Blood in Urine (Hematuria)

Blood in your urine is called hematuria. Most of the time, the cause is not serious. But you should never ignore blood in the urine. Your healthcare provider can evaluate you to find the cause of the bleeding and treat it, if needed.

Types of hematuria

  • Gross hematuria. This means that the blood can easily be seen when you look at it. The urine may look pinkish, brownish, or bright red.

  • Microscopic hematuria. This means that the urine is clear, but blood cells can be seen when urine is looked at under a microscope or tested in a lab.

Both types of hematuria can have the same causes. Neither is more serious than the other. With either type, you may not have any other symptoms at all. Or you may have symptoms such as:

  • Pain, pressure, or burning when you urinate

  • Belly pain

  • Back pain

No matter how much blood is in your urine, the cause of the bleeding needs to be found.

What causes hematuria?

Causes of hematuria vary. They include things such as:

  • Injury

  • Strenuous exercise

  • Infection of the bladder, kidney, or prostate

  • Menstruation

Other reasons for blood in urine are more serious. They include:

  • Blood-clotting disorders

  • Kidney or bladder stones

  • Prostate enlargement

  • Bladder or kidney cancer

  • Sickle cell disease

  • Inflammation of the kidney, urethra, bladder, or prostate

Many treatments are available for blood in the urine, depending on the cause.

Diagnosing hematuria

Your healthcare provider will first confirm that blood is in your urine. They will also ask about your health history and give you a physical exam. Then you may have tests to find out where the blood is coming from and why. Your provider will decide which tests will best find the cause of your hematuria. These are some common tests that may be done:

  • Urine tests such as urinalysis, urine culture, or urine cytology

  • Blood tests

  • Cystoscopy

  • CT scan or CT urography

  • MRI or MR urography

  • Ultrasound of the kidney

  • Kidney biopsy

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