Hematuria (blood in urine): Signs, symptoms, and causes

By: Dr. Victor Marchione | Bladder | Tuesday, August 02, 2016 - 04:00 PM

hematuria blood in urineHematuria, blood in urine, can be a frightful experience, especially if you don’t know what could be causing the condition. For the most part, hematuria is a benign condition, but there may be a risk of a more serious condition, too. Being able to identify the underlying cause of the blood in urine can ease your anxiety and direct you to a proper treatment to avoid other health complications.

To determine the cause of hematuria, your doctor will need to run a number of tests. These can be tedious and stressful, but it’s important to rule out any condition that could result in blood in urine.

Oftentimes, a simple blood test can point to the diagnosis, but in cases when it’s not so clear, alternative tests may be required. These include imaging tests, like ultrasound and MRI, and cystoscopy, which involves a camera inserted into the bladder to uncover the source of bleeding.

Here we will outline the signs, symptoms, and causes of hematuria.

Hematuria signs and symptoms

Aside from the obvious presence of blood in the urine, hematuria can also be associated with other factors that are important to note for proper diagnosis. Here’s what to look out for if you spot blood in your urine:

  • Certain foods – like blackberries, rhubarb, beets, etc. – that cause pigmented urine that does not contain any blood
  • Certain medications that cause red pigmented urine
  • Glomerulonephritis (inflammation of the kidneys), reduced urination, high blood pressure
  • Kidney or bladder infection – nausea, chills, mid-back pain, fever, foul-smelling urine, frequency in urinary output, reduction in urinary output, discomfort, pain or burning during urination
  • Prostate infection – pain in lower back, pain during ejaculation, increased frequency in urination, pain and discomfort during urination
  • Tumor in the kidney or bladder – abdominal pain, frequent urination, pain during urination
  • Kidney stones – back pain, side or groin pain, nausea, vomiting, painful urination
  • Bleeding disorders – abdominal bruising, bleeding in the skin, tarry stools, prolonged bleeding from cuts
  • Trauma – bruises, swelling, puncture wounds, open wounds

Causes of hematuria

As mentioned, majority of causes of hematuria are benign, but in some instances, blood in urine could signal a very serious health problem. Here is a list of the possible causes of hematuria you need to be aware of. Recognizing the accompanying symptoms that are present while you are experiencing blood in urine can help you narrow down on a possible cause and even inform the diagnosis.

  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Kidney infections
  • Bladder or kidney stones
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Kidney disease
  • Cancer
  • Inherited disorders – sickle cell anemia, Alport syndrome
  • Kidney injury
  • Certain medications like anti-cancer drugs or aspirin – some medications may be heavily pigmented and what you believe to be blood in urine is actually dye
  • Strenuous exercise – may cause trauma to the bladder or dehydration

As you can see, there are many different causes of hematuria, so whenever you start noticing blood in urine, see your doctor right away to rule out any serious health condition you may have.

Related: Urine specific gravity test: How well your kidneys are diluting your urine

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