Blood in urine: To see blood in urine is a scary thing. Though it is harmless in many cases, in some cases, it may indicate a sign of serious illness. Hematuria, the presence of blood in urine, is a concerning medical condition that can indicate various underlying issues. Let us try to understand the symptoms, causes, and treatment of hematuria.
What is Hematuria (Blood in urine)?
Hematuria, often referred to as “blood in the urine,” occurs when there is visible blood or red blood cells present in the urine. It can manifest as pink, red, or brown discoloration of urine and is a symptom of an underlying medical problem.
Types of Hematuria
Gross Hematuria vs. Microscopic Hematuria
Hematuria can be categorized into two main types: gross hematuria and microscopic hematuria.
What is Gross Hematuria?
Gross hematuria is when blood in the urine is visible to the naked eye. It can be alarming and often indicates a significant underlying issue, such as a urinary tract infection, kidney stones, or bladder cancer.
What is Microscopic Hematuria?
Microscopic hematuria, on the other hand, is not visible to the naked eye and can only be detected through a urine test. It is often discovered incidentally during routine check-ups and can be a sign of kidney disease.
Common Causes of Hematuria
There are several potential causes of hematuria, ranging from benign to serious medical conditions including the following:
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) – In UTIs, bacteria infect the bladder – lodge, and multiply leading to bleeding that makes the urine appear pink, red, or brown. The symptoms of UTI include a burning sensation or pain during urination, smelly urine, increased urinary frequency, or fever
Kidney infection – also known as pyelonephritis occurs when bacteria from the bloodstream enter the kidneys and multiply and cause symptoms.
Bladder or kidney stones: Stones are often asymptomatic, but sometimes they can cause blockage to urinary passage which can manifest as severe pain, blood in urine, or symptoms of urine infection
Glomerulonephritis: A kidney disease called glomerulonephritis causes inflammation in the glomeruli causing damage to filtering mechanism in the urine resulting in blood/protein in urine.
Enlarged prostate – Symptoms- blood in urine, frequent urge to urinate. Difficulty in passing urine
An infection of the prostate called prostatitis can also cause similar symptoms.
Cancer of the urinary tract
Blood in urine can also be due to serious health conditions such as prostate, bladder, or advanced kidney cancer.
If you notice blood in your urine, it’s essential to seek medical evaluation. Diagnosis typically involves:
Medical History Assessment
Your nephrologist will review your medical history, including any recent illnesses or injuries.
A physical examination may be performed to check for signs of infection or other abnormalities.
A urinalysis is a crucial diagnostic tool, as it can detect microscopic hematuria.
Your doctor may order imaging tests such as ultrasounds, CT scans, or MRIs to visualize the urinary tract and diagnose the cause of blood in urine.
Treatment for hematuria depends on its underlying cause. It’s crucial to address the root problem.
Antibiotics for Infections
If an infection is the cause, antibiotics are prescribed to eliminate the infection and alleviate hematuria.
Kidney Stone Management
For kidney stones, treatment may involve pain management and procedures to remove or break down kidney or bladder stones.
Treatment for prostate enlargement – your nephrologist may prescribe prescription medicines to shrink an enlarged prostate or in some cases, surgery may be required
In cases where cancer is suspected, further tests and treatments, such as surgery or chemotherapy, may be necessary.
Is hematuria always a sign of a severe medical condition?
No, hematuria can result from benign causes such as urinary tract infections. However, it should always be evaluated by an experienced nephrologist to rule out serious issues.
Can I self-diagnose hematuria by the color of my urine?
While visible blood in urine is a sign of hematuria, it’s crucial to confirm the diagnosis through medical tests. Other conditions can also cause urine discoloration.
Are there any preventive measures for hematuria?
Maintaining good hydration and practicing personal hygiene can reduce the risk of some causes, like infections.
Is hematuria more common in men or women?
Hematuria can affect both men and women, but certain causes, such as urinary tract infections, may be more common in women.
Can hematuria go away on its own?
Hematuria may resolve on its own if it’s caused by a minor issue like a mild infection. However, persistent or recurrent hematuria requires medical attention.