What is blood in urine?

Blood in the urine, or hematuria, is a medical condition when blood is found in the urine. Some patients will be able to see the blood in the urine while others may only find the condition during a physical exam.

Common related conditions
Urinary Incontinence in Women Male Urinary Incontinence Prostatitis (Prostate Inflammation) Kidney Stones

Types of blood in urine

There are two types of blood in urine :

  • Gross hematuria
    If you can see the blood in your urine, you have gross hematuria. The blood can present as pink, red, purplish-red, brownish-red or tea colored.
  • Microscopic hematuria
    Microscopic hematuria is typically found in a urine test during a physical exam because it can’t be seen with the naked eye. When the urine sample is viewed under the microscope, an increased number of red blood cells can be seen.

Causes of blood in urine

There are a variety of causes for blood in the urine including:

  • Bladder infection
  • Kidney infection
  • Kidney stones
  • Vigorous exercise
  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate)
  • Bladder, prostate or kidney cancer

Your urine can also appear red after consuming food dyes, beets or certain medications.

Risks factors of blood in urine

People of all ages can find blood in their urine. Factors that make you more likely to develop this condition include:

  • Age
    People over 50 years old are more likely to find blood in their urine.
  • Sex
    Men are more likely to develop hematuria.
  • Smokers
    People who smoke or have a long history of smoking are more likely to develop hematuria.
  • Exposure to chemicals, cancer treatments or other irritants
    Exposure to chemotherapeutic agents, radiation or occupational chemicals can increase your likelihood of developing hematuria.
  • Ethnicity
    Caucasians are more likely to develop hematuria during their lifetimes.
  • Strenuous activity
    People who participate in endurance sports, such as long-distance runners, are more likely to find blood in their urine.

Symptoms of blood in urine

The most obvious sign of blood in urine is visible red, pink or purplish blood in the urine. If you are passing blood clots, it may be painful.

Diagnosis of blood in urine

To determine the cause of blood in urine your doctor may order the following tests:

  • Urinalysis
    A urinalysis can test for the presence of minerals that cause kidney stones.
  • Imaging tests
    A computed tomography (CT scan) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test can determine the cause of hematuria.
  • Cystoscopy
    During a cystoscopy, a camera is inserted into the bladder to evaluate the area for urinary diseases.

Treatment for blood in urine

Treatment for blood in the urine varies depending on the cause of the condition. For example, if you have a UTI, your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic. If you have benign prostatic hyperplasia, you may need medication to reduce the size of the prostate.

Recovery from blood in urine

Depending on the cause, blood in urine typically clears after treatment. It is important to follow up with your doctor even after the blood is gone or if the cause of your condition was not found.

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