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Blood in Urine (Hematuria)

Blood in urine - known medically as hematuria - is usually not a reason for major alarm.

Because blood in urine can be a sign of a serious medical condition, however, it shouldn't be ignored. All cases of hematuria should be evaluated by a doctor who can order tests to confirm or rule out an underlying cause.

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There is no specific treatment for hematuria, because it's a symptom and not a specific condition. Instead, treatment is aimed at the underlying cause if one can be found. In many cases, no treatment is necessary.

Where Blood in Urine Might Come From

Blood in urine can come from the kidneys, where urine is made. It also can come from other structures in the urinary tract, such as:

  • Ureters (the tubes from the kidneys to the bladder)
  • Bladder (where urine is stored)
  • Urethra (the tube from the bladder to the outside of the body)

 

Symptoms That May Accompany Hematuria

If there is blood in urine, the symptom is obvious. Instead of its normal pale yellow color, your urine may be pink, red, brownish-red, or tea-colored. This is what doctors call gross hematuria.

Sometimes, blood in urine is not visible to the naked eye and the presence of red blood cells can only be detected by the lab. This is what doctors call microscopic hematuria. It's usually only discovered when a urine sample is tested with a dipstick and the results are confirmed with a microscopic examination.

Hematuria may occur without any other symptoms. Some underlying causes, however, are associated with additional symptoms that can be moderate to severe. These include:

  • Bladder infections (acute cystitis). In adults, bladder infections usually cause burning or pain with urination. Infants with bladder infections may have fever, be irritable, and feed poorly. Older children may have fever, pain and burning while urinating, urgency, and lower belly pain.
  • Kidney infections (pyelonephritis). Symptoms may include fever, chills, and flank pain, which refers to pain in the lower back.
  • Kidney stones. Symptoms may include severe abdominal or pelvic pain.
  • Kidney diseases. Symptoms may include weakness, high blood pressure, and body swelling, including puffiness around the eyes.

 

Causes of Hematuria

Common causes of blood in urine include:

Sometimes, what appears to be blood in urine is actually red pigment from other sources such as food dyes, medications, or an excessive amount of beets. Doctors refer to this latter cause as "beeturia."

WebMD Medical Reference

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