Simply put, hematuria is when blood is present in urine, but the cause of it is not always so simple. Understandably, seeing blood in your urine is concerning. While not always a sign of something serious, hematuria is not a normal occurrence, and you should consult your physician to determine the cause.
There are two types of hematuria: gross and microscopic. Gross can be seen with the naked eye, while microscopic hematuria is only visible under a microscope. Your physician may find microscopic hematuria when performing a urinalysis for UTIs, kidney infections, and other conditions.
Because hematuria is usually a symptom in itself, there are not very many signs to indicate it, other than visibly pink, red, or brownish colored urine. Many times, women mistake hematuria for menstrual bleeding. Bloody urine, however, is likely to be waterier and typically isn’t accompanied by pain.
Causes of Hematuria
There are various reasons you may experience red, pink, or brownish urine. Some medications and certain foods, such as beets, can cause your urine to appear red. Blood in the urine, however, looks very different. Also, strenuous exercise has been known to cause gross hematuria in rare cases, but the reasons why are not completely clear.
More common, and serious, conditions associated with hematuria are:
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs). Microscopic hematuria is typically found during a urinalysis for an infection.
- Kidney infections. In the case of kidney infections, hematuria may be microscopic or gross.
- Bladder or kidney stone. Both can cause both gross and microscopic hematuria.
- Enlarged prostate. Only present in men, the prostate can grow with age and partially block urine flow. Hematuria is a common symptom of an enlarged prostate.
- Kidney disease. Microscopic hematuria can occur when the kidneys’ filtering system is inflamed.
- Kidney injury. A blow or injury to the kidneys can cause gross hematuria.
- Advanced kidney, bladder, or prostate cancer. Gross hematuria is sometimes the first sign of these cancers.
If you notice blood in your urine, you should contact a doctor immediately. The Urology specialists at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Houston can perform a comprehensive urinalysis to detect hematuria, determine the cause, and suggest treatment.