Hematuria—blood in the urine—can be a frightful experience, especially if you don’t know what’s causing the condition. For the most part, hematuria is a benign condition, but there may be a risk of something more serious. Being able to identify the underlying cause of the blood in your urine can ease your anxiety and direct you to proper treatment.
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 bloody 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 an ultrasound and MRI, or a cystoscopy, which involves inserting a camera 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, and beets 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, the majority of causes of hematuria are benign, but in some instances, blood in the 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
- 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
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.
Risk Factors for Hematuria
Anyone at any age can develop hematuria. Risk factors include being over the age of 50, having a recent infection, having a family history of hematuria, taking certain medications like aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers and some antibiotics, and strenuous exercise such as long distance running.
How to Diagnose Hematuria
There are a few ways in which your doctor can properly diagnose hematuria. For starters, they will conduct a physical examination which will review your medical history. Your doctor will also request urine tests, imaging tests such as ultrasound, CT scan or MRI, or a cystoscopy where a narrow tube with a camera on the end is inserted into the bladder to look for any physical sign of disease.
Blood in urine (hematuria) prevention
To prevent hematuria, it is most effective to prevent the underlying cause. Below are the most common causes of blood in the urine and how to prevent them.
Urinary tract infections: Urinary tract infections—or UTIs—can be prevented by staying hydrated so your body is able to flush bacteria from its system regularly. It is also important to urinate as soon as you feel the urge and not to hold it, as this can allow bacteria to multiply in the bladder. Also, urinating immediately after sex can help to rid the genitals of any lingering bacteria.
Kidney stones: Limiting your salt, protein, and oxalate intake can help reduce your risk of suffering kidney stones, as can drinking plenty of water.
Bladder cancer: Quitting smoking, staying hydrated, and avoiding chemicals wherever possible are all ways to help reduce your risk of developing bladder cancer.
Kidney cancer: Similarly, quitting smoking, staying hydrated, and avoiding chemicals can help reduce the risk of kidney cancer. Further reduce this risk by eating a healthy, balanced diet, keeping active, and maintaining a healthy weight.
How to cure blood in urine naturally
There are plenty of home remedies circulating to help you naturally cure hematuria. These remedies include drinking lots of fluid and staying hydrated, drinking cranberry juice, mixing spinach juice and coconut water, and drinking the combination daily. Adding bitter gourd to your daily diet, drinking pomegranate juice, and consuming foods that are high in vitamin C also help.