You go to urinate and you’re faced with a red toilet bowl. Immediately panic sets in… where is the blood coming from?! Although your first instinct is to think the worst, most cases of blood stains in the bowl aren’t serious. To put your mind at ease, we will outline the many different possibilities that can contribute to you seeing red.
Why is there blood in my toilet bowl?
When blood is in the urine, it can be a variety of shades, from a light stain to pink, all the way to a deep red. The amount of blood released will determine the color you see. For some, blood in the urine is so microscopic that it can’t be detected by the human eye. Your doctor may pick this up during a routine urine test.
When blood is visible in the toilet bowl, the source of blood is within the lower urinary tract (ureter, bladder, or urethra). Microscopic blood often comes from the upper urinary tract like the kidneys.
Possible causes for urinary blood include:
- Kidney stones
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Bladder infection
- Inflammation of the bladder, urethra, or kidneys
- Bladder, kidney, or prostate cancer
- Injury to the urinary tract (either upper or lower)
- Undergoing a recent urinary tract procedure like the insertion of a catheter
- Polycystic kidney disease
- Enlarged prostate
- Kidney failure
- Kidney disease
- Medication use
- Hemophilia or another blood clotting disorder
- Sickle cell disease
- A blood clot in the kidney
- Low platelet count
What to do if you see blood in your toilet bowl
Because there are a wide variety of causes of blood in the urine, you should always consult your doctor to determine what’s causing your symptoms. Some tips to get rid of a UTI include drinking more water and avoiding acidic beverages like coffee, tea, and fruit juices.
To help your doctor narrow down the possible cause, pay attention to other present symptoms, including:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Burning sensation when urinating
- Frequent or urgent urination
- Fever, nausea, vomiting, shaking, chills, and pain in the abdomen, back, or side
- Inability to urinate
- Passing blood clots through the urine
- Pain during sex or heavy menstrual bleeding
- Dribbling urine, excessive nighttime urination, or difficulty starting urination
Tests to determine the cause of blood in the urine
There are several tests your doctor can run to determine the cause of blood in your urine. These tests include:
- Blood test
- An x-ray of the urinary tract (intravenous pyelogram)
- Inserting a camera into the bladder to view any stones or tumors (cystoscopic)
- Kidney x-ray
Other tests include urine cultures, 24-hour urine collection, strep throat test, abdominal ultrasounds, CT scans, and an MRI.
How is blood in the urine treated?
Bloody urine is treated based on the underlying cause. This means your doctor may prescribe antibiotics, pain relievers, recommend drinking more water, and in some cases surgery, to remove any blockages.
If the diagnosis is cancer, appropriate cancer treatments will be recommended.
Your doctor may request a follow-up appointment to determine if the treatment you are on is working and to make any appropriate changes if necessary.
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