Discovering blood in your urine can be a scary moment, but in many cases it may not be serious. Here's what you need to know if you or your doctor finds blood in your urine.
How Will You Know if You Have Blood in Your Urine?
In some situations, you can clearly see blood in your urine, which is called gross hematuria. The Mayo Clinic explains that blood may cause your urine to look red, pink, or even cola-colored. Even a very small amount of blood can discolor your urine.
In other cases, it is possible that you can have blood in your urine, but not be able to see it--only your doctor will be able to see it under a microscope, or detect it through an in-office test. However, depending on the cause of the blood, you may experience other symptoms, such as a fever, pain when urinating, or back and flank (side) pain.
Causes of Blood in the Urine
According to the American Urological Association, in most cases, blood in your urine does not necessarily indicate something serious. For instance, one of the most common causes of blood in your urine is a urinary tract infection, which can be cleared up with simple antibiotics.
In some situations, there are non-medical reasons that you may have blood in your urine, or it could just look like you have blood in your urine. For instance, the Mayo Clinic explains that following situations could cause blood, or the appearance of blood in your urine, and are not usually a cause for alarm:
Eating red foods, including beets, rhubarb, and berries
Taking the laxative Ex-lax
Menstrual blood in women
Other causes of blood in the urine that may warrant further investigation by your doctor include:
Urinary tract infection (UTI)
An enlarged prostate
Kidney or bladder stones
A prostate infection
Kidney disease or trauma
Drugs that thin your blood, such as aspirin, or heparin
Anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen
In rare cases, (an estimated one to three out of every hundred people) blood in the urine may be a result of bladder or kidney cancer.
What Happens Next
If your doctor finds blood in your urine, the next step will involve further testing to find out what is causing the blood. Usually, the first step is to repeat the urine test to make sure the blood is still present in the urine. It’s also important that you let your doctor know about any health conditions you have, any medications you are taking, any recent injuries, and if you have had any recent drug use.
If the urine test continues to show blood, your doctor will order additional testing, such as a blood test to check your kidney function, a cystoscopy to look at your bladder, or a CT, MRI, or ultrasound to take a more detailed look at the urinary tract system. In some situations, there is no clear explanation for why you have blood in your urine, so your doctor will continue to monitor your health.
The bottom line is that if you find blood in your urine at home, be sure to alert your doctor as soon as possible so you can get scheduled for an appointment to check things out further. And if your doctor lets you know that you have blood in your urine at the office, don’t panic--in many cases, blood in the urine is not a serious condition and can be cleared up easily.
Affiliated Urologists is an award-winning practice recognized both locally and nationally that has provided service to patients in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and surrounding communities in the Valley, for over 40 years. The physicians emphasize top-of-the-line comprehensive urological care and strive to deliver the highest outcomes for patient satisfaction. To make an appointment, call 602-264-0608 or visit http://affiliatedurologists.com/contact/ for instructions on scheduling an appointment.
The advice and information contained in this article are for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.