Possible causes of blood in the urine (hematuria)

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Finding blood in urine can be intimidating, but you should be aware that there are many different causes of hematuria (blood in urine), some of which are relatively benign and easy to treat. Others may indicate a serious medical condition that warrants further investigation.

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Therefore, you should never dismiss blood in the urine as "insignificant", especially if it is persistent and accompanied by other symptoms.

The presence of hematuria does not always mean that you have an underlying pathology. It may simply be the result of minor damage to the urethra (the urine tube is coming out of the body) or a side effect of a medication that needs to be replaced.

Here are the 10 most common reasons to consider:

Vaginal bleeding

In women, the most common cause of blood in the urine is vaginal bleeding, including normal menstrual bleeding. This is rarely alarming and will eventually return to normal without treatment.

Although many women are used to seeing small amounts of blood in their urine during menstruation, hematuria that occurs outside of menstruation should be alarming.

If vaginal bleeding is the cause of the hematuria, your gynecologist will perform tests to determine the underlying cause.

Medicines

Certain medications, including blood thinners like warfarin , can cause blood to form in the urine. Health professionals often prescribe blood thinners if you have heart or vascular problems, or if you have poor blood flow to the brain.

Blood thinners reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke by decreasing the formation of blood clots in the arteries and veins. You can also take a blood thinner if you have an irregular heartbeat, have had heart valve surgery, or have congenital heart defects.

If you are taking blood thinners, a complete hematuria test is required to detect blood in the urine.

Certain products

Certain foods, such as beets, can cause urine discoloration. This red color is the result of the presence of unmetabolized pigments in food, which pass into the urine from the kidneys.

Therefore, the redness of the urine is not hematuria, but simply a benign discoloration that will normalize over time.

Low platelets

Platelets are small cells in your body that stick to the wall of your blood vessels after an injury. They adhere and prevent bleeding. If you have low levels of platelets in your blood , your ability to clot and stop bleeding may be affected. This is called thrombocytopenia.

Stones in urine

Kidney and bladder stones are small, hard deposits that form when minerals in your urine begin to crystallize. Because they are excreted in the urine, they can cause severe pain and bleeding.

Urine may be pink or reddish, or blood may only be visible with a urine test strip or microscopic examination of the urine.

Recent urinary tract procedures

There are several procedures available to check the function of the kidneys, bladder, and urethra, or to treat other conditions.

These include cystoscopy, pyelogram, urinary cystourethrogram, and uteroscopy. One of the side effects of these procedures can be blood in the urine.

Urinary tract infections

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a bacterial infection that occurs when bacteria enter the urinary tract system and then multiply .

UTIs are more common in women and mainly affect the bladder and urethra. Bladder infections ( cystitis ) are usually caused by E. coli , a type of bacteria commonly found in the gastrointestinal tract.

Urinary tract injury

The kidneys and the rest of the urinary tract can be damaged by forceful force (such as a car accident, fall, or sports injury), penetrating force (such as a gunshot or stab), or surgery.

Urinary tract injuries often occur in conjunction with injuries to other organs, especially the abdominal organs.

Kidney blood clots

Also known as renal vein thrombosis (RVT), it is a blockage of the renal vein that carries blood from the kidneys through a blood clot. RVT is rare and can cause severe kidney damage and other life-threatening injuries.

Bleeding disorders

Hemophilia is a condition in which the blood does not clot normally. If an injury or infection occurs anywhere in the urinary tract, it can cause bleeding, which people without hemophilia can control.

On the contrary, the same infection or trauma can lead to persistent bleeding and the development of hematuria.

Polycystic kidney disease

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is an inherited disorder in which many fluid-filled sacs called cysts form in both kidneys. In addition to blood in the urine, symptoms of PKD include high blood pressure, back or side pain, and swelling.

If you notice blood in your urine that is not caused by menstrual bleeding, see your doctor as soon as possible for an evaluation and diagnosis.

Frequently asked questions

  • Probably not. But if you don't drink enough water, your urine is likely dark in color. Constant dehydration can cause kidney stones and other problems related to hematuria. While individual needs vary, the general rule of thumb is that men need about 13 cups or 3 liters of fluid per day, while women need 9 cups (2.2 liters).

  • This can be, especially if it is accompanied by painful urination or pain in the back or abdomen, which could be a sign that the blood is due to an infection or kidney stones. Be careful: Talk to your doctor about blood in your urine that you can't identify, and call an ambulance if you have other symptoms.

  • Visible blood in the urine. When blood in the urine is not visible to the naked eye, it is called microscopic hematuria. It can be detected by urinalysis. Both types can indicate an infection or other urinary tract problem.

  • Marked hematuria (gross hematuria) can be seen on the toilet and / or on toilet paper. The color can range from shades of pink or red to tea and dark brown. Blood clots in urine probably originate in the urethra in women or in the urethra or prostate in men.

  • You are likely to have exercise-induced or exercise-induced hematuria in 5% to 25% of people who are strenuously physically active . Exercise-induced hematuria usually resolves within a day or two, but can last up to two weeks. If you notice blood in your urine for longer than specified, see your doctor.

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