Hematuria

The medical term for blood in urine is hematuria. It is defined as the presence of red blood cells in your urine. There are many causes of hematuria, but most of them aren’t serious. If you are able to see blood in your urine, then it is termed as gross hematuria. When the blood is seen only under the microscope, then it is termed as microscopic hematuria. In any of the types, knowing the reason for bleeding is necessary to treat hematuria.

The prevalence of hematuria may range from one to 20 percent based on the study population. The prevalence of hematuria is higher in the patients who are at high risk of developing urologic diseases.

Causes

Abnormality in any part of your urinary tract may cause hematuria. These defects may occur as a result of following conditions.

  • Urinary tract infections

  • Kidney infections such as pyelonephritis

  • Stones in your bladder or the kidney

  • Increase in the size of your prostate gland

  • Kidney diseases such as glomerulonephritis

  • Viral infections of urinary tract

  • Sexually transmitted diseases

  • Tumors such as renal carcinoma, bladder carcinoma, prostate cancer, urethral cancer or endometrial cancer

  • Polycystic renal disease

  • Congenital vascular anomalies

  • Surgical procedures to the bladder or prostate

  • Use of anticoagulants and anti-inflammatory drugs

  • Strenuous exercise

  • Trauma to the kidney

Symptoms

In most of the cases, blood in the urine is the only symptom of hematuria. If clots appear in the urine, it may cause bladder pain. Sometimes, the underlying conditions might cause the symptoms that include the following:

  • Abdominal tenderness

  • Decreased urinary force

  • Incomplete voiding

  • High temperature

  • Frequent urination

  • Pain while urinating

  • Urinary urgency

Risk factors

Hematuria may occur in any individual. But the factors that increase your risk of developing hematuria include the following:

  • Age: Adults are more likely to develop hematuria.

  • Gender: Men over the age 50 are at higher risk for hematuria due to enlarged prostate glands. In women, urinary tract infection may cause hematuria.

  • History of infection: Infection of the kidney due to virus or bacteria is the most common factor that leads to hematuria in children.

  • Genetics: A family history of kidney disease may increase the risk of urinary bleeding.

  • Medications: Painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, and antibiotics such as penicillin may cause hematuria.

  • Diagnosis

    Your doctor diagnoses hematuria or the underlying cause of hematuria with a medical history and a thorough physical examination. Your doctor might order the following test to confirm the diagnosis.

    • Urinalysis: A sample of urine is examined for the presence of red blood cells, minerals, or to check for urinary tract infections.

    • Imaging tests: Your doctor might suggest the imaging tests such as computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging scan. These tests can identify the underlying cause of hematuria. Sometimes, an ultrasound scan is recommended for a detailed view of your kidneys and other parts of the urinary system.

    • Cystoscopy: During the procedure, your doctor inserts a tube with a tiny camera into your bladder for evaluating the cause of urinary bleeding.

    Treatment

    In most of the cases, hematuria may not require any treatment. If the hematuria is caused due to an underlying condition, then your doctor might recommend the treatment for treating the cause. For example, if hematuria is due to urinary tract infections, then your doctor will prescribe antibiotics; shock wave therapy for treating the bladder or kidney stones; and medications to shrink enlarged prostate gland.

    Prevention

    You can prevent hematuria by preventing the underlying conditions. Following measures might help you to avoid passage of blood in urine.

    • Drink plenty of water.

    • Maintain good hygiene to prevent infections.

    • Avoid excess salt and foods such as spinach and rhubarb to prevent the formation of stones in your kidney or bladder.

    • Avoid smoking and limit your exposure to chemicals to prevent bladder cancer.