are taking medications such as aspirin, NSAIDs or strong antibiotics
- Long-distance runners and those who do intense workouts
How is hematuria diagnosed?
Doctors suggest following tests to diagnose hematuria:
- A dipstick test will be done on the urine sample. This involves dipping a paper strip which treated with some chemical. If red blood cells are present in the urine, the paper will change its color. This paper is known as ‘dipstick’. Once the presence of blood in urine is confirmed, doctor will try to find out the reason for it. More tests will be done to confirm the reason for hematuria.
- Urinalysis, testing the urine sample, to find out whether UTI, kidney disease or cancer is the underlying problem.
- Presence of white blood cells (WBCs) in urine indicate UTI
- Distorted red blood cells (RBCs) or presence of protein in urine indicate kidney disease
- Occurrence of cancer cells in urine can also be tested
- Blood test: High levels of amino acid ‘creatinine’ also indicate kidney disease.
- Biopsy means examination of a sample of kidney tissue under microscope or using imaging techniques to diagnose kidney disease.
- Cystoscopy which involves a visual examination of urethra using an instrument called ‘cytoscope’ to look for any cancer cells in the urinary bladder
How is hematuria treated?
There is no such treatment for hematuria. The cure for hematuria is actually the treatment for the underlying reason for its occurrence. If hematuria is caused by no particular medical condition, then no treatment is required. If during the diagnosis any of the other health condition is revealed, then doctors will give medication for its treatment. For example, antibiotics are given for treating UTIs etc. Thus, we can say hematuria is more of a symptom for another serious disease.
How to prevent hematuria?
If you do strenuous exercise, then change to a something less rigorous. Also, follow a lifestyle that wards of the other medical problems which lead to hematuria.
- Drink lot of water.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol
- Limit intake of salt
- Maintain a healthy weight by eating well-balanced diet and staying active